The Mountaineer basketball team played their last exhibition game of the season on Monday night at the WVU Coliseum.
In what was the final tune-up before Friday's season opener at home against Mount Saint Mary's, Bob Huggins squad got off to a fast start. The hometown freshman forward Nate Adrian got the Mountaineers first points of the night, hitting the first three of his college career. On the next Fairmont State possession, Adrian also recorded his first block and rebound. The Mountaineers would open up a 9-2 lead before the first media timeout of the first half.
Fairmont State would battle back tying the game at 9-9 with 13:44 to go in the first half. Both teams struggled shooting the ball early on, but the Mountaineers seemed to gain offensive momentum late in the first half. Despite shooting 33.3 percent from the floor in the first half, the Mountaineers took a 45-33 lead into halftime. The Mountaineers would go 20 of 29 in the first half from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Eron Harris led the way for the Mountaineers by scoring 18 points in 17 minutes of first half action, while Nate Adrian and Gary Browne added 10 points each respectively.
In the second half, the Mountaineers would maintain their lead and walk away with an 89-70 victory over Fairmont State. For the game, the Mountaineers finished 41 percent from the field. Eron Harris finished the day with 30 points, leading all scorers. It was an impressive debut for Morgantown High School graduate Nate Adrian, as he finished with 21 points and three rebounds. Adrian said that he was a little nervous at first, but settled in early on.
"I had a few jitters at the beginning," said Adrian. "I got comfortable and started playing my game."
Growing up as a Mountaineer fan, the experience will be one he will always remember, said Adrian.
"It was pretty cool playing here after I grew up watching them," said Adrian.
In the rebounding category, freshman forward Devin Williams led the way with 14. At the free throw line, the Mountaineers finished 37 of 54. The new rules that focus on calling more hand check fouls may have changed the game, as a total of 63 fouls were called. Both coaches were quick to point that out after the game.
"I think it's going to help beer sales tremendously," said Huggins. "There will be lots of dead time. It's going to be this way, so we have to get used to it."
The pressure to call hand checks has Coach Bob Huggins feeling bad for the officials.
"I never thought I'd say this, but I feel bad for the officials," said Huggins. "They have so much pressure on them to call hand checks."
West Virginia was without small forward Terry Henderson on Monday night, but he hopes to be back in time for Friday's season opener. Coach Huggins says his status remains unclear.
"We don't really know much other than it's a leg injury," said Huggins. "I think he'll be back for Friday."
The Mountaineers return to action on Friday evening at the WVU Coliseum when they open their season against Mount Saint Mary's.