Offense shines in Gold team’s 94-80 victory
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 09:10
The West Virginia men’s basketball team took the court in Friday night’s Gold and Blue Debut at the Coliseum for the first time since its loss to Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament.
"I think we’re to the point where these guys understand what it means to run out here with West Virginia across their chest," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggnis. "They know they’re not just representing themselves and their families anymore, they’re not just representing this University anymore – they’re representing the people of this great state."
In the Gold team’s 94-80 victory, the Mountaineers put on an offensive display they struggled to show at times throughout last season.
Senior forward Deniz Kilicli led the way for the Gold team, scoring a game-high 26 points, while sophomore guard Jabarie Hinds added 23 of his own.
The offensive showcase was a big difference from last season, and Huggins said it just comes from an off-season’s worth of experience from the young Mountaineer team.
"Believe it or not, we look really good running offense when nobody’s guarding us. Our execution is pretty good, we know what we’re doing," Huggins said. "We weren’t any good at running it with no defense last year. Nobody knew what they were doing."
A big part of West Virginia’s success offensively came from the strong play of its guards.
With Hinds and sophomores Juwan Staten and Gary Browne, the Mountaineers have three point guards with experience running an offense on this year’s team, and Huggins is expecting them to all play big roles this season. And they didn’t disappoint in Friday’s scrimmage.
Hinds added seven rebounds and three assists to go along with his 23 points, and Browne scored 11 points with eight assists.
Staten, who will be eligible to play this season after sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules, scored 14 points and had eight assists, but turned over the ball just once.
"It’s going to be real good (with three point guards). We’re all really comfortable whenever we have the ball in our hands," Hinds said. "Whoever gets it, we’ll be able to push it up the court and make things happen. It’s going to be real exciting."
Following the scrimmage, Huggins was pleased with the play of all of his guards, which includes freshmen Eron Harris and Terry Henderson, who combined to score 29 points for the Blue team.
"I like our guards. I think our guards have a chance to be pretty good," Huggins said. "When you think about how three of those guys have three years left and two of those guys have four years left, they can do some good things."
Senior forward Matt Humphrey and junior big man Aaric Murray also made their debut Friday night.
Although he scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Murray struggled Friday night as the La Salle transfer also committed eight fouls to go along with six turnovers.
"Aaric Murray’s trying to find his way," Huggins said. "Aaric’s problem, quite honestly, is that he broke his hand (last year), so he’s more like Matt (Humphrey) than he is like (Staten).
"Aaric (Murray) didn’t shoot it well today, but Aaric’s very capable of shooting it, which stretches the defense a little bit."
After struggling shooting the ball from the outside last year, West Virginia looked improved Friday night. The Mountaineers made 12 shots from the three-point range, including a game-best three from Hinds.
"I was happy for Jabarie (Hinds). He’s a guy who was in the gym; he was in the gym all summer. He made shots, and he can manufacture some shots," Huggins said.
The Mountaineers open their season Nov. 6 with an exhibition against Glenville State before a Nov. 12 matchup in Spokane, Wash., against Gonzaga.