MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Eron Harris
and Juwan Staten
had career-high scoring performances to lead West Virginia to a 96-83 victory over Duquesne in an entertaining, up-and-down game Sunday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum.
Harris scored 33 points and Staten added 28, while freshman Devin Williams
produced an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double for WVU.
“That’s the good news,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “The bad news for them is they’re going to have to keep doing it. If they don’t do it then we’re going to struggle. We’re going to live and die by our guards, I think.”
Harris was 12 of 19 from the floor while Staten made 7 of 11 from the floor and 14 of 19 from the free throw line.
Overall, West Virginia (2-1) shot 58.9 percent from the floor (33 of 56), including 10 of 18 from 3. Harris was 6 of 8 from behind the arc, including a big 3 from the corner with 7:40 left in the game with the Mountaineers leading by just four, 75-71.
Nineteen seconds later, Terry Henderson
hit another bomb from about the same spot as Harris, and one more Harris triple gave the Mountaineers an 84-71 advantage with 3:20 to go.
West Virginia appeared to be taking control of the game late in the first half, but a mental lapse allowed Duquesne to make up four quick points before the horn sounded when Remi Dibo fouled Micah Mason on his 3-pointer from the corner. Mason also hit the free throw to reduce the Mountaineers’ lead to 49-43 at the break.
In last Tuesday’s loss at Virginia Tech, a similar lapse late in the first half enabled the Hokies to get back into a game Tech eventually won, 87-82.
“I was livid at halftime because we don’t have guys who pay attention to the scouting report,” said Huggins. “You can’t do that at this level, not knowing who they are going to go to when they need a score or not knowing the guys who are going to make shots.”
Today, Duquesne (1-2) tied the game at 59 on a Mason 3 before Harris answered with a 3 on the other end of the floor.
“It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure,” said Huggins.
UAB transfer Ovie Soto led the Dukes with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Mason finished with 18.
Duquesne’s top two scorers – Tra’Vaughn White and Derrick Coulter – who came into the game averaging a combined 36.5 points per game, managed to get just 10 and 2 points respectively.
The Dukes held a 39-30 advantage on the glass.
“We’re going to have to guard better,” said Huggins. “We’re not going to continue to out-score people.”
Huggins said on his postgame radio show that Gary Browne
sat out today’s game with a deep thigh bruise.
“We’re trying to get him better so we can get past this stuff and just play,” said Huggins. “When those guys aren’t in practice it’s hard getting any continuity.”
West Virginia returns to action this Thursday with a 7 p.m. game against Georgia Southern at the WVU Coliseum that will be televised locally on ROOT Sports.
Duquesne will face Albany on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.