Curry, Johnson Provide Rays Of Hope For WVU At Point

West Virginia guard Kedria Johnson (0) defends against Pitt's Onyebuchi Ezeakudo

West Virginia’s men’s basketball team has been looking for, among other things, a point guard to take command of the offense, and it got its strongest performance of the young season at that position from a pair of players in the Mountaineers’ 74-59 win over Pitt on Friday night at the WVU Coliseum. Transfer Malik Curry, who tallied a perfect 5-5 shooting night from the field while dishing out three assists, and Kedrian Johnson, who had six assists and seven steals, combined to fill up the box score and give WVU productivity across the board.

Curry helped spark the Mountaineers after they played mostly even with the Panthers through the first nine minutes. With WVU holding a two-point lead at 15-13, Curry got aggressive, driving into the lane for buckets on three of WVU’s next four possessions. Sandwiched around a Sean McNeil jumper, the flurry pushed West Virginia’s lead to 23-15 and put it in command — a position that it never relinquished.

Get all of our print editions with your subscription today!

Johnson meanwhile, was helping harass Pitt into 32 turnovers, recording seven steals on the defensive end. He also had six assists in running the Mountaineer offense against just one turnover of his own. Combined, the duo was on the floor for 36 minutes, and while West Virginia’s offensive execution wasn’t stellar, it was good enough to cut up the visiting Panthers for a 50.8% shooting mark from the field.

West Virginia guard Malik Curry (10) reverses a lay-up (Frank Salucci photo)

Of course, WVU head coach Bob Huggins noted the importance of the duo’s defensive performance first.

“I thought our ball pressure was really good,” said Huggins, who recorded the 902nd win of his illustrious career. “It was great having those two little guys who can get back there and harass the guy with the ball. It makes it difficult for them to enter offense and get the ball where they want it to go. I thought those guys did a terrific job.  I mean, how would you like one of those little guys to go out and then another one comes in after you? I think they really wear on people. If you think about it, a pretty good point guard today, probably a really good point guard Oakland and they both turned it over at an alarming rate.”

Anything WVU can get from the position offensively is a bonus, and if Curry and Johnson can continue to chip in a few buckets here and there, WVU could be on its way to putting a more efficient offense on the floor. Huggins mentioned that as a priority for upcoming practice work, but noted that Curry’s offensive showing was not a surprise.

“I think people, when we took him, said ‘He’s not just going to want to be a point guard and distribute the ball. He’s going to want to score because that’s what he did at ODU. He’s been great,” Huggins said of Curry. “I  think Malik gives us more of a shot on offense. He is really good at getting it at the rim.”

None of this is to suggest that Johnson or Curry have “arrived” or that there still isn’t more to prove before West Virginia’s point guard issues can be considered to be resolved. However, there’s no question that the showing of the pair on Friday night was encouraging, and the fact that it came against Pitt made it all the sweeter.

Home Page forums Curry, Johnson Provide Rays Of Hope For WVU At Point

  • This topic has 0 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated by Kevin Kinder.
Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Home Page forums Curry, Johnson Provide Rays Of Hope For WVU At Point

Home Page forums Curry, Johnson Provide Rays Of Hope For WVU At Point