WVU Downs Dukes

The tandem of Eron Harris and Juwan Staten was enough for West Virginia to defeat Duquesne 96-83 on Sunday.

Harris had 33 points and Staten added 28 and nine assists to lead the Mountaineers to a victory - one with a margin that doesn't describe how competitive the contest was - over the Dukes at the WVU Coliseum. Both players had career-high performances in scoring.

"I finally have a good grasp on the offense and know what the coaches want from me," said Staten, after his near double-double. "I have been given a lot of freedom, so I just want to go out there and play my game and take advantage of every opportunity."

West Virginia, once again, shot well at home. It made 59 percent of its buckets including 10 from three. Duquesne didn't have trouble scoring, either, as it made 45 percent of its shots.

WVU has now scored 75 or more points in all three games this season. It did that just four time all of last season.

WVU used a variety of defenses throughout the game including a zone defense almost exclusively in the first half. The Mountaineers are continuing to learn how to play defensively due to NCAA rule changes made prior to the start of the season.

"We're not going to continue to outscore people. We're going to have to do better defensively," said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. "It's the new guys. The other guys have been here and understand … They know the consequences. Our newcomers don't understand the consequences yet."

West Virginia is now 2-1 on the season and will now begin the Cancun Challenge with two home games in Morgantown before traveling to Mexico for two games around Thanksgiving.

WVU revenged a 60-59 defeat to the Dukes from a year ago with the win. The Mountaineers are now 9-1 in the last 10 games versus Duquesne.

"It's good to get this win - and it's a good win - seeing as they beat us last year," Harris said.

West Virginia took an early 8-4 lead, but an 10-4 Duquesne run gave the Dukes a 14-12 lead.

Behind hot shooting from the outside, West Virginia was able to jump out to a 32-24 lead with about seven minutes to play in the first half. In that stretch from when the Dukes took the lead, five threes were hit by four different Mountaineers.

WVU would extend its advantage to 14 points with 2:39 to go in the half on a layup from freshman forward Devin Williams. The Mountaineers were unable to close out the half on a positive note, however, as Duquesne went on a 12-4 run to make it 49-43.

WVU's lead would continue to dwindle in the second half, and it would eventually go completely away as guard Micah Mason hit a three that would tie the game at 59.

Harris quickly followed that with a 3-pointer of his own to regain the lead that it would never give up.

Up by just four with six minutes to play, Harris hit another three. After a missed layup by Duquesne, sophomore guard Terry Henderson drained another three and forced the Dukes to call a timeout down 81-71.

"Eron hit a big shot. Then [Juwan] found Terry for a step in three, and he hit it," Huggins said. "When you look up at the score, you feel more comfortable with a 10-point lead than four-point lead."

Duquesne was led by forward Ovie Soko, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Mason had 18 points.

Outside of Harris and Staten, Williams finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds - his first-career double-double. Henderson had seven points coming off the bench.

"I'm going to rebound the ball. If I'm not scoring of doing anything else, I'll definitely always rebound the ball," Williams said. "I'm trying to figure out how I fit and get mentally prepared. I think I'm finding my focus now."

Despite the scoring output, WVU struggled at the line (20-of-34).

West Virginia was out-rebounded by nine and had 11 less points in the paint than the Dukes.

WVU forwards Remi Dibo and Kevin Noreen fouled out of the game.

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