West Virginia (2-1) will square off against Georgia Southern (2-1) in their first match-up of the Cancun Challenge. The Mountaineers and Eagles are both looking to carry over their success as both teams are coming off victories.
West Virginia handled Duquesne last Sunday, 96-83. It was head coach Bob Huggins' perimeter players that got the job done. Guards, Earon Harris and Jewan Staten both had career-highs. Harris led the way by scoring 33 while Staten dropped 28 on the Dukes. Devin Williams, the true freshman also scored 18 in that game. He was the third player to have a career-high scoring night.
The Mountaineers shot 33 for 56 (58.9 percent) from the field as well as 10 for 18 (55.6 percent) from three point land. Huggins' squad was also 20 for 34 from the free throw line.
The Eagles in their last outing clobbered Toccoa Falls, 104-50. Georgia Southern was led by guard Trey Bussey who had 29 points while fellow guard Jelani Hewitt chipped in with 23. As a team the Eagles shot 56.5 percent from the field.
"They play fast, set a lot of screens, shoot threes," said Staten.
The one blemish on Georgia Sothern's record came from an overtime loss to Miami where the Eagles only fell short by a point. West Virginia's one loss came from Virginia Tech who came back from 17 down to defeat the Mountaineers.
Huggins also recognized that when his team meets Georgia Southern it might just be the battle of the guards.
"Guard oriented, obviously they took Miami into overtime," said Huggins.
West Virginia is shooting the ball well. The Mountaineers are averaging 85 points per game but for what they're doing on offense, they're lacking on defense. The Mountaineers have allowed over 80 points in their last two games.
"We don't continue to play through plays," said Huggins. "We play hard then we kind of figure it's time for a rest. We just get ourselves out of position."
"I think we need to pick-up on defense, our defense is kind of struggling a bit," said Staten
Huggins said that in West Virginia's loss to Virginia Tech, transition defense was a major issue. If the Mountaineers want to contain a good offensive team in Georgia Southern their overall play on defense will need to be at its best.
This young team already looks as if it has more potential than last season's team. After three games this West Virginia team is looking to keep the good-play going against the Eagles.
"Just another chance to get game experience, build our chemistry as a team," said Staten.
The Mountaineers will look to get things started on a positive note in the Cancun Challenge with a win over the Eagles. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM from the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown. The game will broadcast live on ROOT Sports Network.