On a roll, West Virginia hosts Youngstown State

Local Sports

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins will square off against yet another familiar face Wednesday night when his Mountaineers host Youngstown State in Morgantown, W.V.

Two years after their last meeting, which was a 75-64 West Virginia victory in Youngstown, Huggins will match wits with former assistant Jerrod Calhoun, marking the latest matchup for Huggins against a familiar foe. West Virginia this month has dispatched Radford, coached by former WVU player Darris Nichols, and UAB, with longtime Huggins assistant Andy Kennedy.

The Mountaineers (10-1) are one of the hottest teams in the country, winning seven straight and closing in on entering the AP Top 25 poll behind standout defensive play. The disruptive defense has forced opponents to turn the ball over on over 27.2 percent of their possessions — the fourth-best rate among Division I teams.

On Saturday, they earned a 65-59 road win over UAB while being led again by Taz Sherman (17 points) and Sean McNeil (12 points). But Huggins said on his radio show Monday night that he wants to see better ball movement and rebounding moving forward.

“We dribble too much,” Huggins said. “We need to dribble less and pass the ball more. Our rebounding also needs to get better. That’s going to be our Achilles’ heel this season if it doesn’t improve.”

Youngstown State (7-3) is coming off an 83-54 home win over Westminster (Pa.). Calhoun has led the Penguins to two straight winning seasons, and a third appears to be in store for a team with a strong defensive mentality.

“I think (Huggins) is one of the best defensive coaches in the country, so you learn so much from him,” Calhoun said.

This sets up to be a low-scoring affair because the Penguins are allowing just 65.6 points per game — the second-best mark in the Horizon League behind IUPUI. Michael Akuchie leads the way offensively, averaging 13.5 points per contest.

West Virginia leads the all-time series, which dates to 1942, 6-0.

–Field Level Media

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