West Virginia wants more aggressive rebounding vs. Radford

Local Sports

West Virginia has been comfortable for the most part in home games this season.

On Saturday, the visiting team in Morgantown, W.Va., will be Radford, which has a coach who has had many memorable days at WVU Coliseum.

It’s a homecoming for Darris Nichols, a former West Virginia standout who finished his collegiate playing career in 2008. He played under coaches John Beilein and Bob Huggins for the Mountaineers.

“He was great to coach,” said Huggins, who remains as the West Virginia coach.

West Virginia (6-1) is 4-0 at home. The closest result among those came Nov. 26 with an 80-77 victory against Eastern Kentucky — a team Radford defeated by 13 two days later.

Huggins wants the Mountaineers to be more aggressive with rebounding.

“We still stand behind and watch too much,” he said. “When the ball is in the air, that’s when you really ought to get inside and get good position.”

Jalen Bridges, who grabbed nine of the team’s 41 rebounds in Tuesday night’s victory against Bellarmine, said showing more energy is crucial for the Mountaineers.

“I took the challenge on myself to be active, to try to get every single rebound,” Bridges said.

Radford (4-4) holds a three-game winning streak after home victories against William & Mary, Eastern Kentucky and Kentucky Christian.

The Highlanders have had better offensive flow recently, so the goal will be avoiding reverting to previous struggles. They scored 52 points against Virginia, then 39 vs. Virginia Tech and 33 vs. Navy.

“The challenge is just to not turn the ball over,” Nichols said. “In the past, we’ve settled too much for 3s.”

Radford never trailed in the William & Mary and Eastern Kentucky games and then was behind for just 18 seconds (by a 1-0 score) in Tuesday’s matchup with Kentucky Christian.

“I think we’re just doing a better job of sharing the ball,” Nichols said. “The first few games I don’t think we moved the ball as well as we’ve moved it lately. I’m pleased with the way the ball is moving now.”

The Highlanders won’t play a December home game, so this begins a stretch of six consecutive road assignments.

–Field Level Media

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