Key Stretch

West Virginia will focus on ball control and opportunistic offense against 4-1 Radford at home Saturday.

The contest is the first of a six-game home stretch where WVU does not leave West Virginia. Five of the games are at home, with only the matchup with St. Bonaventure after Radford in Charleston.

These games are key, Kevin Pittsnogle noted, because racking up wins now will keep WVU from more difficult must-win games later in Big East play.

"This is a real big stretch here," Pittsnogle said. "It would be nice to get some wins before we start really heading into conference play and against teams like N.C. State."

West Virginia is shooting close to 60 percent, but that number will likely not hold. Look for WVU to continue to try to create quick offensive points, a very different idea than in head coach John Beilein's first year, where the Mountaineers focused on a more set offensives.

"Look, we're not going to shoot 60 percent," Pittsnogle said. "A realistic goal might be 50, so if we can, we need to get some easier points with transition or three-pointers off the break."

Beilein noted that his team is beginning to realize the importance of quick transition points and running the break effectively.

"Our guys have to understand that there are times when you just have to ball it," Beilein said. "We want them looking at the rim on every possession, and f the shot clock is winding down or they have a lane, to take the shot.

"Tyrone Sally and J.D. Collins are realizing that, and Mike Gansey does a pretty good job for a first year guy."

Radford's tallest starter is a 6-8 freshman center in Josh Fox, and that could play into the inside-out game of Pittsnogle and allow D'or Fischer to control the inside in set offenses.

Darris Nichols cautioned, however, that West Virginia would run at any opportunity, even if it is what Radford wants.

"If it's there we will try to hit the outlet and run with it," Nichols said. "But this team wants to run, so if we have to play halfcourt that is fine."

The game was scheduled for Nichols because Radford, Va., is his hometown. Nichols rooted for Radford when he was very young, but the novelty wore off when the program slid downhill.

"It is a big deal in Radford, but not much outside it," he said. "I would have liked to play Virginia Tech, too. I don't know why they didn't want to play, but whatever."

Nichols will come off the bench, as Beilein said there would be no changes to the starting lineup.

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