Back problems keep WVU's Henderson home
AMES, Iowa - West Virginia played short-handed against Iowa State Wednesday night. And no, it had nothing to do with Juwan Staten.
The Mountaineers lost to the Cyclones, 69-67, with Staten playing most of the game. He didn't start, but was a big contributor with seven points and seven assists in 29 minutes.
The sophomore point guard had been benched by coach Bob Huggins for the past two games, but returned when the Mountaineers (8-8, 1-3 Big 12) were edged by Iowa State (12-4, 2-1) at Hilton Coliseum.
But the Mountaineers were without freshman guard Terry Henderson, who did not make the trip here with West Virginia because of a back problem.
Henderson, who had started 11 of the Mountaineers' 15 games this season, didn't injure his back, according to Huggins, but instead has had an old problem emerge again.
"He said he had the same problem in high school,'' Huggins said Wednesday afternoon, a few hours before the game.
In Henderson's place, Huggins started fellow freshman Eron Harris.
Huggins said Henderson didn't practice for two days, or since scoring 10 points in 20 minutes of a 65-64 loss to Kansas State on Saturday.
"If he couldn't practice he couldn't play, so why bring him?'' Huggins said. "There's no sense making him sit on an airplane, sleep on an airplane, do all the things that would have made his back even worse.''
Henderson is averaging 8.5 points and is fourth on the team in minutes played. In WVU's Big 12 opener against Oklahoma he had 21 points and made six 3-pointers, but has not made another 3 in five attempts since that game.
With Henderson at home, Huggins simply plugged in Harris and went with the same lineup he'd used against Kansas State, essentially the same one he's used three games in a row now (minus Staten, who started the Texas game before being benched in the first half). The others were guards Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne and inside players Kevin Noreen and Dominique Rutledge.
Staten's return helped West Virginia overcome the loss of Henderson at least in terms of having enough bodies to battle Iowa State and its rather frantic pace.
And the combination of Harris and Matt Humphrey did a great job filling the outside shooting gap left by Henderson, at least in the last eight minutes. It was Humphrey, who hadn't played since Dec. 22, who made three big 3-pointers down the stretch. Harris made four of his own and Hinds made the one that tied the game at 67 with 11.6 seconds to play.
Iowa State then won on a layup in the final seconds.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.