WVU On Both Positive, Negative Side Of Coach’s Ledger
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The story lines are obvious in West Virginia’s 77-38 win over Coppin State.
The Mountaineers started slow, rode their defense and awaited some kind of spark, which in this case was the offensive play of Teddy Allen and his career-best 24 points. But in the game within the game, there are other factors than the season-best 28 turnovers forced, or the fact that the Mountaineers overwhelmed an 0-12 opponent to improve to 10-1 in nonconference play while winning 10 straight.
So it’s worth picking the mind of head coach Bob Huggins and what he thought on a variety of subjects. One was if WVU was again playing to the level of the competition, something it has sporadically been guilty of at times. The answer was a touch surprising while remaining classically Huggins.
“We didn’t have very good practices,” he said. “They haven’t been in the gym as much as they were earlier. Bumps and bruises come with it and then you start to feel sorry for yourself.”
Among those with the bruises was forward Lamont West, who suffered an ankle injury in practice and did not play. Huggins told the forward that “If you have someone around to feel sorry for you, then you feel even sorrier for yourself. I told West I wouldn’t have that sprained ankle very long because he might come back and not have a job.”
Message received, zero distortion. The odd part of the comment was that Huggins had said his team was good in practice up until Tuesday’s session. The Mountaineers worked the 1-3-1 zone and the press, and the latter, as well as the halfcourt man, paid dividends in the victory.
“It was better. You didn’t see the straight line drives, where we just turn guys loose to the rim,” Huggins said. “Magic (Bender) I thought did a really good job. Logan (Routt) came in and played well. Logan is a little different; Logan has to wall up instead of trying to block a shot. He just needs to wall up and make them core over top of him. That’s a lot of length to score over top of.”
Bender finished with five points and two blocks – one a thundering slap from behind – in 13 minutes while Routt had six rebounds and four points in 11 minutes. The last continuing story – which shouldn’t be one at this point – was the ongoing tendency of Sags Konate to pick up flagrant fouls and technicals. The sophomore did it again, being tagged for a flagarant foul with 8:445 left in the first half after a tangle with a CSU player.
It’s both Konate’s verbiage and his physical actions which are drawing whistles, and it’s putting WVU’s primary rim protector on the bench for far too long. Konate played just 15 minutes and missed four of five shots. He scored three points but had six boards.
“I thought he has fixed it, honestly,” Huggins said. “He’s been great at practice, and he gets fouled in practice. He shakes it off. He’s running better and he asks pretty good questions. I thought he had outgrown it a bit. That was just dumb on a dead ball foul right in front of everybody. It’s just a dumb, dumb play and I don’t know if he knows why he does it to be honest.
“What else do you do?”