MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Forget those trap game worries.

West Virginia showed no hangover from its loss to No. 10 Wisconsin—and refused to look ahead to Thursday’s game at Missouri—by building a 27-point halftime lead on Loyola-Maryland and coasting to a 96-47 victory at the Coliseum.

“We know that we had no other choice but to come out and compete, and we did that,” said Remi Dibo, who scored a game-high 19 points off the bench. “They only lost by 10 (at UConn), so we thought we had a good team to play against today.”

Perhaps West Virginia (6-2) caught the Greyhounds (4-2) on an off night, but Monday’s game was a runaway after WVU jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first three minutes. Dibo led the Mountaineers to a 46-15 edge in bench scoring. The French forward made 5-of-7 shots from 3-point range—several of them uncontested—even though Loyola’s staff emphasized the need to defend the perimeter.

Boxscore: WVU 96, Loyola 47

“You look at the scouting report and you know he’s a shooter,” said Greyhounds coach G.G. Smith. “But we just lost him in transition and he got way too many open looks.”

West Virginia made 13-of-22 from 3-point range, including 2-of-2 by Terry Henderson (16 points) and 3-of-4 by Nate Adrian (11 points). Kevin Noreen made his only long-distance jumper and shot 5-of-5 on his way to 13 points. Barely anyone noticed that the team’s top threats, Eron Harris and Juwan Staten, combining to shoot 6-of-23.

“We scored 96 points and Eron Harris wasn’t very good and Juwan didn’t score near as well as he’s been scoring,” said coach Bob Huggins. “It’s nice to be able to win like that without those two having some of their better games.”

Though Staten scored a season-low four points (14 below his average), the point guard hustled into the lane to grab a game-best 10 rebounds—part of West Virginia’s unbelievable 62-22 edge on the boards.

“When you get beat 62-22 on the boards it is embarrassing,” Smith said. “Our big men were slow to the ball. They beat us to every ball. They were by far the toughest and best rebounding team we will play this year.”

Loyola’s first-year coach may not have realized West Virginia out-rebounded only two of its previous seven opponents. For this game, at least, the Mountaineers were dominant on the glass as Adrian (nine rebounds), Noreen (eight) Devin Williams (seven), Harris (seven) and Brandon Watkins (six) were active on every missed shot.

There were plenty of those for Loyola, which made 33 percent from the floor (19-of-56) and 4-of-17 from deep. Dylon Cormier, the nation’s No. 2 scorer at 28.4 per game, was held to 11 points under close hounding from WVU’s Harris.

“He is averaging 28 points a game and took just seven shots in 32 minutes of play,” Smith said. “He needs to shoot the ball more.”


HARRIS COOLS OFF
WVU led 47-20 despite its leading scorer going 1-of-8 shooting in the first half. He made two 3-pointers after intermission and wound up 4-of-13 overall for 14 points.

“I used to get frustrated and when I started to miss shots and I’d put my head down,” Harris said. “But now I try to smile. I know what type of shooter I am and I know that people have bad nights. I just wanted to keep shooting until it makes.”

FREE THROWS FALLING
After making only 62 percent of its free throws this season—and just 6-of-14 in a 70-63 loss to Wisconsin—West Virginia sank 19-of-22 against Loyola. That included a string of 13 straight to open the game.

HUGGINS CLIMBS RANKS
After win No. 729 on Monday, Huggins stands tied for 16th all-time with Norm Stewart and Jerry Tarkanian.

“I’ve got great respect for Coach Stewart,” he said. “The job that he did at Missouri is just phenomenal. They have everything they have there to a large degree because of Norm Stewart. Their arena is absolutely state-of-the-art. It is one heck of a place and they have a great following.

“Tark has been like a grandfather or an uncle to me. When I was just a young coach, he kind of took me under his wing. He has been absolutely phenomenal to me, and has given me a lot of advice—both X’s and O-wise and about our business in general.”

EMPTY SEATS
Only 4,692 fans turned out for Monday night’s game, supplanting the Nov. 23 win over Presbyterian (5,067) as the smallest home crowd of the Huggins era.

“We’ve got great fans—there’s just 4,000 of them, that’s all,” Huggins said. “A lot of people have 16,000 of them. I’m happy with the people that came.”

Even with a team averaging better than 85 points per game, the atmosphere in the Coliseum has been lacking. Blame the holidays or a few non-descript opponents, but WVU fans have been slow to return after last season’s 13-19 record.

“I keep hearing this team’s exciting,” Huggins said. “It must not be exciting enough.”


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Comments

  • neil

    I would love to go to any games, but funding. anybody want to donate any tickets.

  • Woodchuck

    The lady Mountaineers won last. Just in case anyone cares.

