Confidence Fueling Mountaineers Early

Staff Writer
Posted Nov 21, 2013


It’s hard to take too much out of an early-season win at home against Georgia Southern.

Although the Eagles have been able to score points in bunches at times this season and played Miami (Fla.) to a one-point overtime loss, they aren’t anywhere near the same level as a program that West Virginia is on. This was a game in which WVU was supposed to roll to a victory.

Perhaps the fact that it was actually able to do that, winning in impressive 101-68 fashion Thursday night at the Coliseum, was the most encouraging thing to see from a young Mountaineer team that is still in the process of finding out what it is as a team and what it’s going to be as it prepares to start a tough stretch of the non-conference slate.

It’s just another way that this team has shown, at least early on, that it’s different from last year’s 13-19 team.

Last season’s made it a habit to play down to bad teams – the teams that a West Virginia basketball team should be able to handle with relative ease. That was evident when it blew a double-digit lead to Duquesne and when it barely hung on to win games against basketball powerhouses like Radford, Oakland and Eastern Kentucky.

This year, the Mountaineers look confident. They did what they needed to do Thursday to put the game away early and avoid the major lapse like they tended to have so often before. West Virginia did what it’s good at. It got up and down the floor, scoring in transition and attacking the rim; a style that has allowed Juwan Staten to emerge as this team’s leader and a playmaker the Mountaineers should be able to lean on in tougher games down the road.

Now, it doesn't really mean a whole lot tonight and I don't think you can really take a ton from a game against a team that was picked to finish ninth in the Southern Conference this season. But it is a big positive to see this team finally be able to play the way that Huggins has been wanting to for the last few years.

They were fast on offense, disrupted a lot of shots and made it difficult for the Eagles to score.

But what was really impressive was the fact that, even after a 33-point win, West Virginia didn't seem satisfied with the win.

After allowing Georgia Southern to shoot 56 percent and score 42 points in the second half, the Mountaineers realized they didn't play a complete game and needed to get better.

When the players said it, it sounded like a team that had taken on the mindset of its head coach - something that hasn't happened around here in a few years either. And Huggins reiterated that fact afterward as well.

"We didn't guard as hard in the second half obviously," Huggins said. 'We made it harder for them to find people. We still did things wrong.

"They had the same guy open in the corner four times in a row. That should never happen. Those are things, I think, that we have to keep getting better at."


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