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Tshiebwe Scores Double-Double but Huggins Not Impressed by Play of Bigs

Cody Nespor

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Despite out-rebounding the Duquesne Dukes 48-35 Friday night, head coach Bob Huggins was not happy with the play of the West Virginia’s three big men.

Freshman Oscar Tshiebwe tallied a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, sophomore Derek Culver scored seven points and pulled down eight boards and senior Logan Routt was held scoreless with only a single rebound.

After the game, Huggins said he saw exactly what he was expecting out of Tshiebwe.

“He does what everybody knew he could do, he rebounds it and scores around the rim, he misses free throws, we all knew what he could do,” Huggins said. “He’ll get better and better, you’re talking about a guy who’s been in the country for three years and has played basketball for two.”

Huggins thinks Tshiebwe is only to get better as the season starts if he puts the work in.

“(He) played in high school and was bigger and stronger and just better than everybody,” Huggins said. “Now he’s got to do things more right than what he had to do before because we’ve got other guys as big and strong as he is.”

As for Culver and Routt, Huggins was very disappointed.

“Why wouldn’t I expect Derek to at least do what he did a year ago? I think that’s fair,” Huggins said. “Why wouldn’t I expect Logan to make a tremendous jump when he has gotten a whole lot better? Neither one of those two were as active or got their hands on the ball as we expect them to.”

Huggins said he is going to hold Culver to a higher standard after what he did last season. Despite being suspended for the first 15 games last season, Culver led the Big 12 in rebounding with 258.

“Derek averages 9.9 rebounds per game, and he didn’t play the first semester, he didn’t play against the bad teams,” Huggins said. “That was against Big 12 competition.”

Huggins said that Routt’s poor play might have come from a lack of repetitions in practice.

“Logan played as poorly today as what’s he’s played,” Huggins said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get all three of them more reps.”

Tshiebwe and Culver both think they will be one of the best rebounding teams in the conference this season.

“It’s going to be tough (to out-rebound us). We go for every rebound, I don’t take any rebound off,” Tshiebwe said. “Even if (Derek Culver) is going for the rebound, I’ve got to go get it. I can’t let somebody get a rebound over me. He’s a good rebounder, I’m a good rebounder so it’s going to be tough for people to rebound over us.”

“I knew I was going to have help (rebounding), battling with Oscar in practice,” Culver said. “I was happy for Oscar, he was out there doing his thing. He was grabbing rebounds, flexing, doing all types of crazy things so to see Oscar really come out of his shell, that’s something that I’m excited to see.”

Even with a talented freshman in Tshiebwe and returning Big 12’s leading rebounder in Culver, Huggins wishes we had a few more bigs on the team.

“They way both of them foul, I need more.”

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Cody is currently a second-year graduate student at West Virginia University studying journalism. His graduate research focuses on the effects newspaper closures have on local communities. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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