|Guard Eron Harris scored a game-high 30 points in WVU's 89-70 win over Fairmont State.
|All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Eron Harris
scored 30 points and freshman Nathan Adrian
added 21 to lead West Virginia to an 89-70 victory over Fairmont State in its lone preseason tune-up before Friday night’s season opener against Mount St. Mary’s.
West Virginia got almost all of its 89 points from five perimeter perimeter players – 85 to be precise - as the Mountaineers shot the ball pretty effectively from 3, knocking down 12 of 27 for 44.4 percent for the game.
“I think we’re going to be able to shoot the ball,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said.
Adrian was 6 of 10 from behind the arc while Harris also added three triples. West Virginia’s best 3-point shooter last season, sophomore Terry Henderson
, was held out of today’s game with shin inflammation four days before Friday’s season opener against Mount St. Mary’s. Huggins said he is hopeful of having Henderson back by Friday.
“We’ve got to do a good job of managing that,” the coach said.
Junior college transfer Rémi Dibo did get in for the remaining two minutes of the game although he failed to score.
Fairmont State started the game fouling and continued to foul throughout as officials are more closely watching defensive hand-checking as college basketball looks to make the game more free flowing this year. The Falcons had five players foul out of tonight’s game and sent the Mountaineers to the free throw line 54 times, where they converted 37 of them.
“I think right now they have put such a huge emphasis on the hand-check rule that guys are traveling and it’s not getting called because (officials) are not watching their feet. They are watching their hands,” said Huggins. “Guys are palming the ball. Offensive guys are going to get away with way too much.
“We’ve talked defensive concepts for 30 years are more that we have to have weakside help. Kids are too good and too athletic with the ball,” Huggins added.
After leading by 12 at halftime, West Virginia never let its advantage slip below double digits and briefly led by 20, 89-69, with 22 seconds left.
Huggins used a starting lineup consisting of Williams, Adrian, Kevin Noreen
, Staten and Harris tonight, although Henderson could likely take one of those spots on Friday.
NCAA Division II Fairmont State, coached by former WVU assistant coach Jerrod Calhoun and assisted by former standout Mountaineer guard Joe Mazzula, got 23 points from Stevie Browning.
After watching tonight’s game, two areas Huggins says his team needs to clean up are free throw shooting and defense.
“We should have been guarding the ball and we should have been better from the free throw line,” he said. “When you shoot 100 free throws a day 68 percent is not going to be good enough. We need to be shooting in the 80s.”
This Friday, West Virginia welcomes Mount St. Mary’s, which produced an 18-14 record last year with four of five starters returning, in a non-conference game that will tip off at 8 p.m.
The WVU women will begin the night with a 5:30 p.m. regular season tilt against Ohio State. Both the men’s and women’s contests will be televised locally by West Virginia Media Holdings.