College men

WVU’s Huggins looking for solutions

The Associated Press

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins grew tired of a lack of commitment from his players in a season that has been sour since it began, so he sent them a message by giving a freshman walk-on his first start in a Big 12 road game.

The move didn’t last long, but Huggins is making it clear what happens when some athletes give effort and others don’t. Guard Taevon Horton started Saturday at Texas as a reward for being the only player in the gym before the start of practice.

Huggins has tinkered with his lineups and tried to coax more from an experienced but mistake-prone roster. Not much is working at the moment. The Mountaineers (8-6, 0-2 Big 12) have lost two straight as they prepare to play at Kansas State (10-4, 0-2) on Wednesday night.

“We need to win bad for a lot of reasons,” Huggins said Tuesday.

Press Virginia is gone. The Mountaineers have committed far more turnovers than they have forced. They’re giving up the most points in the league and are next-to-last in scoring margin.

The graduation of the guard tandem of two-time league defensive player of the year Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. left a huge void and Huggins is still looking for someone who can consistently run the offense. James “Beetle” Bolden was looked upon at the start of the season as a main ballhandler but he’s been battling a hand injury and has had a bench role of late.

Huggins tells his players to make 100 free throws daily in practice, although he acknowledged he’s skeptical of the final count. He knows it doesn’t always translate over to games. The Mountaineers shot 56 percent from the line in a close loss to Texas Tech in their league opener last week.

From the field, West Virginia’s 42.4 shooting percentage is next-to-last in the Big 12, just ahead of Kansas State’s 42 percent.

The Associated Press