West Virginia beats Duquesne, 96-83

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A steady downpour of 3-pointers and career days from West Virginia backcourt tandem Eron Harris and Juwan Staten drowned Duquesne in a 96-83 final Sunday afternoon at WVU Coliseum.

The high-flying, hot-shooting Mountaineers (2-1) drilled 10 of 18 shots from 3-point range, mimicking a blueprint set by New Hampshire, which hit 15 from beyond the arc to topple the Dukes (1-2) four days earlier.

Harris led all scorers with 33 points, and Staten added 28 points and nine assists.

West Virginia pulled away late in the second half with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers by Harris and guard Terry Henderson, the last coming with 3:24 left to turn a 75-71 score into a double-digit differential.

The nine-point swing effectively put the Dukes away, though they'd perhaps already come unglued, stalling midway through the second half with a six-minute drought without a field goal.

Second-year Duquesne coach Jim Ferry called the game a "complete opposite" from last year's meeting, a 60-56 Dukes victory in Pittsburgh between "two teams that were really bad and couldn't score."

"It's funny," Ferry said Sunday, "I watched our game last year and it was brutal -- just brutal. We won because I guess somebody had to. They were bad; we were bad."

Both programs have undergone facelifts, bringing in more than a handful of new pieces to put a legitimate offense on the court. But the similarities extend beyond offenses to a pair of defenses in need of serious improvement.

"We want a hundred!" a tiny voice squeaked from near the top of the WVU Coliseum's cavernous bowl. There were still 90 seconds on the clock and the Mountaineers seemed hell-bent on reaching the century mark.

They fell short in the end, but that was hardly consolation for a Duquesne team that has allowed 75, 84 and 96 points in its three games.

"They outplayed us today," senior forward Ovie Soko said, shaking his head.

Soko led the Dukes with a 19-point, 12-rebound effort, his second double-double of the year and a bounce-back performance after he had shot 4 for 17 against New Hampshire.

Sophomore guard Micah Mason added 18 points on a near-perfect shooting performance -- 6 of 8 from the floor with five 3-pointers.

The Dukes never held the lead beyond the 15-minute mark of the first half, but they rallied with a four-point play by Mason in the closing seconds of the half to pull within six points, 49-43, at the break.

Mason's 3-pointer five minutes into the second half knotted the score at 59, but that's as far as the Duquesne comeback would go.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins opened his post game news conference by calling out his team for being unprepared, and he pointed to Mason's performance as evidence.

"I went into the locker room and I asked, 'How many of you guys picked up and read the scouting report other than what the coaches spoon-fed you?' " Huggins said. "Five guys raised their hands -- all five returning guys. 'How many of you watched the scouting on your iPads?' Same guys.

"That's why we have a four-point play at the end of the half. That was a newcomer [Mason, a transfer from Drake] who was the leading 3-point shooter in the Missouri Valley Conference a year ago -- you'd better find him."

First Published November 17, 2013 8:20 PM

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