Home crowd energy fuels Mountaineers to play better
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012 00:01
The West Virginia University Coliseum has always been known as a difficult place to leave victorious for teams not wearing the old gold and blue.
Many teams have tried to earn a victory in front of the rowdy home crowd, but few have succeeded.
In fact, the Mountaineers' men's basketball team hasn't lost more than two games at the Coliseum in a single season since Bob Huggins was named head coach five seasons ago.
Even though the trend is continuing this season, something feels different.
West Virginia may be off to a great start at the Coliseum, but there is a clear discrepancy between the team that plays at home and the one that travels to play.
Why is this the case?
"It's just that support that you get when you're out there," said West Virginia senior forward and leading scorer Kevin Jones. "Especially when you make a shot or make a big play."
Jones and the Mountaineers are 8-1 at the Coliseum, while posting a 1-2 record on the road.
Jones has been around for four seasons and knows what type of energy it takes to win on the road at the collegiate level.
Maybe a home spark is exactly what a young, inexperienced team needs to perform at a high level.
Freshman guard Jabarie Hinds sure thinks so.
"Definitely," he said. "The crowd is always in it with us and gives us the energy we need, and it really helps."
West Virginia has eight freshmen listed on the roster. And, much like Hinds, they all seem to think things aren't quite the same on the road.
The Mountaineers are averaging 78 points per game inside the Coliseum this season, while only recording 63 points per game on the road.
"At home, it's always different," Hinds said.
"Great atmosphere at the games, that means a lot to team," he said. "It's fun. It's something good to have."
Huggins and his home warriors will need to solve their road problems sooner than later. With multiple road tests awaiting the
Mountaineers in the Big East Conference, it is essential for this team to find a way to play inspired on the road.
"We just have to have the same energy on the road," Hinds said. "I think we'd be good if we could do that."