The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

January 15, 2009

Huggins feeling better about team

Mountaineers set to host USF Saturday

MORGANTOWN — Coach Bob Huggins indicated Thursday he was feeling a little bit better about the West Virginia basketball team that will be host to South Florida at noon Saturday in the Coliseum.

He liked a lot about Wednesday night’s 87-76 victory over Marshall in the year’s final non-conference game at Charleston that ended a two-game losing streak.

“I thought we had better balance offensively,” Huggins said on the Big East media teleconference. “We shot better (26-49, 53.1 percent). Darryl Bryant played well for us.

“Between Bryant, Alex Ruoff and Da’Sean Butler, I thought they all shot the ball well. We got really good contributions off the bench, too. Kevin Jones came in and played extremely well.”

Bryant, a freshman playing point guard, went from playing his worst game of the season to his best. He tallied a game-high 22 points and had four assists. He was named the game’s MVP.

Eleven players saw action for West Virginia and all but two shared in the scoring. Huggins explained that he and his assistants are hopeful of developing more depth now that every game counts in the conference the remainder of the regular season.

“We tried to play Josh Sowards a little bit because he’s capable of making perimeter shots,” he said. “And we’re trying to get Will Thomas more playing time.”

Huggins admittedly wasn’t worried when Marshall trimmed from 21 to 10 points WVU’s lead with more than 14 minutes remaining in the contest.

“They made some runs, but when you shoot as many threes as they were shooting in that stretch, you’re bound to miss some,” he reasoned.

“I was more concerned that we would rebound them. They weren’t going to continue to make those shots.”

Huggins thought the game was typical of what happens when intrastate rivals collide.

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