Mountaineers at a Loss for Answers - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers at a Loss for Answers

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MORGANTOWN -

When Bob Huggins walks off the court victorious, he typically lets his players get out of the locker room and meet the media in a timely manner. When he's just experienced a loss, it could be the plotline for a Snickers candy bar commercial.

Not going anywhere for a while.

That was the case after the latest setback as the collective media gathered together waiting on the West Virginia basketball players and the Mountaineer Sports Network nearly signed off from the radio before Huggins joined the broadcast crew.

"Coach did a lot of talking," sophomore guard Juwan Staten said of the locker room chat. "We mostly listened and that's just how it's been since we've been in the locker room."

There was quite a message being shared for the time it took to get out.

"Basically that we just don't play hard enough," Staten explained. "I mean, the reputation that Coach has built over the years and the teams that he's had have always played hard and competed and that's something that we don't do as well as the teams that we've had in the past."

Huggins' reputation as a historian who frequently brings up memories of past teams – good and bad – was with him long before he came to coach WVU. He will tell his players precisely what he expects of them because he has seen other players accomplish it. He will tell them what to avoid because he has seen that stuff, too.  

Now those players have to take it upon themselves, though. They know what to expect from their head coach, it's time to start expecting more from the guys who were there listening, not talking, in the locker room.

"We could think about a lot of excuses, but the biggest thing is we're just not getting it done," said Staten. "We've got everything we need, we've got scouting reports, the coaches prepare us, we practice hard, we definitely have the talent, it's just something that we're not doing. We're not getting it done."

Jabarie Hinds read through a list of what did not go the Mountaineers' way on Saturday, but said that when they look around on the court, down the bench and in practice, they don't see those glaring issues. They see just enough not to find the success.

"You can't point fingers with a loss like this," said Hinds. "We're a team and [we are] one, so we can't really say it's someone's fault. If anything, it's the whole team's fault because we were out there playing."

Hinds said he doesn't know how to fix the problem because he can't pinpoint it.

As expectations change and the focus now appears to be a run at getting a few extra games in Morgantown for the NIT, the players say they don't need postseason goals to push them along to the next game.

"The most motivating factor is that we're 8-9," Staten said. "Any way you look at it – the teams we've played, the way we've been in games, the second half run we put together – it still boils down to we're 8-9 and that's all the motivation we need right there in itself. We don't want to go out with a losing record. We still have games, we still have big games to play, we've just got to go out there and attack every game and play with more of a sense of urgency."

Then Staten was asked if the most recent loss was the most embarrassing his team has faced this season.

"I probably would have to say the Gonzaga loss was worse than this one," Staten replied.

That one was by 34 to the 8th-ranked team in the nation in the first game of the season at midnight on the east coast. This one was by 27 to a team barely over .500 in the 17th game of the season on national television right in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.

Gonzaga may have caused Staten more embarrassment, but at least at that point he had 30 games left to help prove that the result was an anomaly.

Now there are just 14 left, each with a greater sense of urgency as a result of their own shortcomings.

Staten assures us that the team will not give up, that it isn't even an option.

Long talks from his coach may have something to do with that.

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