West Virginia earned its seventh win of the season over Radford on Saturday, keeping an unbeaten record for the season at the WVU Coliseum.
Coach Bob Huggins spoke after the 67-51 victory, which doubled as a homecoming for former guard Darris Nichols, who now heads the Highlanders’ program:
Huggs wants 40 minutes — and less reliance on Taz Sherman
The coach was clear with his assessment of his team’s play — they started strong, but then “quit playing.” He’s right, at least as far as the scoreboard goes, as the Mountaineers out-scored Radford by 18 in the first half, then were out-scored themselves in the second half by two.
The Mountaineers didn’t get much scoring out of anyone besides Taz Sherman. The guard was the only double-digit scorer, notching 27 points in his fourth game of 20 points or more.
“I don’t think it was a choice whether we relied on him too much or not,” Huggins said. “We had to.”
Sherman’s role had greater importance after Sean McNeil was ruled unavailable with a lower back injury.
“Everybody gets hurt“
McNeil is currently listed as day-to-day, but Sherman confirmed that the team knew two days prior to the game that they would be without the double-digit scorer.
“I haven’t been in the training room. I haven’t talked to him,” Huggins said. “I have enough to do trying to get these guys to play.”
Later in his post-game press conference, Huggins took some time to reminisce on his tough players of the past.
“Everbody gets hurt,” Huggins said. “Whether you sprain your ankle, do you know how many guys that we had play with sprained ankles? I can remember Da’Sean Butler spraining his ankle and…everybody’s saying he can’t go. Billy [Hahn] and I were walking down the stairs and we saw Jay Wright, we’re playing Villanova, and Jay said ‘How’s Da’Sean?’ I said ‘There’s no way he can play….’ He got 36 [points].”
He’s not taking UConn lightly
West Virginia faces an old foe on Wednesday when it hosts UConn in the Big East-Big 12 Battle. The two schools have squared off 22 times in history, the bulk of which came during their respective times as opponents in the Big East.
UConn hit a rough series of seasons after its last national championship in 2014, but fourth-year head coach Dan Hurley has gotten the team back on track.
Now, they’re 8-1 and sit ranked No. 17 in the country — a number that could improve when the new poll is unveiled on Monday.
“Man, they are talented athletically. Really talented,” Huggins said. “They remind me a lot of a couple of the teams I had at Cincinnati. They…are that athletic.”