Adrian Breaks Nose, Sinks Shots - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Adrian Breaks Nose, Sinks Shots

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CHARLESTON -

Perhaps Nathan Adrian should break his nose every game. Or perhaps he should make sure Bob Huggins schedules William and Mary more often throughout the season.

Since the latter likely won't happen any time soon, the freshman forward may want to prepare his face for a bit of restructuring after his 16-point performance.

In the first half of Sunday's victory over the Tribe, Adrian was defending in the lane when he was called for a foul. As soon as the whistle blew, Adrian yelled out, "He pushed me," and then doubled over underneath the basket. His hand covered his face, initially masking the real source of the injury.

When he pulled his hand away to take a look, though, the blood was pouring from his nose. WVU trainers took a look at their forward before retreating to the team locker room to stop the bleeding.

Huggins was asked how his Mountaineers would fill Adrian's void during his half time interview and he responded that his 6-foot-9 rookie was tough and would be back in the game.

Not only did Adrian return, but he played what was likely his best half of the season.

"I just got busted in the nose again, broke it," said Adrian, who also got hit badly enough to draw blood in WVU's previous contest against Purdue.

Huggins made a comment to one of the officials after Adrian sunk his fourth 3-pointer of the second half, essentially remarking that the broken nose had helped him play even better. Was that the case?

"I guess," Adrian said with a smile. "I'm not going to do it again, though."

No, a broken nose each night would be like something out from a bad remake of the 1995 comedy classic "Angus." Still, perhaps it triggered something in Adrian to wake him up out of a slumber.

"Maybe he shouldn't break it more often, because that wouldn't be good, but it definitely sent a shock through his body," said WVU junior guard Juwan Staten. "He played as well tonight as I've seen him play and I'm just proud of him. It shows how tough he is."

Adrian, who finished 6-of-7 shooting, wasn't the only freshman dealing with an injury. According to Huggins, Brandon Watkins had two teeth knocked out in practice this week. Rather than use it as an excuse, the forward went to the dental school and returned to finish out the remainder of practice.

Devin Williams went home over the holiday break and took an eight and a half hour bus ride back to Morgantown.

"You can imagine being 6-foot-9, 260 pounds and trying to get comfortable for eight and a half hours, kind of twisting. His back's bothering him," said Huggins. "It's either that or get two teeth knocked out, break your nose. We've got it all going on."

But, as Staten said, returning to the lineup and fighting through these injuries are just some of what comes with playing major college basketball. This is a part of their lives now and after 13 games, they are realizing what it takes to compete on this level.

"I've learned I've got to work harder all the time," said Adrian. "When I have bad games and stuff, it's when I get lazy. I've just got to get used to not doing that and stay in the gym and stuff."

Huggins got on Adrian for that laziness, for not getting himself in the gym outside of practice so that he could work on his craft even when the rest of his teammates weren't beside him. It's difficult to tell with freshmen as their game can go up and down game-to-game and even minute-to-minute, but the head coach is hopeful the message is sticking with Adrian.

"thought to start the year he was a little more assertive and I'm sure the competition had something to do with that, and then he got a little too passive," Huggins said of Adrian. "Nate ought to be able to rebound it for us offensively, he ought to be able to make open shots. Obviously today, he shot it extremely well. He's not going to shoot it that well all the time, but he can play that hard all the time."

That effort is evident, even if the results aren't always there. A nice shot to the nose may have been just what the doctor ordered for a freshman in need of a spark. 

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