West Virginia University coach Bob Huggins hopes for a better result in New Jersey tonight when he takes his basketball team into the Rutgers Athletic Center for a Big East Conference clash.
WVU, 10-4 overall and 1-1 in the Big East, is coming off a road loss to Seton Hall last week in a game Huggins said the Mountaineers showed no spark.
"We just didn't have any energy, for whatever reason," he said. "We came out flat. We didn't defend. We were inept offensively. That was about as bad as we
have been offensively. We never got it going from the beginning."
Rutgers, 8-6 overall and 0-1 in the Big East, comes into the game after
upsetting No. 10 Florida in double overtime. The Scarlet Knights are led by freshman guard Eli Carter, who is averaging nearly 14 points per game.
"That was who they went to at the end of the Florida game," Huggins said. "If he wasn't the (go-to) guy before, he's become that."
Sophomore forward Gilvydas Biruta is averaging 10.9 points per game and 5.6 rebounds. Junior guard Dane Miller chips in seven points and 5.5 rebounds a night.
"Lately, their guards have played really well," Huggins said. "They have made some big shots for them. Rutgers has done a better job of rebounding,
particularly at the offensive end. That can be a challenge for us."
That will put an additional burden on WVU forwards Kevin Jones, who sprained his ankle in the loss to Seton Hall, and Deniz Kilicli, who was kicked in the stomach during that game. Jones is averaging 11.4 rebounds per contest, to go along with his 20 points per game. Kilicli is yanking down about six missed shots per game, and he is averaging 10.9 points per game.
"Deniz hasn't reached his ceiling," Huggins said. "He's worlds better than
what he was. But sometimes having great potential becomes a great burden. He's gotten so much better at the defensive end.
He's rebounding the ball, but we think he can do so much more."
The game will be televised on Root Sports, and it tips off about an hour before the WVU football team takes on Clemson in the Orange Bowl on ESPN. The Mountaineer Sports Network will carry the football game on WBRB-FM in Buckhannon, WELK-FM in Elkins, WELD-FM in Fisher, WNMP in Marlinton and WQWV-FM in Petersburg.
The basketball game will be broadcast on MSN affiliates WBTQ-FM in Buckhannon, WDNE-FM in Elkins, WELD-AM in Fisher and WQWV-FM in Petersburg.