MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Eron Harris poured in 33 points and Juwan Staten added 28—both career highs—but West Virginia still needed a 14-1 run in the final seven minutes to pull away from Duquesne 96-83 on Sunday at the WVU Coliseum.
“Winning is a lot better than losing,” said Harris, who made 12-of-19 from the floor, and 6-of-8 from 3-point range. “It’s good to get this good win. It’s not just a little-bitty win, seeing as they beat us last year.”
Staten made 7-of-11 from the floor and 14-of-19 foul shots as WVU (2-1) avenged a loss to Duquesne in Pittsburgh last season.
“Eron is definitely a great scorer and he’s really coming into that role of being a scorer,” Staten said. “I’ve always been a scorer myself. But when we’re both on and scoring, it is pretty difficult to guard us—especially with the new rules that they put in because it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
Staten and Harris combined to shoot just 7-of-29 shooting during Tuesday’s loss to Virginia Tech.
Freshman Devin Williams put together his best game yet as a Mountaineer, finishing with a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He picked up that 10th and final rebound within the last minute of the game.
“I didn’t think I was going to get it,” Williams said. “I was sweating, I just had to get it. It feels good to continue on the rebounding side. I just have to be patient offensively and continue to do my job, which is rebounding.”
Williams also knocked down a couple of mid-range jumpers early in the game after being left open.
“That felt good—they were playing back off of me,” Williams said. “I wasn’t thinking about making the shots, they just felt like rhythm shots and good shots. The main thing I’m worried about is getting to the free-throw line and knocking those down.”
Overall, he went just 2-of-6 from the foul line. WVU as a team wasn’t much better, finishing the day 20-of-34 for 58.8 percent.
West Virginia guard Gary Browne, still nursing a deep thigh bruise, didn’t play on Sunday. Guard Terry Henderson, however, played a more significant role as he continues to recover from a shin injury—he finished with seven points in 27 minutes of action. One of his two 3s came during the late run that gave West Virginia breathing room.
“Terry and Juwan worked together,” said coach Bob Huggins. “Terry and Eron are very capable of making 3s and they did that. We went from being up by four to being up by 10. When you look at the scoreboard, you feel a lot more comfortable when it shows you’re up by 10. We got a couple of shots. They weren’t containing us defensively and I’m happy with that.”
WVU was outrebounded by Duquesne 39-30 and watched the Dukes (1-2) shoot 45.5 percent, putting up 83 points.
“We just have continue to guard,” Staten said. “We start picking up a lot of fouls early and that makes us tentative on the defensive end. That’s when we start giving up easy baskets. Or when we get a lead, slack off some on defense—that’s just mental. We need to step up our mental part of the game.”
WVU returns to action on Thursday from the Coliseum against Georgia Southern in preliminary game of the Cancun Challenge.