WVU to Meet Duquesne

  • By John Antonik
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  • November 16, 2013 04:51 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - In last year's 60-56 victory over West Virginia in Pittsburgh, Duquesne played zone and watched the Mountaineers clank shot after shot in the second half.

After leading by 13 at the break, West Virginia went ice cold from the floor, hitting just 9 of 32, including 1 of 8 from 3. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins admits that strategy caught his team off guard a little bit.

"A year ago we thought they'd press and run up and down the floor and they didn't," said Huggins. "They packed it in and it was he smart thing to do, obviously, because they won."

Most of the time Duquesne wants to get up and down the floor to try and score easy points in transition. The Dukes managed to do that in last year's game at Consol Energy Center.

"Everybody's kind of got the green light," said Huggins. "They all shoot it. They kind of invert sometimes and their bigs will be out running the three-man weave."

Duquesne, picked to finish last in the Atlantic 10 after coming off an 8-22 season a year ago under second-year coach Jim Ferry, defeated Abilene Christian in its season opener before falling by three, 84-81, to New Hampshire earlier this week.

In that game, the Dukes got 18 points from guard Tra'Vaughn White and 14 from UAB transfer Ovie Soko. Duquesne starts a pair of sub-6-foot guards (White and Derrick Coulter) along with 6-foot-3 wing Jeremiah Jones, who is one of the best leapers on the team.

The Dukes have a pair of 6-foot-8 players up front in Ovie and junior Dominique McKoy.

"I don't know if the word is unconventional, but they do some things that you don't see a lot," said Huggins. "They are going to play man and they're going to play zone. They will change things up."

West Virginia (1-1) is coming off a disappointing loss at Virginia Tech on Tuesday afternoon in a game that saw the Mountaineers blow a 17-point first half lead. The Hokies were able to shoot 60.9 percent in the second half, mostly on straight-line drives to the basket.

The vast majority of West Virginia's offensive production came from its bench, where 6-foot-7 forward Remi Dibo scored a team-high 17 points and backup guard Gary Browne added 15. The two combined to shoot 8 for 13 from 3.

"Gary has been making shots," said Huggins. "I've said all along that Gary has been one of our more consistent shooters. I think when Gary gets open he needs to shoot the ball. And we recruited Remi to make shots. I think he's struggled a little bit early on trying to figure out what he's supposed to do, and then having knee surgery, but we've got to get him to where he understands what's a good shot and what's not a good shot.

"Good shots you can rebound and we took a whole bunch of those that we didn't have a chance to rebound and those aren't good shots."

Speaking of rebounding, WVU did a better job on the glass against the Hokies, going even with them at 43 apiece. Freshman Devin Williams led the way with 11 boards.

Against Tech, Huggins used a starting lineup consisting of Williams, Nathan Adrian and Kevin Noreen at forwards, with Eron Harris and Juwan Staten in the backcourt.

Sophomore Terry Henderson, who missed the opener against Mount St. Mary's with shin inflammation, played eight minutes against Virginia Tech and scored 2 points. He could be ready to see more action against Duquesne.

Sunday's game is the 88th all-time meeting between these two former Eastern 8 and Atlantic 10 rivals, and the 32nd meeting at the Coliseum where West Virginia holds a 28-3 record against the Dukes. Overall, West Virginia owns a 50-37 advantage in the series.

The game will be televised locally on ROOT Sports (Rob King, Warren Baker and Rob Incmikoski) while radio coverage will be provided throughout the state and on the Internet by the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs).

Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.

After Duquesne, West Virginia has a pair of home games against Georgia Southern and Presbyterian before traveling to Cancun, Mexico to play in the Cancun Challenge.