WVU looks to bounce back from loss with road test against No. 4 Syracuse
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Updated: Friday, January 27, 2012 09:01
The West Virginia men's basketball team was run off the court in Madison Square Garden by St. John's Wednesday.
It has a tougher task tomorrow, though – a road date with No. 4 Syracuse.
"We didn't look all that excited about playing (against St. John's)," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "Maybe we have been worse before, but I cant remember when we've been worse defensively."
Syracuse (21-1, 8-1 Big East) comes in as the Big East's top team, and if it weren't for a road loss to Notre Dame, it could be the nation's top team, as well.
But, it gets worse.
The Mountaineers (15-6, 5-3 Big East) haven't won against Syracuse inside the Carrier Dome since Dec. 4, 1996, and they've won just twice this millennium.
"We have to get a whole lot better in a short period of time, or it will be a long night for us on Saturday," Huggins said.
The Orange are led by a pair of double-figure scorers and seven players averaging more than seven points.
Senior Kris Joseph is averraging 13.7 points per game, while sophomore Dion Waiters is scoring 12.5 points.
The team is No. 24 in the nation, averaging eight points per game, while the Mountaineers are scoring just 7.5 points.
The Orange are allowing their opponents just 60 points this year on only 38.3 percent shooting. The opposing teams are averaging 18 turnovers per game.
"I think they're terrific. They score so much off of their defense, and it's like they're constantly running downhill at you. We're going to have to do a much better job with ball security," Huggins said. "They have a lot of players, and (head coach Jim Boeheim) does a great job of putting them in positions where they can be successful."
Senior Kevin Jones is coming off of his 14th double-double game of the season and is averaging 20.9 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.
Boeheim also said that despite his recent struggles, West Virginia senior Truck Bryant is also a player his Orange will have to key in on.
Bryant is second on the team with 17.4 points per game, but is 6-for-29 from the field, including a 3-for-16 mark from 3-point range.
"He's been a good player since he got there," Boeheim said. "He started out doing good things, and he's continued to do good things. He's been one of the best backcourt players over an extended period of time."
Boeheim said that there wasn't any more importance in Saturday's game against West Virginia, even though he said "West Virginia is always a tough game.
"Every game in the Big East is important because it's so close in the league," Boeheim said. "You just can't value one game over the other. Every game is a big game, and you have to be prepared every night."
Syracuse has regained some momentum after falling to an un-ranked Notre Dame team Saturday.
The Orange defeated Cincinnati 60-53 on the road.
Tip-off for Saturday's game is scheduled for 1 p.m.