Shooting Dooms WVU

Staff Writer
Posted Dec 22, 2013


West Virginia disappointed once again in its second-to-last non-conference game of the season, as the Mountaineers were defeated by Purdue 73-70 on Sunday at the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers couldn’t find their shot on Sunday. They made just 37 percent of their attempts vs. the Boilermakers. Purdue, on the other hand, hit 42 percent of their shots, and made them in the second half when the game was close.

WVU made just 3-of-18 shots from beyond the arc, an area the team has found success with so far in the 2013-14 season.

"We’re not going to make them all, but we’ve got to make some of them," said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. "Our offensive execution isn’t very good ... We took 18 threes and how many were step in threes? We’ve got to make some of those.

"These are good guys. Eventually, it will sink in. it’s not a lot of fun now. We’re not far from being pretty good."

Down 63-60 with the ball, sophomore guard Eron Harris missed a three that would’ve tied the game. That was really the last opportunity the Mountaineers had to do so. Purdue hit the next four points and forced WVU to call a timeout with 2:07 to play down 67-60.

West Virginia couldn’t climb back from that deficit en route to the loss.

Junior guard Juwan Staten was able to hit a layup with less than five seconds to play in the game to cut it to 72-70. After a quick foul with 4.3 to go, Purdue went to the line and made one of two.

That gave the Mountaineers one last chance, and Harris pulled up beyond the arc but missed the shot as time expired.

Harris led the Mountaineers with 24 points. Most of those were on tough shots in the lane in which he had to fall away to get a good look.

"Collectively, our shots just weren't falling," Harris said. "I think it's just an example of how we can have good games and bad games. We had three great practices in a row, so I don't understand how we can come out and lose this one."

Freshman forward Devin Williams had likely his best game as a Mountaineer. He finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds – his fourth-career double-double. In addition, Williams made 8-of-9 free throws, a weakness of his through the first half of the season.

"I think we're really close," Williams said. "We've been in this situation now for two or three games where we've had to fight back ... We've just got to get it together. I'm not mad, and I don't think the coaches are that upset, because they know what we can do. We've just got to put it together."

Purdue was led by a trio of scorers – guard Terone Johnson, guard Ronnie Johnson and forward Basil Smotherman. They combined for 45 of the Boilermarkers’ points.

WVU (8-5) has one more game out-of-conference vs. William & Mary before beginning its Big 12 Conference schedule. The Mountaineers failed to win a pivotal non-conference game this season. Purdue moves to 10-3 with the win.

"We're definitely not in a great mood right now. This was a game that we needed," said Staten, who finished with 14 points and four assists.

West Virginia was able to earn an early lead behind a 9-0 run that put the Mountaineers up 14-6. However, Purdue would hit back-to-back threes and force WVU to take a timeout with 12:30 to play in the first half up 14-12 over Purdue.

Out of the timeout, West Virginia would earn a wide-open layup for freshman forward Nathan Adrian, but he missed it, and Purdue tied the game on the other end on a shot from Smotherman.

Harris would end the 8-0 Purdue run with a jumper to give the Mountaineers a 16-14 lead.

The rest of the first half would go back and forth between the two teams. In the final seven minutes, there were nine lead changes and three points where the score was tied.

Purdue would hit a layup with four seconds left in the first half to head to the locker room with a 35-33 advantage.

Purdue would expand its two-point halftime lead to seven early in the second half, as the Mountaineers missed their first four shots. That would put West Virginia in a bind for the rest of the half.

Adrian WVU on the board for the first time in the second half, as Harris hit a layup with 16:31 to play to make it 40-35. Staten would cut the Boilermakers lead to three on a nifty drive, layup and free throw at 47-44.

Purdue quickly caught fire, though, as it hit a three and then a deep jumper to expand its lead to eight and force a timeout from the Mountaineers.

WVU would score the next four points, and that led Purdue head coach Matt Painter to call a timeout of his own leading 52-48 with 9:44 to play.

West Virginia kept fighting, and two free throws from Williams put the Mountaineers down just one at 55-54 with 7:05 to play.

On the other end, though, Johnson hit a big three to keep extend the lead back to two possessions.

Up by two, Purdue’s Kendall Stephens drove to the lane, hit a layup and the free throw after being fouled to go up 63-58 with 4:44 to play.

The Boilermakers were able to make enough shots down the stretch to earn the victory.

Purdue held a seven-rebound advantage in the game. WVU had just four bench points to Purdue's 25.

Forward Remi Dibo started his first game for the Mountaineers on Sunday. He didn't score. This was the first time this season that WVU had a starting five of sophomore guard Terry Henderson, Dibo, Harris, Staten and Williams.



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