Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins yells at forward Dominique Rutledge after a defensive breakdown led to a first-half dunk by Baylor.

WACO, Texas — Was this really Waco? Because it sure felt like West Lafayette all over again.

The Mountaineers, hearkening back to the punchless effort they levied against Purdue, showed little fire during a forgettable second half here Wednesday night. The resulting 80-60 loss to Baylor once more dropped West Virginia below .500 in Big 12 play and shot BB holes in all the recent signs of progress.

To think, this was a one-point game with 17 seconds left in the first half, at which juncture WVU was still impersonating a team on the improve. Then Baylor used a 30-second timeout to a stage its last-shot possession, which wound up in the hands of reserve guard Gary Franklin all alone on the left wing, planted just a few feet in front of Bob Huggins.

Too bad for WVU that Huggins couldn’t throw a hand in Franklin’s face, considering no other Mountaineer was close enough to do so. Franklin swished a 3-pointer at the horn and Baylor bounced off the court with a 31-27 halftime cushion.

Sure, Franklin wasn’t a starter, but the WVU scouting report most assuredly ID’d him as an outside shooter, considering how 61 of his previous 79 shots this season came from outside the arc.

That wasn’t the last time the Mountaineers left a Baylor gunner unchecked. Brady Heslip made four of his six 3s in the second half, benefiting from drive-and-kick assists by point guard Pierre Jackson

“When you have Pierre who’s so fast … it forces other people to help,” said Heslip, who scored 20 points. “Sometimes my guy helped, and when he did it led to open 3s.”

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor guard Brady Heslip (5) reacts to sinking one of six 3-pointers in Wednesday’s 80-60 win over West Virginia.

But Heslip’s explanation didn’t satisfy West Virginia’s Eron Harris, a guard who has Heslip’s range along with a skill Heslip does not — the ability to penetrate and create shots off the dribble.

“The shooter got shots off when all he does is shoot 3s,” fumed Harris.

Everyone wearing Mountaineer blue seemed especially mystified as to why no defender guarded Heslip on a secondary fast break midway through the second half. The junior was in tailing position as Jackson sped down the middle of the court, and when the point guard reached the top of the key, well, let’s allow Jackson to recount:

“Brady was like ‘Yo, pitch it back, pitch it back,’ and I was like, ‘I got you.’ I gave it to him and he did the rest.”

That was one of nine assists for Jackson, the Big 12′s top scorer, whose 15 points were only third-highest on his own team Wednesday. The Bears doled out 23 assists overall and 14 in the second half when they pulverized WVU with 59-percent shooting.

What Huggins saw from the sideline: “We had live ball turnovers that they scored on, then we kind of started hanging our heads and they beat us in transition.”

What Mountaineers guard Jabarie Hinds saw from the court: “We didn’t play the whole second half. They had some runs, but we didn’t come back with a run and compete. They just kept pounding on us.”

The matchup paired the two stingiest defensive teams in Big 12 conference action, as Baylor came in allowing 60.8 points per league game and WVU surrendering 61.4. The Mountaineers, however, clearly didn’t bring their defensive intensity. (Perhaps they gave up guarding for Lent?)

“Defense,” said Hinds when asked about the most disappointing aspect of the loss. “We gave up too many layups and dunks.”

Seven of those layups and dunks came courtesy of Rico Gathers, known as the other freshman at Baylor this season thanks to Isaiah Austin hoarding most of the accolades.

Yet Gathers was a four-star recruit last season, and the nation’s No. 37-rated prospect by Rivals. He declined Duke, Florida and N.C. State to play for the Bears — and if hoops doesn’t pan out, the 6-8 musclemound should consider playing for the Chicago Bears. He’s got the build, and on Wednesday night when he flexed, West Virginia backed down.

That’s when Gathers and Baylor finished WVU with a series of haymakers — or maybe they were Boilermakers. No difference, really, because the knockout blow felt the same.

bubble graphic

67

bubble graphic

Comments

  • PGHMOUNTAINEER

    This is very sad. The WVU fan base is as rabid as it gets and yet the team on the floor resembles a school yard league and the coach can't seem to get a grip.
    What's amazing to me is the kind of money these coaches are paid and the product that is on the field and or floor is embarassing.
    We as fans get to be disappointed and they get to laugh all the way to the bank!

    • WILLIAM

      Bob Huggins and Dana Holgerson make over TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY! What a joke, they are laughing all the way to the bank. The FANS have been taken for a ride with tickets prices and other cost!

      • Shawn

        "At West Virginia University, the graduation-success rate for men's basketball was a perfect 100 percent. That's quite a turnaround for Coach Bob Huggins, who at one point had a zero-percent graduation rate while coaching at the University of Cincinnati."

        Say what you will about Bob Huggins yelling during the games, but one thing he focuses on is the student athlete earning their degree. Everybody wants to cut him down for having a bad year and cant understand why a parent would allow their child to play under him. Well he's turned over a new leaf since leaving UC. He's said it over and over...."i want these kids to become men, earn their degree and do great things." Kudos Huggs!

