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WVU's Harris seeks answers to shooting slump

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Eron Harris isn't superstitious by nature.

In fact, West Virginia's sophomore shooting guard insists he's anything but.

"I don't believe in superstition,'' Harris said. "I believe that my mind controls what I do, not what I wear or anything else.''

Still, it has been odd to see Harris the past few games while enduring what has become a torturous shooting slump.

On Monday night, when the Mountaineers lost to Texas at the Coliseum, it was a pair of neon green socks. A few days before that it was a new haircut.

If Harris isn't trying to shake things up then he's doing a pretty good impersonation of someone who is.

And why not? Since making five 3-pointers on Dec. 10 in a game against Gonzaga, here are the 3-point shooting numbers, game-by-game, for a guy who at one point was the Big 12's leading scorer and was in the top two in both 3-pointers and 3-point shooting percentage: 1 for 6, 2 for 7, 0 for 3, 4 for 5, 3 for 11, 1 for 6 and 0 for 7.

With the exception of that one game - ironically the 4-for-5 performance was the win at TCU when he wasn't in the starting lineup because he was weak from the flu - Harris has been in a huge slump.

So why not try something new?

He insists he hasn't been toying with any of that.

"I don't think about that. I've just always been different,'' Harris said. "Ever since I was little I wanted to be different and do something that nobody else was doing. Look at my hair. I just like switching up.''

Well, the switching up that would help West Virginia the most right now would be if he began making those 3-point shots at which he was so proficient for the first month of the season. A good time to start would be Saturday, when the Mountaineers (10-7, 2-2 Big 12) hit the road to face Kansas State (13-4, 3-1).

With Harris in his slump, the Mountaineers have lost two in a row. His ability to make shots isn't always critical because there are other good shooters on the team (overall WVU is 4-3 in those last seven games), but there is no question the team is better when he's a threat.

That's what Harris is concentrating on - finding a way out of the slump that both he and the team are in, not doing it in some unorthodox fashion.

Take the loss to Texas, in which West Virginia as a whole missed 21 of its 25 3-point attempts, including 15 in a row at one point. As far as Harris was concerned, they were the kind of awful misses that usually mark a poor-shooting team.

"And all of them were on line,'' Harris said. "They were just short. Every single one.''

Harris dismissed the notion that tired legs might have had something to do with that while playing the second game in three days. The fact is that the shots just aren't falling for him or most of the rest of the Mountaineers, and the sooner that's corrected the better.

"There's a lot of thought about what is the best answer,'' Harris said. "What is the best answer for me, individually? What is the best answer for us? How can I get myself back going? What is the answer for us, because honestly, I'm tired of losing.''

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.

 


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