Frustrating Trends Continue for WVU Basketball - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Frustrating Trends Continue for WVU Basketball

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MORGANTOWN -

Plenty of time remained when West Virginia got out to the strong start it did in Stillwater and Oklahoma State must have been acutely aware of what sort of opportunity that would present.

The Mountaineers played like a team with something to prove, playing tough on both ends of the floor and pushing to a 13-point lead in the first 15 minutes of the game, but you knew they wouldn't keep it up.

You knew it because very rarely this season has WVU shown any reason to believe that it can hold on and put away its opponent. Saturday would be no different.

"We're up 11. We've got a layup – a layup – and we don't get it over the rim and our guys are running down there and then they throw a long pass to a guy who's cherry picking down here and that starts the whole deal," head coach Bob Huggins explained on his postgame radio show.

It's become old hat for these Mountaineers. Get a lead and as soon as you've got a chance to step on the opposition and keep them down, it all blows up. And worse, the tide turns almost immediately.

A 10-point lead for WVU is about as beneficial as a 20-point deficit.

The early success was as much due to help from Oklahoma State connecting on just 5-of-15 of its shot attempts. When you have a team in West Virginia that consistently misses shots, there's only so much that can be done at the other end of the court.

"We can't make shots," Huggins said bluntly. "It's become painfully obvious that we can't make shots. Terry Henderson did not make any shots today. Eron Harris was our only guy who made any shots."

Harris led the team in minutes and in points scored for the second-straight outing, finished with 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.

The Mountaineers' defensive effort early was what Huggins has come to expect from his teams, and yet it was completely upended in those final five minutes of the first half and the entire second.

Phil Forte was a big part of the collapse, as he continued to rise up and knock down 3-pointers, more often than not being left wide open to do so. The freshman guard was alone with no hand in his face or even within a few feet and when he did have a man on him, he simply stepped out farther from the arc to drain one of his six threes.

What the Cowboys succeeded with, the Mountaineers failed miserably.

"The frustrating thing is I can't run a set because they don't know what they're doing," Huggins said of his team. "It's mind-boggling because we do it and we do it and we do it and they know what they're doing in practice and then all of a sudden the game comes and it's like they lose everything, forget everything."

They forgot to guard the perimeter for much of this one, allowing OSU to hit on over 50 percent of its shots from long range.

With his own team shooting a worse field goal percentage than just 26 teams in the nation and yielding the 209th worst opponent's percentage, the statistics do not add up to winning basketball.

"You could read any stat to me and it's frustrating to me," said Huggins. "We've never done it, man. We've never done it. Never. We have been one of the best in the country at guarding the 3-point line."

Huggins' team has reached 10 losses earlier in the schedule than any Mountaineer team since the 2001-02 season.

"I feel like going home and going to bed and pulling the covers over my head," Huggins said.

But that wouldn't solve any of the problems on the court.

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