        • Hoffy

          Thanks for that info, Shawn. I checked out the NCAA education website for data about Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for the past couple of years, for all WVU sports.
          The overall 2012 GSR was 83%; 2011: 80%. The Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) was 62% (all students).
          Compared to all other Big 12 schools, WVU is right at the top, and clearly ahead of some of the "powerhouse" schools.
          By using the search engine there, one can find some interesting data about how WVU compares with their peers. Something for all of us to be proud of. (Now if we can see some more wins....)

  • Phil M.

    Our first year in the Big 12 certainly hasn't been what we had hoped. Not in football or basketball. I'm not a fair weather fan and I'm a WVU Alum. But what we must do if we are going to be regarded as a top program in any conference is be consistently good. No matter who the coach is we cannot accept mediocrity and say well we're just little WVU and we can't be expected to compete year in and year out. I think Oliver Luck will demand that we consistently compete and win. Whether it's Holgorsen, Huggins or Carey I would n't get to comfortable and think my job is secure. Plenty of good coaches that will work hard to win at WVU. I think Holgorsen is working hard and we will see if he is a head coach or an OC. Huggins can do better and we have seen it in the toughest conference in basketball. So take a breath and relax Mountaineer fans this is only the beginning. One thing for sure we have some good coaches and we need to let time take care of the rest.

  • Mac

    Well Allen, we saw what this team is made of. What we felt to be true is, and our hopes are dashed. It certainly looks as though this team will finish sub-500 in conference and endure the first losing season WVU has had in recent memory. (The last one I remember is Gale Catlett's final year.)

  • Phil M.

    Bob Huggins is a good basketball coach. He's not a great coach but he's a really good coach. John Beilen is the same a good coach but not a great coach. But I must say just from what I have seen in comparison, Beilen is by far the better recruiter and recruits a smarter player. Beilen's players fit the system he runs. Huggins is pound the ball down under the basket and try to power it up or draw a foul. Beilen at WVU and at the other schools he has coached at recruits pure shooters for the most part. We need some of that for sure.

  • Greg

    For any of you youngsters out there who may be reading this don't forget the first rule of basketball. GUARD THE SHORT WHITE GUY! There's no reason for him to even on the court except to shoot or mop up the sweat. If he's wearing a uni he's not carrying a mop. If ever there was a team that needed to learn this its this one.

  • jethro

    these players are not prepubescent children
    that you cant yell at too much because they will cry or suck their thumb. these are men with high levels of testosterone and the only way you can get them to do things right initially is to put them in their place and let them know who is boss.
    they are men not babies

    • cutty77

      @jethro,
      I don't know what testosterone has to do with this,but thats OK.But Huggs record the last 2 years is 31 wins an 26 losses.So I guess he needs to YELL MORE.

  • cutty77

    First of all,Alan does a Pretty good job covering this ADD basketball Team.I like the one Stat they said last night.WVU doesn't have one player that averages in double Figures,WOW Baylor has a pretty Good Team too.Remember last year,Huggs lost the last 11 out of 13 games to end the year,hope this Team is better than that.But don't get your hopes up.Quit talking about The NCAA Business to.We will be lucky to go to the NIT.Get the year over with,and hope next year is better.This Team try's Hard,but Huggs complains on Made Shots,whats up with that? The problem they are Tired of Huggs,and Huggs is tired of Them.

    • Roy

      I concur with your comments cutty! WE will be very fortunate to go to the NIT but I have my doubts that we will have enough wins to qualify! Do we miss Coach Beilein yet??

      • scorat0480

        No, we do not miss John Beilien, not now, not ever.

        • Stan

          Agreed. I think people forget that he left us.

    • Larry

      As always...Cutty speaks with great wisdom...

      • Stan

        Hahaha. Yeah for what that's worth, coming from you Larry.

  • Hoffy

    Agreed, Shawn. When things are going well; when it's easy: out come the fair-weather fans. When things get tough, critics will have their say - as they should, of course.
    Nobody likes being associated with a loser; that's human nature.
    I'm as unhappy as anybody about last night's game and the way the season has gone so far, but I'm not about to start screaming for someone's job, criticize the way they dress, and say things that are more assumption than fact just because I don't like the situation. That's where I believe you cross the line to crybaby.
    I'll agree, as well, that if the team struggles next year, then it's time to consider a coaching change.
    Until then, I want to see what this team will do in the next seven games, especially the next one; I want to see if they have the intestinal fortitude to pick themselves up and play better.
    Anybody can take the easy times; it's when the going gets tough the quality shows.
    Happy Valentines Day!

  • Shawn

    Put yourself in his place for a minute. If we as fans get so upset at what we see out of them then you can understand why he gets so frustrated. Do I think Huggs could tone it down a notch...sure! But thats not the way he's built and he will never change because thats who he is. Nobody cared how he acted when WVU was heading to a 20 win season or headed to the Final Four. Every team has a down year and when things arent going right then the fans immediately send out the lynch mob. If they come out next year and have the same or worse season then I do think its time for him to step down and take on another role with the University.

