MORGANTOWN - West Virginia pulled the same trick against Duquesne Sunday afternoon that it did against Virginia Tech last week, losing most of a double-digit first-half lead with sloppy play.
"I've seen that picture before,'' Bob Huggins would say afterward. "And I didn't like it.''
He did, however, like how his Mountaineers responded when it happened again. Or at least how they eventually responded.
Yes, the Mountaineers did struggle with the Dukes at times, but behind record scoring performances by Eron Harris and Juwan Staten, they pulled away in the final minutes for a 96-83 win in front of a crowd of 6,038 at the Coliseum.
Harris and Staten combined for 61 of WVU's 96 points. Harris had six 3-pointers among his 33 points and Staten made 12 of 19 free throws while scoring 28. Both set career highs in scoring.
And it was Harris and fellow sophomore sharpshooting partner, Terry Henderson, who finally pulled the trigger when the Mountaineers had let the Dukes hang around long enough. Their back-to-back 3-pointers in an 18-second span turned a 75-71 nail-biter into the runaway it would eventually be.
That was part of a 10-for-18 3-point performance for West Virginia, which through three games is shooting 46 percent from outside the arc after failing miserably to convert those shots during last year's 13-19 season.
"Terry and Eron are very capable of that,'' Huggins said. "And when it happens and you look up at the scoreboard and [the lead is] 10 points instead of four, you feel a little bit better.''
There were all sorts of reasons for West Virginia to feel better about itself after Sunday's win as opposed to the loss at Virginia Tech five days earlier.
Yes, there were shortcomings, not the least of which was allowing 20 offensive rebounds and being beaten on the boards 39-30. There's the problem of free-throw shooting, which after a 15-for-18 performance in the opener has sunk to 63 percent since. Against Duquesne, WVU made just 20 of 34 from the line, despite the fact that guards Staten and Harris shot the majority.
"I have no idea what that's about,'' said Harris, who missed four of his seven foul shots.