West Virginia men’s hoops team earned their first victory over Duquesne, 78-70. Between the play of their newcomers to simply getting a win, there was plenty for fans to like from what they saw on the court.
But for Bob Huggins, there was still a lot left to be desired.
“I didn’t like much,” he said. “….We just didn’t run anything. We weren’t very good defensively, and for what I think we need to be a really good team, I thought we were horrible.”
There were three specific phases he called out: rebounding, free throw shooting and three-point shooting.
The Mountaineers won the rebounding battle on the stat sheet, nabbing 48 over the Dukes’ 35 on the game. This effort was led by Oscar Tshiebwe’s 14 on the night and Derek Culver’s 8.
Still, Huggins was displeased with his team’s efforts on the boards, especially Culver’s.
“Why wouldn’t I expect Derek to do what he did a year ago? I think that’s fair,” he said.
On the other hand, Huggins’ gripes with his team’s free throw shooting truly do show up on the stat sheet. The Mountaineers made just 50 percent of their free throws — just 10 of their 20 attempts, to be exact — with only Sean McNeil able to make all of his shots from the charity stripe.
The struggle did extend to the three point line, as well — the Mountaineers made just 26.1 percent of their three balls, with three players unable to make any of their attempts.
Ultimately, Huggins says the team’s issues boil down to execution, and he puts much of that blame on his veterans.
“I thought we had made some strides this past week, and then some of our older guys let us down,” he said. “I say ‘let us down,’ meaning that they didn’t do what we practiced.”
Many of these issues are on the offensive side of the ball. With the season opener against Akron a week away, Huggins says his team needs to make improvements on defense as well.
“They’re going to ball screen a lot, and we did a good job at times in ball screens , and we did a horrific job sometimes in ball screens,” he said. “We have to be more consistent with how we guard them….We have a whole lot to work on. We didn’t rebound it.”