For the first time since 1995, Mountain State stands a little past the half-way point at the season with five losses.
No doubt the Cougars (11-5) have a lot of work left to do to make another run at the NAIA national championship.
The mantra is pretty simple at this point: Just win.
And MSU has another chance tonight when the Cougars host Rio Grande (9-6) at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center at 7 p.m.
The Red Storm of Rio Grande is coming off a pair of impressive performances last week, beating No. 12 Cumberlands (77-67) and falling to No. 17 Lindsey Wilson (73-70). The Red Storm led Lindsey by nine with 1:58 left before Lindsey Wilson went on a 12-0 run to close the game.
The game very well may come down second chances.
Rio Grande is No. 1 in the nation in offensive rebound per game (17.3) while Mountain State is No. 2 (17.25).
“They are very physical and they crash the boards,” MSU coach Bob Bolen said. “It’s another team that has a winning record and we have to come out and play Mountain State basketball.”
MSU is coming off a 117-59 pasting of Southern State Community College in a game in which Bolen started four new players in the lineup in an effort to find some “spark” that was missing in a loss to Lee last week.
“I thought they did a good job of doing what we asked, providing some spark,” Bolen said. “They gave us some added energy. I’m not sure what we’re going to do (as far as who will start). I’ll probably mix it up again.”
Turrell Morris leads the Red Storm, averaging 16.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Shaun Gunnell averages 13.3 ppg and 7.1 rebounds, followed by Jermaine Warmack (11.5 ppg), Dominick Haynes (9.5) and Brad Cubbie (9.5).
“They are a very balanced team,” Bolen said. “They have a lot of people contribute.”
For MSU, four players average in double figures, led by Cam Miller’s 14.8 points per game.
Point guard Mark Williams — the only one of the regular starters who started Saturday — is averaging 13.9 points and nine assists, followed by Devon Peterson (13.0) and Isaiah Hill (11.1 and 10.1 rebounds). Hill missed the SSCC game with an undisclosed injury and his status was not certain.
One of the stars Saturday was Bruce Komakech, who made his first start of the year and responded with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The freshman entered the game averaging just over four points and three rebounds a game.
“Bruce has had some real big games for us,” Bolen said. “He is probably our highest energy player and he is real smart. He can play all five positions and we have worked him about everywhere.”
MSU travels to Southern Tech (Ga.) Saturday.
— E-mail: demorrison@
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.
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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.
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Getting to know the Big 12 Conference
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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.
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