The Mountaineers bounced back from a tough loss on the road to Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon by getting a 96-83 home victory over Duquesne.
The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in the first couple minutes of the game. Duquesne would respond and cut the led to just one, 12-11, at the first media timeout. WVU shot the ball well from behind the ark in the first half, going 6 of 12, and opened up an eight point lead with seven minutes to play, 32-24. Eron Harris led the way for the Mountaineers in the first half by scoring 16 points. Guard Juwan Staten continued to show improvement as he added 14 points in the first 20 minutes of play.
WVU opened up a 49-39 lead in the final minute of the first half, but a foul by Remi Dibo led to a four-point play for the Dukes. Micah Mason hit a corner three for Duquesne one second before the break, and added a free throw to cut the Mountaineer lead to six at the half, 49-43. Mason finished the day with 18 points for the Dukes.
After the half, the lead continued to disappear. With 14:45 left in the game, Micah Mason added his fourth three of the game for the Dukes, and tied the game at 59 all. Letting Duquesne back in the game did not sit well with Huggins after the game.
"We've been down that road to many times," said Huggins. "We have to defend better."
Eron Harris gave the Mountaineers the lead back on the very next possession by hitting a three of his own.
From this point on, WVU maintained their lead. The Dukes would hang around over the next eight minutes with the Mountaineers unable to deliver a knockout punch. With just under six minutes remaining, Eron Harris added another three to put WVU up 78-71. West Virginia returned to the defensive end and came up with a big stop. Terry Henderson added another WVU three, giving the Mountaineers an 81-71 lead with 5:38 to play. After the game, Harris said he knew his teammate would make the corner shot.
"I knew that was going in," said Harris. "I kept the corner hot for him."
Eron Harris added to his career high 33 points just minutes later by hitting another shot from beyond the ark, giving the Mountaineers an 84-71 lead.
The Mountaineers get revenge against the Dukes and win by a final score of 96-83. Guard Juwan Staten says this win means a little more than usual.
"After what happened last year, this win definitely was nice," said Staten.
Eron Harris led the way for WVU by setting a new career high 33 points against Duquesne. Despite his performance, Harris is still focused on improving.
"I'm happy," said Harris. "But I need to get better at my free throws. I don't know why I keep missing them when I make 100 in practice every day."
On the day, the Mountaineers finished just 58 percent (20-34) from the line. Coach Huggins was not pleased by this statistic.
"I don't know why we can't make them," said Huggins. "We have them make 100 every single day."
Staten also added a career high 28 points and nine assists for the Mountaineers in the win over the Dukes. Both Harris and Staten have set new career highs in three games this season. After the game, Staten was asked if this could be a theme as the year continues.
"If it happens that way we're happy," said Staten. "At the same time, we're just going out there and doing what we're told to do."
Devin Williams had another outstanding game, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The double-double by Williams had sophomore guard Eron Harris praising the young freshman after the game.
"He's still learning the game," said Harris. "Once he learns the game, he's going to be a monster."
The Mountaineers finished the day at 59 percent (33-56) from the field. From behind the three-point line, WVU shot 56 percent (10-18).
WVU improves to 2-1 on the season, and will return to action on Thursday at home against Georgia Southern.