MORGANTOWN - Eventually, West Virginia is going to begin shooting the ball better than has been the norm through the first seven games of the season.
Bob Huggins knows that. Or at least he continues to say it.
"We just have to keep shooting the ball,'' Huggins said.
The Mountaineers (4-3) get another chance to prove they can make baskets at significantly more than a one-in-three rate tonight when they face Duquesne (5-4) in Pittsburgh. The 7 p.m. game from the Consol Energy Center will be televised by CBS College Sports.
West Virginia has, at times, been able to overcome its shooting inaccuracy. The Mountaineers carry a three-game win streak into tonight's game, despite shooting less than 40 percent twice. In seven games, WVU is shooting just 39.8 percent from the floor, which ranks No. 292 out of 346 Division I teams.
From the 3-point line, the Mountaineers are even worse. Their 27 percent success rate is No. 318 in the country. In only one game this season (a rout of Marist) has WVU shot better than 50 percent as a team. In only one other (another rout, over Virginia Military) have the Mountaineers made better than 40 percent of their shots.
Huggins said it's not from a lack of practice.
"We've shot the ball a bunch in practice,'' Huggins said Monday. "Some of the guys that are struggling to make a shot have shot it very well in practice.''
In games, though, not so much. In a 68-67 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, only three players made more than half their shots. That Kevin Noreen, Aaric Murray and Eron Harris combined to go 15-for-25 and make six 3-pointers saved the Mountaineers. The rest of the team was a combined 9-for-43, or 20.9 percent.
In seven games, only those three are shooting better than 50 percent - Murray 54.4, Harris 53.8 and Noreen 53.3. Deniz Kilicli is shooting 41.5 percent despite seldom wandering out of the paint. Gary Browne is shooting 86.2 percent from the foul line, but just 30 percent from the floor and 20 percent on 3-pointers.
One player who might be able to help is transfer guard Matt Humphrey, but he's played sparingly or not at all the last four games, in part because of a shoulder injury. Keaton Miles and freshman Terry Henderson have played in his spot and played well at times, but neither is lighting it up shooting.