Cold shooting surprises Huggins in preseason scrimmage

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — While 3-point shooting is expected to become a strength for West Virginia’s basketball team, Friday night’s preseason scrimmage was marked by misfires.

The squads combined to make only 6-of-37 from 3-point range as the Blue claimed a 41-32 victory in a scrimmage trimmed to 30 minutes. Even last year’s top perimeter shooters, Eron Harris and Terry Henderson, struggled to go 1-of-9 from long distance and 8-for-30 overall.

About 4,000 fans were on hand for the scrimmage, which followed a two-hour practice. The teams combined for 30-percent shooting and nearly as many turnovers (25) as baskets (30).

“That’s not very good,” said coach Bob Huggins, whose seventh West Virginia team opens the season in three weeks against Mount St. Mary’s.

“I was a little surprised we didn’t make more shots, The one thing we’ve done pretty consistently is make shots, open shots, in practice. We really have made shots.”

Junior college signee Jonathan Holton, on the floor for 27 minutes, scored 11 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. His academic eligibility for this season remains questionable. The 6-foot-7 forward has yet to graduate from Palm Beach (Fla.) Community College, according to a report Friday in The Dominion Post, which could force him to redshirt this season.

Remi Dibo, a 6-9 junior college signee who can stretch defenses with his outside shooting, was on crutches during player introductions and could miss at least two weeks with a leg injury, Huggins said.

Harris finished with nine points on 4-of-16 shooting and seven rebounds for the Gold squad, never leaving the floor. Henderson played 29 minutes for the Blue team and was 4-of-14 for nine points, with five boards. He committed five turnovers against four assists, but Huggins expects the two sophomores to be more productive once they’re in the lineup together, as opposed to the ragged nature of an intersquad game.

“When you spread your team out that way, you don’t look near as good as you’re going to look if you put guys together who know how to play together,” Huggins said. “We’re not as bad as we look.”

Morgantown High product Nathan Adrian, who received one of the largest pregame cheers, shot 4-of-10 and scored 10 points. Unable to capitalize on open looks, the 6-9 freshman went 2-of-8 from 3-point range.

“I really think we’re going to make shots,” Huggins said. “Terry, Eron and Nate—those guys shoot it too well.”

As for the dueling point guards, Gary Browne had nine points, 12 rebounds, six assists, one turnover and four steals for the Blue team. Juwan Staten netted eight points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and two turnovers for the Gold.

The remainder of WVU’s preseason schedule includes a closed scrimmage against Ohio State next week and an exhibition game against Division II Fairmont State on Nov. 4.

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