Duquesne-West Virginia Preview
A lengthy layoff didn’t hurt West Virginia when the new AP poll
was announced this week. It’s hoping its next opponent won’t pose
much of a risk to the team’s highest ranking in more than 27
The sixth-ranked Mountaineers look to stay undefeated Wednesday
night when they host Duquesne.
West Virginia (5-0) hasn’t played in a game that’s counted since
an 84-66 win over Portland in the 76 Classic championship game in
Anaheim, Calif., on Nov. 29. Having maxed out the number of
non-conference opponents they can face, the Mountaineers scheduled
an exhibition game against the University of Charleston on
Saturday, beating the Division II school 81-48.
West Virginia shot 53.6 percent and was led by Deniz Kilicli,
who scored a game-high 18. The freshman forward is ineligible to
play in the first 20 games after the NCAA determined he violated an
Forward Devin Ebanks started and finished with two points –
attempting just two field goals – over 18 minutes. Ebanks missed
the first three games because of undisclosed personal problems.
An all-Big East rookie selection as a freshman, Ebanks has
scored 14 points in each of his first two games off the bench, but
he shot 4 of 13 against Portland.
“Devin’s not Devin yet,” coach Bob Huggins said.
Kevin Jones continues to step up for West Virginia, averaging
12.6 points and 7.0 rebounds. He finished with 14 points and seven
boards in 18 minutes against Charleston.
While the win over Charleston didn’t count in the standings,
West Virginia still moved up from No. 7 in the poll. It’s the
highest ranking for the Mountaineers since Feb. 23, 1982, when they
were also ranked sixth.
West Virginia is looking to improve to 7-0 for the first time
since winning the first 10 games of the 2004-05 season.
Duquesne (6-2), which opened the season with four straight wins,
is coming off a 58-44 victory over Savannah State on Saturday,
bouncing back from a 67-58 double-overtime loss to Pittsburgh three
Eric Evans scored 17 while Damian Saunders added 15 for the
Dukes, who outscored Savannah 27-13 in the first half.
Evans went 6 of 9 from the field after shooting 17.6 percent (3
of 17) in the loss to Pittsburgh. The sophomore guard, averaging
9.0 points, is shooting 27.3 percent.
“We really got an efficient game from Eric,” coach Ron Everhart
told the Dukes’ official Web site. “We’re trying to get him to
understand that no matter what the numbers are, you have to be
After losing Melquan Bolding to a fractured right wrist in the
season opener, Duquesne has been led by Bill Clark, who is
averaging 17.4 points. The Dukes, though, rely primarily on their
defense, holding opponents to 61.6 points and only allowing one to
shoot better than 40 percent.
Last season, Duquesne beat its first top-10 team since 1992 when
it defeated then-No. 9 Xavier 72-68 on Feb. 7.
West Virginia has won six straight over Duquesne, taking the
last three at home by an average of 16.0 points. The Mountaineers
lead the all-time series 48-36.