Huggins Optimistic Mountaineers will make Shots
Morgantown, WV – After shooting 7 for 21 from three-point range in the Mountaineers 81-49 drubbing of TCU Tuesday night, there is a glimmer of hope that West Virginia can start finding some consistency around the perimeter. Although shooting 33.3% from beyond the arc isn’t spectacular by any means, it is an improvement.
West Virginia hasn’t found much success from the outside this season shooting only 30.3% with freshman Deuce McBride leading the team at 40.5%.
Sean McNeil, who is currently leading the team in threes made (20), was 0 for 7 and held scoreless in the three games before Tuesday night. Subsequently, the Mountaineers shot just 26.4% from deep (12-53). in that span. However, against TCU, McNeil buried his third attempt and finished the night 2-5 from three with all eight of his points coming in the first half.
“The weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders when that first one went down,” said McNeil. “I’ve obviously been struggling to shoot the ball lately- score the ball. Nobody quit throwing me the ball. Nobody quit looking for me. Everybody told me to keep shooting. I mean, shooters continue to shoot, so thats what I did and eventually, they fell.”
“We recruited Sean because he made shots, and we went through a year where we couldn’t make shots,” said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. “We thought he was a guy that could come in and consistently give us somebody on the perimeter that they had to guard.”
“Taz (Sherman) the same way. You’re talking about the leading junior college scorer in Division II junior college, and the second-leading scorer in Division I junior college. They scored there.
“I think the hard thing is they’re trying to figure out what’s going on,” continued Huggins. “It’s hard to play and think. You really play and react; you don’t play and think. When you play well, you’re reacting. You’re reacting to what goes on because you’ve already practiced it and done it, and you understand what you do in different situations. Early in the year, those guys were thinking too much and not reacting, and now they’re starting to react. They’re starting to understand what’s asked of them, and consequently, they’re playing better. You don’t think. You don’t have time to think. You react.”
While the newcomers are continuing to find their way and having good nights in the process, Huggins sees this team being more efficient on offense and with their defense among the best in the nation, he thinks they’ll be dangerous.
“I still don’t think we shot it as well as we're capable of shooting it from the perimeter,” said Huggins. “I think when you have the guys that we have – everybody hasn’t clicked at the same time, maybe that’s good. Emmitt [Matthews] shot it really well early and in Mexico. Jordan’s had games where he’s shot it really well. Sean had the Pitt game, but he’s struggled a little bit. I guess it’s good that, up until this point, for the most part, we’ve been able to ‘ham and egg’ it pretty good as to play the hot hand. But one of these days, you know, we’re all going to start making shots, then we’re going to be really dangerous.”
West Virginia is on the road at the “Little Apple” to take on the Kansas State Wildcats Saturday at 2:00 pm on ESPNU.