The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 8, 2013

WVU's Huggins likes Monday 9 p.m. starts

By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald

MORGANTOWN — Stringing together some odds and ends: A writer asked West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins whether he likes Monday night’s game starting at 9 o’clock?

“Probably a lot more then you do,” Huggins replied. He thought that the 4,966 people who turned out for WVU’s 60-58 victory over Texas last Monday night at the Coliseum in a snowstorm was very good. He noted that some people even came up from Charleston and, of course, most from the greater Morgantown area. “I was happy with that turnout,” he said.

While the weather conditions were terrible, I thought WVU workers did a fine job of removing snow from walkways outside the Coliseum during the game. That enabled people leaving after the game to find safer walking paths. Streets also were cleared.

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Huggins said when you go through a year like this, you almost feel hopeless. You want to take games one at a time. “I think we’re getting better at the guards. We’re rebounding better and I think we’re healthy again,” the veteran coach said.

The Mountaineers (11-11, 4-5 Big 12) are not scoring as much as they did in past years because some great scorers have graduated, according to Huggins.

“We don’t have guys like we had in past years,” he added.

WVU basketball coaches and players have not given up hope of qualifying for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. “Why should we?” Huggins said. “We just have to keep winning more games.”

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The Mountaineers swept the series with Texas in Monday’s rematch. They had won in overtime 57-53 in the first meeting on Jan. 9 at Austin, Texas. Huggins recalled that they shot only 30 percent from the field (19 of 62) down there. But they hit 46.2 percent in the rematch (18 of 39) Monday.

Texas shot only 34.5 percent (19 of 55) in the first meeting at home. But the Longhorns were limited to 35 percent (21 of 60) in Morgantown.

Both senior Deniz Kilicli and freshman Eron Harris believe they and their WVU teammates are on a roll and capable of finishing strong. Those two must continue to provide more offense, though.

The Mountaineers will seek a third consecutive victory on Saturday in a conference contest at Texas Christian University (9-11, 0-7 Big 12). Tip-off time is 4 p.m.

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Some people think the Big 12 conference would be wise to schedule basketball road games on a two-per-trip basis. That is, for example, book West Virginia at Texas on a Saturday and at a second conference school down there two nights later. That certainly would cut down on travel wear-and-tear as well as expenses.

In the 21 years Ed Pastilong served as athletic director, WVU would issue a full financial report within two months after the end of a fiscal year for the athletic department. But the media still have not received so much as a bottom line for fiscal 2011-12!

Shouldn’t the public have a right to know how many millions of dollars athletes are costing the university?