By Dave Morrison
Coming off an impressive 71-65 win over Ohio State and a move back into the Associated Press Top 25, West Virginia (15-3, 4-2 Big East) moves back into Big East play tonight at DePaul (8-11, 1-6).
Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on FSN Pittsburgh (Suddenlink Ch. 28).
WVU battled back from a 12-point halftime to beat Ohio State in the Coliseum Saturday.
Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins would like to see a quicker start from his team, which has been hurt recently by falling behind early, lapses in shooting that cost WVU in losses to Notre Dame and Syracuse.
“We’d like to start a game off a little bit better,” Huggins said. “They’re going to play man and they’ve got really good size inside. And we’re going to have to attack some 2-3 zone.”
Despite the recent deficits, Huggins does see some benefit to his squad.
“When you think about some of the slow starts we’ve had and the holes we’ve put ourselves in, I think we’ve become very resilient,” he said. “You look at the second half of the Notre Dame game, the last minute and a half or so of the Syracuse game, the second half of the Ohio State — and we kind of let Marshall get all of the momentum going Wednesday (in a 68-60 win). I think they’ve proven to be very resilient.”
DePal’s Will Walker has proven himself against WVU, scoring 31 against the Mountaineers.
In an 87-77 loss to Notre Dame Walker took 30 shots but had 35. He is averaging a team-best 16 points per game and has 40 3-pointers.
“He’s getting his shots,” Huggins said. “They’re running things for him but they’re always running things for him. They’re running the baseline runner for him. They may be ball screening for him a little bit more,. But it’s basically the same things.”
Walker’s backcout mate is 6-1 sophomore Jeremiah Kelly. Kelly has a team-best 59 assists.
DePaul’s 6-foot-10 junior center Mac Koshwal is out with a right foot injury. Koshwal was averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game when he went down against Villanova Jan. 6. He is expected to miss about a month.
Six-nine Devin Hill and 6-11 Krys Faber have taken over. Hill is averaging 6.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while Faber shows averages of 2.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, hardly matching Koshwal’s numbers.
Six-six Eric Wallace (6.8 ppg.) is the other starter.
Shooting has been West Virginia’s problem, and Huggins knows it, despite the fact that WVU shot 48 percent against Ohio State in the second half.
“The crux of the problem has been our offense,” he said. “We’ve had some defensive breakdowns, but I think the crux of the problem is that we haven’t shot the ball well. Some of that is due to executing but the reality is we have had pretty good shots. You can’t go back and look at the tape and say, ‘We just took God-awful shots.’ We haven’t. We’ve taken pretty good shots.”
Da’Sean Butler is coming off an impressive 21-point performance against Ohio State, scoring 16 points in the second half.
Butler is now averaging 16 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He is 56 points shy of cracking West Virginia’s top five in career scoring (Rod Thorn 1,785 points). Butler is also 19th in career rebounding with 679.
Sophomore Kevin Jones is averaging 14.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, Devin Ebanks shows averages of 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds, and Truck Bryant is averaging 10.7 points and now leads the team with 29 3-point field goals.
West Virginia will be back at the Coliseum Saturday for a noon tipoff with Louisville.
Game tips at 8:30 p.m. tonight
By Dave Morrison
Workman’s goal lifts Patriots to dramatic win
Midland Trail finally climbed to the top of the mountain when it mattered most.
Texas passes on making Luck its AD
The University of Texas passed on making West Virginia University’s Oliver Luck its athletic director Tuesday, choosing Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson instead.
W.Va. board rejects proximity detector regulation
Over the objections of a coal miner’s widow and representatives from the United Mine Workers of America, West Virginia’s mine safety board has rejected a regulation that could help prevent crushing injuries and deaths underground.
- Bubba Watson joining ranks of The Greenbrier's pro representatives
Confirmed: Caridi will continue calling WVU football, basketball games
Longtime Mountaineer sports announcer Tony Caridi will continue calling the plays at West Virginia University football and basketball games, IMG College announced Monday.
Caridi had told The Register-Herald last week in an appearance in Summersville that a deal between him and IMG College was imminent.
Sports Briefs — Thursday, February 14
Coaches at the college, high school, junior varsity, junior high and recreational league (adult or youth) levels are urged to submit game results and/or updated statistics to The Fayette Tribune.
- Sale of Oakhurst Golf Links falls through
Getting to know the Big 12 Conference
As West Virginia University moves into the Big 12 Conference, here's one place to come to find out about all of the Mountaineers new league opponents.
WVU releases 2012 football schedule
West Virginia University has released its football schedule for 2012.
WVU announced Tuesday it has settled a lawsuit with the Big East for an unspecified amount, clearing the way for the conference power Mountaineers to join the Big 12 in July in time for the fall football season.
WVU settles Big East lawsuit
West Virginia University announced Tuesday it has settled a lawsuit with the Big East for an unspecified amount, clearing the way for the Mountaineers to join the Big 12 in July.
Athletic Director Oliver Luck said the terms of the deal were confidential and WVU wouldn’t release details. But Luck said no state, taxpayer, tuition or other academic dollars will be used in the settlement.
- More Sports Headlines
- Workman’s goal lifts Patriots to dramatic win