MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Returning from the Cancun Challenge with a runners-up trophy after a 70-63 loss to No. 10 Wisconsin didn’t satisfy West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.

“I really honestly thought we could win it,” he said.

WVU (5-2) made 23 field goals to Wisconsin’s 22 only to see the Badgers exploit a decisive edge at the foul line—making 15-of-17 to counter West Virginia’s 6-of-16.

“I would never imagine as well as we shoot the ball that we couldn’t make free throws,” Huggins said Sunday before his team practiced at the Coliseum.

With Eron Harris pouring in 27 points on 7-of-11 shooting from 3-point range, the Mountaineers twice had chances late to make it a one-possession game against Wisconsin.

“We were within four points twice and we didn’t execute,” Harris said. “(Wisconsin) went down and hit big shots because they executed. They had more veterans on the floor that have played in big games.

Wedged between the Wisconsin loss and Thursday’s marquee game at Missouri sits Monday night’s home matchup against Loyola-Maryland, a newcomer to the Patriot League.

Averaging a team-high 21.1 points per game, Harris has been aggressive in his sophomore season—not only as a scorer but also with his off-the-court assertions. He told teammates to overcome the timidity they showed in tight situations against Wisconsin.

“They’re a top-10 team because they hit big shots down the stretch, got big stops and got the win,” Harris said. “But to me, we’re a top-10 team too.”

Tipoff: 7 p.m. in Morgantown (Root SportsTV)
Record: The Greyhounds (4-1) suffered their first loss last Tuesday at No. 13 UConn 76-66. All four victories came by single digits, including overtime decisions against Cornell (93-89) Maryland-Baltimore County (89-83).
Coach: First-year coach G.G. Smith, the son of Tubby Smith, spent the past six seasons as a Loyola assistant under Jimmy Patsos, who left for Sienna.
Top players: 6-foot-3 guard Dylon Cormier has been a double-digit scorer the past two years, but as a senior he has taken it to another level, averaging 28.4 points. He also leads Loyola with 7.4 rebounds. “Our coaches told us he takes a lot of bad shots. He’s going to hit some, he’s going to miss some,” said Harris, who plans on guarding Cormier initially. … 6-7 swingman Jarred Jones (12.8 points, 5.8 rebounds) shoots better than 57 percent from the floor.
WVU roster notes: Terry Henderson, after being sidelined by a shin injury, is hungry to regain a prominent role after going 0-for-2 from the floor in 10 minutes against Wisconsin. “I’m just excited to be back and getting back into shape,” he said. “I was so excited coming into this year and then that injury came … I give us another shooter, another athletic wing that’s going to run the floor, another winner.”
Prediction: West Virginia 79-72

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  • J the C

    I love virtually everything about this team. They shoot, run, rebound and play very aggressive defense, If only they could shoot from the foul line...excuse me, 19 of 22 tonight.

  • mark

    Listen to the interviews with Harris and Henderson. These guys have the right priorities and attitudes. Well-spoken gentlemen who are a credit to WVU.

  • Billy

    I like this team too. I also like the way Huggins has been teaching the players in game. He seems more into making the team better than screaming like last year. This could be the teams greatest asset this year moving foward.

  • shawn

    I love these kids attitudes. Its good to see the business approach.

  • Joe

    Man....I love the confidence and assertion of Harris and Henderson!