Mountaineers "Find a Way" Against Texas - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers "Find a Way" Against Texas


This page was being saved for yet another story about the shortcomings of West Virginia's basketball team.

It had been reserved by a Mountaineers squad that was trailing by 10 points with just over three minutes left, poised to fall to the Texas Longhorns and fall to 0-2 in the Big 12 Conference.

There was meant to be an entire URL dedicated to asking how far WVU could fall with Bob Huggins' bunch playing one of the most underwhelming games you could hope to see.

Just as the finishing touches were being put on what this page was supposed to be, Kevin Noreen just went and ruined the whole thing. So did Jabarie Hinds. Then Gary Browne and Eron Harris and the rest of the Mountaineers got a hand in it and suddenly whatever remained of that old write up was hit with a select all and a delete on the keyboard.

The last three minutes of regulation, plus the five-minute overtime, completely rewrote the story.

In his second start of the season, Noreen was the lone big man who wasn't in foul trouble and with his teammates shooting a frigid 0-for-14 from three-point range, he spotted up and nailed one at a point of desperation.

When he hit the basket, it was more humorous than anything. At that time in the game, it didn't seem like one made bucket from long range would do much to change the course that was set.

But then Aaric Murray made a jumper and Hinds hit a three – yes, the same Hinds who had been 3-of-15 overall and 0-of-5 from long distance until that point – and the deficit was just two. Add a Browne breakaway and layup and a Harris three and not only did the Mountaineers have new life, but they looked pretty darn good.

They rode the momentum into overtime and pulled out the improbable win, effectively erasing all of the horrendous basketball that had defined much of the game.

"I'm proud of them," Huggins said after the 57-53 win on his radio interview. "This is what I'm accustomed to seeing. I'm not accustomed to seeing that other stuff that we were doing."

The problem, though, is that those words that were initially set to appear when you clicked this link had to be written. They happened. West Virginia was an embarrassment for much of the night, evoking more jokes than actual commentary from many who were watching.

Huggins knows his team was on the brink of falling to .500 on the season. He recognizes just how poorly they have played and how badly they needed this one. It's only one win, but 1-1 feels infinitely better than 0-2 in conference play.

So the head coach, as he tends to do, fell back on an old tale that once helped his Cincinnati team and used it before the trip to Austin in an effort for a similar result.

"We struggled a little bit out the gate and what I kept saying to them is, ‘Fellas, we've just got to find a way. I mean we just have to find a way,'" Huggins recalled from a season with the Bearcats. "We had a custodian who loved the team, loved the guys and he went into the wood shop and made a big sign that said, ‘Find a way,' and painted it up and everything and put it up above the door and when everybody walked out, they hit that sign, ‘Find a way.'"

So the Mountaineer head coach told his team that story this week. He had a sense prior to the game that the message had taken based on how the players acted in the locker room leading up to the tip.

"Find a way. That's all it is," Harris said. "If it's life or death, find a way to live. That's all that means."

Apparently it took exhausting many different "ways" before WVU landed on the one that Huggins had told them to find.

There was very little pretty about this win, but when fielding a team like West Virginia is this season, the cliché of a win is a win rings so very true.

Murray, Noreen, Browne and the rest of the squad found a way that included just 30 percent shooting. It also included the final score in their favor.

"Maybe some days you're not going to shoot the ball well," senior Deniz Kilicli said. "Maybe some days you're going to start awful, like 15-0 or something, but you always can find a way."

It is nowhere close to the way they will hope to go when Kansas State visits on Saturday. Austin proved to be a winding road with hazards at every turn, but ultimately, it smoothed over and straightened.

Don't expect the Mountaineers to come away impressed by themselves or content with their performance, but do expect them to have bought in – just a little bit more – to a mantra that may have crossed the border from Ohio to West Virginia and followed Huggins from that Cincinnati team years ago to his 2012-13 edition at WVU.

He asked them to find a way and at least on Wednesday night, they did.

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