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WVU, Morehead State clash in Charleston

November 22, 2011
By John Wickline Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins looks forward to going to Charleston, and not just because the Mountaineers are 56-20 in their history at the Civic Center.

No, he said he enjoys the trip down Interstate 79 to the state capital because he rarely sees an empty seat in the house.

"It's always sold out," he said Monday prior to his team's practice for tonight's contest with Morehead State University. "Truth is, we probably should go there more. If the people aren't going to come here, we'll go to them."

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That's Huggins' way of chastising the fans for not filling up the WVU Coliseum for the Mountaineers' first three games this season. Only 8,579 ventured out to WVU's season opening win against Oral Roberts. Just 5,616 came out for the 10 a.m. game against Kent State, and only 6,059 showed up for the game against Alcorn State.

Huggins said if West Virginia University wants to consider itself among the elite program's in the nation, then the fans have to show support as happens at those same schools.

"In Lawrence, Kan., they always put 18,000 people in the stands," he said. "If they played during Thanksgiving dinner in Kentucky, they would still fill the place. They plan around it."

Morehead State enters the 7 p.m. game with a 1-2 record, having snapped a two-game skid with a 100-48 win over Asbury.

The Eagles went to the third round of the NCAA tournament a year ago and finished 25-10. The senior-laden team is led by guard Terrance Hill, who is averaging 13.3 points per game.

"It seems like they're an organized team," WVU senior forward Kevin Jones said. "They're real smart on the court, so we can't hand them the ball."

WVU, however, is much younger and has been plagued by critical turnovers in the early-going.

"It's not that we have too many freshmen," Huggins said. "We have to depend on too many."

The veteran coach said the new players have to learn that the tricks they used to be successful in high school probably will not work in the Big East Conference.

"They have a hard time understanding that you do all of your work before you get the ball," he said. "It takes some time to understand that.

"They are used to somebody handing them the ball and then getting a bucket."

The Mountaineers are led by Jones, who is scoring at a 21.3 per game pace and pulling down 13 rebounds a night. Deniz Kilicli is averaging 10.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, and Darryl "Truck" Bryant is scoring 15.7 points per game.

Tuesday's game will be televised by The Big East Conference Network. Former Mountaineer great and newly minted WVU Athletic Hall of Famer Warren Baker will provide the commentary for the game.



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