Different Dukes

Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart and WVU head coach Bob Huggins are old friends. But Huggins sees a bit of a new feel from Everhart's Dukes in the early part of the 2010-11 season, as perimeter scoring and a fast-paced style have characterized the Fairmont native's team thus far.

A team that has played some low-scoring, defensive-oriented games in the past, Duquesne hasn't been gun-shy this season. Through last Sunday's games, it led the nation in 3-point field goals per game (11.3 per contest) and was 27th in the nation in long-range accuracy, hitting 40.7 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.

Both numbers only trended upwards in the Dukes' last game, an 81-71 win over Green Bay on Wednesday. Everhart and company canned another 15 3-pointers on only 24 attempts -- a staggering 62.5 percent success rate.

Thus, when Duquesne and Huggins' Mountaineers get together for a Sunday night match-up at the new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, WVU will have to be focused on playing solid perimeter defense.

That may not have been the chief concern when facing an Everhart-coached team in years past. But the longtime friend of Huggins has adapted his schemes to fit the talents of his players.

"Everybody wants to talk about a guy's system, but it's hard for a lot of people to recruit to a system," Huggins said. "You've just got to recruit the best guys you can get and then figure out what they can do and try and have them do what they can do. This year, they're shooting the 3-ball extremely well."

"[Everhart] is trying to accentuate what they do well, which is what good coaches do."

That's worked out rather well for the Dukes, who sit at 4-3 overall, with all three defeats coming in relatively competitive games with fellow Pennsylvania schools Robert Morris (69-63), Penn State (77-73) and No. 3 Pittsburgh (80-66).

Recent history hasn't been too kind to Duquesne in this series, as the Dukes' last win in the annual series with West Virginia came in an 86-82 victory in 2002. Huggins is 3-0 against the Pittsburgh-based school since taking over the Mountaineer program before the 2007 season.

But with Everhart's squad playing a bit of a different style this time around, that could change. Of course, WVU may have a few surprises in store as well, as Huggins' team played far better in an 82-49 win over Robert Morris on Tuesday night after a five-in, five-out substitution early in the second half left some of the team's regulars on the bench.

Whether those changes stick remains to be seen.

"We've got two more practices to figure that out," Huggins said.


  • Two of Huggins' upperclassmen forwards have been limited of late for different reasons, but each is attempting to work through his respective issues.

    John Flowers, the senior who re-aggravated a hip injury in the Robert Morris game that he had initially sustained in a win over American last week, practiced Thursday and, according to his Twitter account, was bound for the team's workout at the WVU Student Recreation Center on Friday afternoon.

    "I thought he was our best player yesterday," Huggins said of the Waldorf, Md., native.

    Kevin Jones wasn't so lucky, as the junior forward was limited to mostly shooting exercises in practice Thursday, according to the head coach. Huggins said on Tuesday night that Jones is "a little bit nicked up right now" and "is not running as well. He's not moving as well."

  • In the lead-up to the RMU game, Huggins joked that a reporter was being too kind when he said WVU has gotten "very little" offensive production out of its post players, Deniz Kilicli and Dan Jennings, in the early portion of the 2010-11 campaign.

    But after Jennings largely played well in his first career start against the Colonials and Kilicli scored a career-high 14 points, keying a second half run that secured the victory, Huggins expressed a bit of optimism that things might be beginning to turn around for both players.

    "I thought they were more active ... they can't just stand around," the fourth-year Mountaineer head coach said. "They've got to get involved in the fray. I thought they got themselves involved a little better. But we've still got a long, long way to go with both of them."

  • Noted in recent years for his, shall we say, unique sense of game day fashion (from an infamous mustard yellow suit with matching shoes to a ubiquitous black team-issue pullover), Huggins stunned almost every observer at the Coliseum by ditching the more casual duds of recent years and wearing a suit on the sidelines for his team's win over Robert Morris on Tuesday.

    Keeping with tradition, since his team won that game over the Colonials, the head coach said he will continue to be a bit more formal for upcoming games.

    "I'm very superstitious," the head coach said.

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