MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Though he scored 31 points, Eron Harris hardly felt like he was putting on an offensive exhibition Monday night.

“My shot was going, sort of, but it can go more,” Harris said after making 6-of-12 from the floor in West Virginia’s 89-70 preseason victory over Division II Fairmont State. “It was very frustrating that I wasn’t hitting the shots that I’ve been working on.”

Charged with being WVU’s go-to scorer this season, the sophomore Harris looked the part statistically but faulted himself for committing a team-high three turnovers and forcing some shots.

“Coach Huggins gave me a talk and said I needed to play within myself,” Harris said. “At certain points of the game I was looking bad because I was playing outside myself. I need to calm that down.”

Morgantown High product Nathan Adrian scored 21 points and showed the 3-point stroke that made the freshman a sought-after signee. He sank 6-of-10 from beyond the arc, where WVU finished 12-of-27 overall. Gary Browne added 18 points and freshman Devin Williams yanked down a game-best 14 rebounds in a matchup that drew 5,375 to the Coliseum.

The crowd got a first-hand look at the NCAA’s crackdown on hand-checking and defensive contact, with 63 combined fouls leading to 83 free-throw attempts. Fairmont State was whistled for 40 of those and had four players foul out.

“There were three times when my guys fell down and they called a foul—it was comical,” said FSU coach Jerrod Calhoun, a former West Virginia assistant. “I was shocked with the amount of fouls called, but with these new rules you have to call them.”

West Virginia shot 54 free throws, led by Harris making 15-of-20 and Browne hitting 12-of-15. However, the Mountaineers’ big-men trio of Kevin Noreen, Brandon Watkins and Wiliiams combined to make only 2-of-8, dropping the team to 68 percent at the foul line.

Point guard Juwan Staten produced 13 points, three assists and played a turnover-free 30 minutes with WVU dressing only eight scholarship players.

Adrian played 31 minutes, starting in place of injured sophomore guard Terry Henderson (shin), and made two 3-pointers in the opening 90 seconds. “I’ve been going through a slump lately, so it’s good to shoot like that going out,” he said.

With ineligible power forwards Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon seemingly destined to sit out the season, WVU’s lineup became decidedly perimeter-oriented. Thus, the shot chart revealed fewer attempts inside the 3-point line (22) than behind it, and WVU shot 40 percent overall.

“We plan on getting the ball inside a lot more than we did tonight,” Adrian said. “We didn’t the ball inside too much today, which is why the shooting percentage was down.”

Coach Bob Huggins described Henderson’s injury as an inflamed shin muscle, somewhat of a relief after team doctors worried it might be a stress fracture. Henderson could be available for Friday’s season opener against Mount St. Mary’s.

“We definitely need him, and we’d love to have him Friday,” Staten said.

Junior college transfer Remi Dibo, two weeks removed from knee surgery and expected to sit out the game, entered for the final 2:18 and contributed a rebound.

“I was kind of surprised, because we really didn’t know where he was, as far as his knee,” Staten said. “He was doing some things in practice and some drills he was sitting out of.”

Huggins spent the majority of a first-half timeout railing on Adrian for a defensive blunder.

“I let one of their guys drive straight line and score a layup,” said Adrian, an aw-shucks grin washing over his face. “You get chewed out for that.

Having had a preseason’s worth of practices to understand his coach’s emphatic reprimands, Adrian seems to have acclimated.

“(Huggins) is going to chew you out eventually, because there’s no way to be perfect. When he does it you’ve just got to learn from what he tells you and not get down on yourself.”

Even from the visitors’ bench, Fairmont’s second-year coach Calhoun retained some loyalty to West Virginia and wished his former program a successful turnaround from last season’s 13-19 record.

“It was a fun experience for me, being with Coach Huggins for so many years and recruiting Terry Henderson. I want these (WVU) guys to get this thing back, just as much as everyone else in Morgantown does. Hopefully we gave them something that they can look at and be ready to go on Friday.”

Stevie Browning, a sophomore from Logan High, led Fairmont State with 23 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Caleb Davis added 13 points for the Falcons, who shot 37 percent and trailed only 30-27 before WVU went on a 12-2 run late in the half.

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  • tony

    came away from last night with great hope....after last night, the deception of murray and hines is revealed. nate and devin are players

  • Chris1529

    last nights game was just like watching the last few WVU/Marshall games. So many fouls that the game or offense is never allowed to get into any kind of flow.
    The Capital Classic will finish as a two-on two contest if is officiated like last nights game because so many players will foul out.
    If the one play on the baseline where Harris got called for a block was a legitimate ball according to the rules, no one is ever going to get called for a charge now either.

  • 1smartone

    There were 63 fouls called in last nights game. Wow! These are going to be hard to watch all year.

  • Matt

    Harris and Adrien played well.

    Noreen doesn't deserve a scholarship.

    Huggins needs to get himself healthy. I am worried about him.

  • MickandAllysDad

    The fouls were unreal. I hope the NCAA takes a look at the situation and fixes it. This isn't basketball.

    • Big Dave

      New rule change. Point of emphasis. Coaches are calling it the most dramatic rule changes in many, many years.

      Hopefully, the players will adjust their game or else it's going to be one boring season.

  • Big Larry

    Is it the "Same ol Same ol"?

    Huggins coached teams are notorious for not being able to make free throws...even the Great One is dismayed over it.

    With the new rule changes, you may be looking at shooting 40-50 free throws in each game...especially in the beginning.

    The team who makes the most free throws is usually the winner.

    For whatever the reason, the Great One has been unable to teach his players how to shoot free throws in game situations.

    On the bright side however, they make almost every free throw in practice...

    Just sayin....

  • Shawn

    These kids love Huggs. If they didn't want to be there then they wouldn't committed.

  • Melvin Meade

    Fairmont State was no push-over, and Logan grad Stevie Browning showed D1 talent that people in Logan knew he had. Hope the Eers all get healthy and produce a 20+ win season.

  • wvajoker

    Why do the commenters make big deal out of Huggs jumping on the players. That is what coaches do (all of them). If player don't do what they are taught in practice, the should be reprimanded and they expect it. If we don't like it we will have to get used to it. Hopefully we will have several years of it.

  • Old Coach

    I seen the game it was different from games I seen last year. A Lot of fouls was called for an exhibition game. If the regular season will be like this one it will take three hours to play a game...different... I feel like this WVU team is better than what was on the floor last year... Hope they put up more W's .... I sure did like the 3's....

    • Big Dave

      New rules, coach. Go take a look at what happened at the UK exhibition.

      It's going to be a foul fest all season long.

  • Big Larry

    "Huggins spent the majority of a first-half timeout railing on Adrian for a defensive blunder."

    Adrian had better get used to it...because he is facing 4 years of it...

    • MoMoney

      Not unless he transfers out like about 75% of Huggins recruits have done.

    • Grant

      The kid seemed to expect it, and it didn't seem to bother him. It is also funny with how much affection many of his former players speak about him.

      I find it humorous with the way about four of you like to run down a Hall of Fame coach who recently took WVU to a Final Four.

      • WillyNilly

        With Coach B's recruits...

        Just sayin'.

      • Matt

        Hall of fame coach? Don't you have to be one of the best in your profession? I can think of 15-20 current coaches off the top of my head better than Huggins.

        Self, Pitino, Boeheim, K, Williams, Donovan, Cal, Stevens, Smith, Izzo, Beilein, Few, Wright, Matta, etc.

        • Mister Man

          And it's good that some of them will join Hugs in that elite group.

      • Big Larry

        Adrian had better get used to it...because he is facing 4 years of it...