Road Woes Continue for Inconsistent Mountaineers - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Road Woes Continue for Inconsistent Mountaineers

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MORGANTOWN -

There must have come a point while standing on that court at Madison Square Garden that the players in gold and blue felt like Dorothy, calling out, "There's no place like home," as they watched St. John's run away with the victory.

In five true road games this season, West Virginia has just a 1-4 record and aside from the win over Rutgers, the Mountaineers have been a different team in someone else's gym.

At home, WVU averages 16 points per game more than what it musters on the road.

On Wednesday, that trend continued in grand fashion as WVU looked stagnant on offense and porous defensively. Nothing seemed to work from the time the ball was tipped and if at any point Bob Huggins' team seemed poised to make a run, the Red Storm easily put an end to it.

Or maybe it was West Virginia stopping itself.

Truck Bryant continued his poor shooting effort of late with a 4-of-13 night, while WVU's other starting guard, Jabarie Hinds, could only make good on 4-of-12. Deniz Kilicli only had four shot attempts the entire game, managing to connect on just two.

As a team, the Mountaineers shot 35 percent.

"Coupled with not being a very good shooting team, we don't pass the ball very well," Huggins said in his postgame radio show. "It wasn't like we didn't have guys open, we did, but we spend all that time with Deniz attacking the rim and he shoots fall aways. We were not in the game."

In an effort to get back in it, Huggins fiddled with a number of different lineups, bringing in Paul Williamson and Dominique Rutledge for extended minutes earlier than either is very accustomed to.

Tommie McCune, who averages the fewest minutes played of anyone who has gotten in a game this season, came off the bench almost immediately in the second half after a Keaton Miles turnover.

Observant WVU fans pointed out that McCune entered the game and played his two minutes with his shorts on backward.

It was that kind of night for the Mountaineers.

Perhaps the more telling aspect of McCune's two minutes was that he entered the game at all. When absolutely nothing is working on the court, Huggins looks down his bench and finds whatever is left. Maybe there's a spark in the Saginaw, Mich. native that none of the ordinary contributors could provide.

But even McCune came up empty on his lone field goal attempt. Then returned to the bench to sort out his apparel.

"You look down the bench and you just say, ‘Who wants to play?'" Huggins said after the game.

At one point, the WVU head coach says an official asked him the same thing. In the heat of the game, an outside observer was curious to know if there was any fight left from the road team.

Huggins was only able to vouch for Kevin Jones.

The senior forward had another big night statistically, finishing with 26 points and 14 rebounds, which has become something of an ordinary night. His 14th double-double leads in the nation.

"Where would you be without Kevin Jones? Where would the rest of you be?" Huggins says he asked the rest of his team. "What would your season be right now if you take No. 5 out of the equation?"

It certainly wouldn't be a tie for fourth place in the Big East.

With Syracuse awaiting West Virginia on Saturday, the toughest road test is still ahead of the Mountaineers. A team that has looked lost against the zone goes up against a coach who has perfected it.

After the loss Wednesday, Huggins recalled the week of practice he had witnessed and sounded as though he almost expected what he saw on the court. In trying to explain the importance of the preparation that goes into a game, he pulled out a quote from former college coach Bob Knight.

"Everybody has the will to win. To say people don't have the will to win ain't right – they do," said Huggins. "Few people have the will to prepare to win."

The Mountaineers have two days to prepare for the Orange, starting with a 1 p.m. practice Thursday.

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