Team wants win for Huggins
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 00:12
When West Virginia head basketball coach Bob Huggins returned to Cincinnati in 2009 for the first time since departing in 2005, his team fell in the final minutes.
Senior Truck Bryant, who said the team tried too hard, doesn't want that to happen again when Huggins plays Kansas State Thursday for the first time since leaving in 2007.
"I want to go there and get him a win," Bryant said. "That's definitely something I'm looking forward to. It still means something to him."
Huggins said Thursday's game will be nothing like the reunion at Fifth Third Arena in 2009, during which Cincinnati played a pregame tribute video that brought Huggins to tears.
"This is going to be in Wichita, which is 130 miles from Manhattan," Huggins said. "It's not playing at (KSU on-campus basketball arena) Bramlage (Coliseum)."
West Virginia junior Deniz Kilicli said Huggins has been more fired up leading up to Thursday's game.
"When we played Cincinnati, he would always be more fired up and everything," Kilicli said. "He had a three-day preparation time. We would just go so hard because he would make us go really hard. He would be nervous. It's the same way right now."
Not all on the freshmen
Huggins also said the freshmen couldn't be blamed for Saturday's 75-62 loss against Mississippi State.
He said the experienced guys didn't do what they were supposed to do.
He was talking about the poor shooting from Bryant and fellow senior Kevin Jones.
The two shot a combined 11-for-31 from the field, including a 1-of-12 mark from 3-point range.
"My dad told me a long time ago that a good shot is one that goes in," he said. "We had open shots. We didn't shoot contested shots at all."
Bryant took responsibility for the poor shooting and said it's something he and Jones must improve on.
"We had the shots; we just have to make them now," he said. "Honestly, we just really need the game to come to us and make open shots. That's what all the good teams have going."
NCAA Tournament on their minds
Huggins said, unlike some coaches, he talks to his team about the NCAA tournament every day.
Why? He wants his team to know where they're at and what has to happen.
Huggins also said scheduling tough teams doesn't do anything if you lose.
"I might rethink that after this week," he said. "Everyone says, ‘play a great schedule, you'll be rewarded.' You're rewarded when you win. There's nothing rewarding about losing."