Injuries Force WVU to Experiment With Depth

For a West Virginia team that is coming into the 2013-14 season without a ton of depth to begin with, injuries could provide a devastating blow for the Mountaineers once they start Big 12 Conference play.

And while Fairmont State isn't like many of the teams West Virginia will face the rest of the season, WVU did have to dig deep into its bench in Monday's 89-70 win over the Falcons in its exhibition at the Coliseum.

With starting guard Terry Henderson missing the game with shin inflammation and Remi Dibo playing the final couple of minutes and has been limited by a knee injury after having surgery a few weeks ago, the Mountaineers were limited by injuries. Throw in the eligibility issues of Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon, and West Virginia found itself down to just eight scholarship players available for the game.

"We're talking to each other, we love each other, we've got each other's backs," said sophomore Eron Harris. "We're still learning each other. As the season goes on, we'll learn each other some more and our chemistry's at 100 pretty soon."

With just three healthy guards playing, freshman guard Chase Connor was the lone walk-on to see playing time - playing 18 minutes and scoring three points.

Huggins said after the game that he did not believe that Henderson's injury would force him to miss Friday's season opener against Mount St. Mary's.

Morgantown native Adrian makes presence felt

The last time the West Virginia basketball team had a Morgantown native on scholarship was Jay Jacobs, who played with the Mountaineers in the late 1950s.

In Monday's exhibition win against Fairmont State, Nathan Adrian got the chance to live out his dream of running down the carpet at the Coliseum as he got the start with Henderson sidelined with his injury.

"I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be actually," Adrian said. "I was a little nervous obviously, but that was just because it was my first game in a long time. After the game started going, I calmed down."

Adrian took advantage of his chance, scoring 21 points, including six shots from beyond the arc, to help lead the Mountaineers to the victory. He also added three rebounds, two blocks and three steals.

Plenty of fouls in exhibition

With the new NCAA rules in place this year, a lot of talk throughout the preseason has centered around how the rule changes will affect the way and the frequency that fouls are called.

Those changes definitely showed up in WVU's win against Fairmont State, as the officials charged the two teams for a combined 63 fouls. Of those, 40 went against the Falcons and five FSU players left the game early after fouling out.

While it didn't hurt West Virginia's already diminished depth much, the Mountaineers were still called for 23 fouls and freshman Brandon Watkins left the game with his fifth foul late in the second half.

"I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half," Huggins said. "(The officials) have so much pressure on them to make sure that it's a block. When you put that much emphasis on watching the guy guarding the ball, guys get away with travels because they're not watching feet anymore. This thing will eventually shake out to where it works and they can watch both."

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