1-3-1 Zone Causes Headaches For WVU Opponents - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

1-3-1 Zone Causes Headaches For WVU Opponents

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia University men's basketball Head Coach Bob Huggins wants to see his teams score. But even more than that he wants to see those teams rebound the ball and play solid defense.

Solid defense in a significant point in the game against Radford helped WVU pull away. That was when WVU went to the 1-3-1 zone.

The combination of Aaric Murray, Dominique Rutledge and Keaton Miles used their length and athleticism to cause all kinds of problems for Radford in the middle of that 1-3-1.

"I like it," Murray said of the zone. "It keeps you from using all of your energy chasing a guy all around. In my area that I cover, it is harder for guys to see over me. They have to float it and that gives my teammates a chance to get there and steal it."

"I like playing the 1-3-1 because we have a lot of length in it," WVU Guard Juwan Staten said. "We have Dom who is 6-foot-8, Keaton who is 6-foot-7 and Aaric who is 6-foot-10 and they are all playing on the wings."

Staten is a guard who typically plays away from the basket on defense. His spot in the 1-3-1 zone is in the back. He must move from side to side along the baseline to defend against passes in his area.

"Even though I am matched up with bigs in the back, all I am really doing is talking because if guards can't see where they are throwing the ball, it makes it easier."

Huggins has appeared to master the timing of when to throw the 1-3-1 zone at his opponents. That move triggered a series of big plays by his team.

"We only play it every now and then," Staten said. "We only use it when we need it. For the most part we want to make teams take a lot of time off the clock. It is something we can get into and confuse them real quick, score some baskets and get out of it if we have to."

"We saw the 1-3-1 earlier against Eastern Kentucky and UNC-Charlotte, but West Virginia's 1-3-1 is bigger and a little bit more aggressive," Radford Head Coach Mike Jones said. "Initially it threw us off. We didn't attack it. It allowed them to stretch their lead out."

Huggins did not utilize the 1-3-1 zone very much last season. That had a lot to do with his personnel. He lacked the size and agility out of that team that this one possesses.

The 1-3-1 zone proved to be a game-changing kind of defense during West Virginia's run to the Final Four in 2010. Perhaps it can be that kind of a game-changing defense for this group.

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