A collection of notes and observations from the Gold team's 94-80 win over the Blue at Friday night's intrasquad scrimmage:
The Gold squad sprinted out to a 52-36 lead by halftime and cruised from there. It consisted of Dominique Rutledge, Jabarie Hinds, Aaron Brown, Deniz Kilicli, Gary Browne, Aric Dickerson and Keaton Miles.
The Blue squad featured considerably less experience, with a lineup of Juwan Staten, Terry Henderson, Matt Humphrey, Aaric Murray, Kevin Noreen, Eron Harris and Richard Romeo.
Ukranian center Volodymyr Gerun did not participate in the event as WVU waits for word on his eligibility from the NCAA.
Guards Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne looked much more comfortable running the offense than they did as true freshmen a year ago. Hinds had 23 points, seven rebounds, five steals and three assists. Browne added 11 points and eight assists.
"Those guys are all better than they were last year," coach Bob Huggins said.
If West Virginia is to run the floor as Huggins has said it will, the big men will have to prove themselves capable of doing so. At least for one game, it looked like Deniz Kilicli is ready for the quicker pace. On multiple occasions in the first half, he ran ahead of the pack on fast breaks and was ready to receive passes.
Kilicli also made a couple of nice power moves in traffic, powering through multiple defenders at one point for a reverse layup. Huggins said Kilicli is in the best shape of his life, and it showed on Friday. Kilicli had 26 points and nine rebounds.
It admittedly was just an intrasquad scrimmage, but Boston College transfer Matt Humphrey looked like a player capable of making an immediate impact. The senior displayed a nice mix of skills, including what may be the best 3-point stroke on the team and an ability to slash to the basket when given the opportunity.
The senior finished with 23 points, three steals and two assists.
Transfer C Aaric Murray struggled in his debut for WVU fans. He committed six fouls in the first 30 minutes of action (obviously, players weren't disqualified for finishing with five or more as they would be in a normal game) and scored only one point for his troubles.
He didn't add his first field goal until fewer than six minutes remained. He did make a 3-pointer in the late minutes to finish with 12 points, but he also had six turnovers and eight fouls.
Huggins had indicated in previous interviews with reporters that he believed this team would be better at making jump shots than others in recent Mountaineer history. If Friday night's showing was any indication, he may be right.
Combining the two teams, West Virginia shot 8-of-19 from 3-point range in the first half, or 42.1 percent. There were only three games last season in which WVU shot that well or better -- wins over DePaul and Rutgers and an overtime loss to Baylor. The Mountaineers finished the game 12-of-39 from beyond the arc.
Before the scrimmage began, the team's recruiting video was played and team staffers were introduced. Perhaps the loudest cheer of the night -- with the lone exception of that which greeted Huggins -- was reserved for Da'Sean Butler, who is back in Morgantown as a graduate assistant with the program.
Huggins was introduced by a lengthy video detailing all of his accomplishments. He came out to mid-court and took a microphone to address fans, again hammering away at the fact the team was picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Big 12.
"I just want to tell everybody we got picked sixth in the Big 12," Huggins said. A chorus of boos followed. "That's what I thought too," the head coach added.
He pointed to a difficult schedule he indicated should excited fans ("If you've been under a rock somewhere, we're playing a great schedule.") and expressed optimism about his team's chances this season.
"The guys are playing with a lot more enthusiasm than we did a year ago ... you have no idea how much better that makes me feel," he quipped.