  • MM

    It's funny that WVU "fans" act like it's such a curse to donate to the MAC. Do you not understand that by donating to the MAC you are donating to WVU's athletic scholarships?

    With out that WVU doesn't play in these games!

    If someone wants to donate more and sit closer, shouldn't they have that right?

  • 5toldU1s

    I'm the first in line for games in Charleston and make at least a couple of big games in Mtown but believe it or not there are other priorities in my life besides WVU basketball. Love 'em but just can't go to every game! Love 'em though! Strikes me as a hungry team with a chip on their collective shoulder. And like Coach Huggs said: exciting...

  • Tim C

    Great job guys......you are starting to come together.....

  • GFS

    Unless I missed some other comment. Did anyone notice the box scores had Kevin Noreen at 100% 5 for 5 from the floor. 2 for 2 free throws and 1 for 1 three pointers. 13 points 8 rebounds. 2 more rebounds and he would have a double double game. Wow. Good for him. The others looked great too. but 100% Oh and he had only one foul. Not too shabby.

  • RJ

    So good to see the excitement of winning 6 games against "powerhouse" competition the likes of Loyola WOW! Huggs & Luck needs to get the cupcake teams coming. We will see how good they are when they meet Missouri and other Big 12 teams. They are winning!!!

    • Carl White

      Missouri isn't in the Big 12 anymore sir.

      • RJ

        I'm well aware of that SIR! I made a typographical error. "OTHER" should have been "THE."

    • stevewvu

      That's better than losing to Morehead St., Stephen F. Austin, East Tennessee St you no good Marshall troll!

      • RJ

        Wrong!!! No Herd boy here or Pitt! Just not overly optimistic, we will be a good team next year but will have to lose in the growing process. Go Mountaineer's.

    • wes2003

      Troll hard.

  • squad

    let me just say that I have no use for poseur wvu fans who don't show up for the games for whatever reason they can invent this week. let me say it straight. we have good team this year and people ought to get their sorry asses into the seats. one bad year and now, this. boy that speaks volumes about what loser fans we have. wvu fans should be ashamed of their lack of attendance this year. there's absolutely no excuse for it and I don't want to even hear it. shut up and go.

    • wes2003

      People that live in Charleston, Parkersburg, Wheeling, etc and work 9-5 jobs might not be able to devote 4-6 hours drive time to make it to Morgantown for a Tuesday, 7PM tip against the Loyolas of the world.

      If WVU was located in Charleston, there would 10K plus at every game.

      • Mister Man

        Yup.

    • Rick S.

      Squad, were you at the game last night?

  • Jay

    William? William?

    Bueller? Bueller?

  • blugldmn

    Huggs and Luck need to decide which is more important selling tickets well in advance to corporations or putting fans in the coliseum seats...

  • tw eagle

    it certainly is different from last year . . .

    BUT , coach Huggins , you need a couple of doctors to examine these Mountaineers . . .

    there are some players who can bomb from almost mid-court , and then you got a few
    players who can't lay it in from 3 feet . . .

    do these guys need a psycho doctor , or an
    eye doctor ?

    if you're afraid of getting stuffed when inside ,
    and you alter your shot - USE THE GLASS .

  • 4WVUinKY

    That's what I'm talkin' bout! These boys are awesome. Out of state now but wish I could attend the games. Best of guys...stay focused and prove the naysayers wrong! Go eers!

  • polarbear

    Black out the games in Morgantown unless its sold out, and the place will be packed. Back in the 80's if you wanted to see a game you had to go.

  • wvrefugee

    It's called re-seating Allan! All those empty seats are "sold" to so-called "big MAC donors" but 90% live so far away they can only make weekend games, maybe. I predicted this when Luck started this process. Mid-week games, even against a Kansas team, will not be packed because of this. Luck got his money......where are the fans??? Maybe they were at the FB game.....no that's not it! Ask Luck those tough questions Allan!

    • Aaron

      If that's the case then why isn't Huggins pushing Luck to have those "MAC Donors" donate their tickets to locals who would otherwise attend.


      Maybe it's a simple as West Virginia fans are fickle fare weather fans who only support the teams and University when things are going good?

      • Rick S.

        Aaron, were you at the game last night?

        • Aaron

          No, I was not. I live in Putnam County at the current time so I only get to weekend games.

          What about you? Were you at the game Rick?

    • GoEers

      Do you have proof that 90% of the so called big donors live so far away?

      In what cities or states do they all live in? I am sure that you have a list ,or are you just another one of those jealous Marshall trolls that reads an entire article about WVU in order to find something neagative to post about?

  • Steve

    Hey Dana, can you hear Huggy now? This is how you turn around a team.