    One last thing...Everybody needs to remember that Huggs came here because this is his state and he's proud of it and that is why he gets so frustrated all the time. This man bleeds blue and gold. Where was he when the UBB explosion happend? He flew in to deliver supplies to those who needed it most. He didnt do it for publicity, he did it because he loves his state and the people who reside here.

    We let Catlett stick around for 24 years and he should've only lasted 3. He posted double digit losses in his first three years. All i'm saying is loosen up and give Huggs another year.

    • Charlie

      Shawn,

      "If we as fans get so upset at what we see out of them then you can understand why he (Huggins) gets so frustrated". This statement makes it sound like it's our fault, the fans, for his (Huggins) demeanour/temper...that is simply not true. He alone is responsible for the way he acts, not me. I do agree that what we see out of him is "the way he is built" but that is no excuse/reason to act the way he does, talk about his players the way he does, and through his actions, represent our great university. I don't have proof I can email you but I have never agreed with his screaming and demeaning style of coaching players. So respectful of his W/L record, nobody should be subjected to the blistering he gives to these young men in front of others (think about your own workplace...would that motivate you?). In my profession, I strongly believe and advise that the best leaders of people in organizations are the ones who adapt their style to the style of their staff...in my humble opinion, Huggs needs to learn that. Not all players are like ones he has had in the past and his ability to adapt and adjust to the player skills he currently has is tremously lacking.

      I love WVU and this team and I wish them well with the remainder of the season. If you are a player reading this...keep believing.

      • Shawn

        All i'm saying is if we as fans can't understand how they can play so bad, how do you think he feels. I'm not blaming the fans for their losses at all.

        The difference in some of these players and the one's in the past is the talent and athleticism. He's coached for so long and had so many hardworking and dedicated players that he can't understand how kids can be so lazy these days.

        This team is built different and they just aren't dedicated like the Butlers, Ebanks, Smiths, Flowers, Mazzulas etc.

        That group he had was special and they came to the gym every day to put in extra time and shots. They wanted to win and knew what it took to win.

        Now I know the argument is they were Beileins recruits and that is very true but Huggs took those kids to a different level and pushed them to their full potential. Bob Huggs is a great coach and if you listen to what he says and follow his system then you can be successful.

        This team needs a reality check and maybe this season will be an eye opener for everybody involved. I see good things from Hinds, Henderson, and Harris. Aaric just hasn't found his way yet and until these kids are comfortable in this system become more dedicated then its going to be more tough times ahead.

        Let's Go EERS!

        • Charlie

          Shawn,

          Thanks for the reply. I believe both of us are deep-rooted WVU fans and at the end of the day, we will stay that way. I agree...let's go EERS!

    • Larry

      Here we go with more of the whinning of "little shawn" trying to take up for Huggins (his idol)...

      • shawn

        Thanks for your comments Larry! But if you don't mind please don't comment on my posts unless you want to discuss WVU sports. And yea...I do like Huggs! Get over it bud!

  • wvtd

    coach huggins, looks like it may be time to take up fund raising. the game has passed you by. the players look like they hate you. this is sad,after 4 years much more was expected.. what is up with the psu outfit?

  • TBone Porterhouse

    Huggins should retire. What an embarrassment. He's getting worse than Gale Catllett was at the end of his reign. Pitiful. Absolutely pitiful.

  • B

    The other guys aren't getting to see much, if any PT, because they aren't showing enough effort for Hugs IMO. Then we have our boy Kilicli missing a wide open layup down the stretch when we couldn't buy a basket, and I mean WIDE OPEN. Could also note his two traveling violations in almost back to back posessions early in the first half..I'm done with him, he's a bust. Hopefully we will get some recruiting done in the off season.

  • hailey

    Last night was a complete embarassment from the coach acting like a fool on the bench to the players continued mental lapses. What in the heck is going on in Morgantown? For those of us who THOUGHT we were turning the corner reality hit last night when whe played a team with an actual a pulse.

  • Big Ugly

    Im sorry but Gary Browne should not be on th floor...Not consistent enough..he may be able to play for florida...And the 2 star recruits from a year ago, Miles and A Brown are nowhere, not even a chance to play. Shows what we all thought last year WVU dropped the ball on recruiting. tried to cover it up, but its apparent...We have lost a major step when you start declining each year in recruiting and quality players.

    • Big Ugly

      Marshall not Florida on previous post sorry.

      Give the players u thought would play a chance...1. Staten to drive 2. Hinds score, 3. Humphrey to shoot, 4 Murray to wine, 5. Kilici to forget how to shoot. Im sorry Eron dosent impress me much. Give Miles a chance, instead of 3 small gaurds who cant take care of the BB.

  • John

    WV Metro News can you please find someone other than Allan Taylor to cover West Virginia basketball.

    Q: Who wrote the following excerpts Chuck Landon or Allan Taylor?

    "The Mountaineers, however, clearly didn’t bring their defensive intensity. (Perhaps they gave up guarding for Lent?)"

    "That’s when Gathers and Baylor finished WVU with a series of haymakers — or maybe they were Boilermakers"

    A: Allan Taylor

    This isn't an english paper its a game recap. Could we have been soft on defense in the second half because we had several key players in foul trouble? Wouldn't know from this article...

    • WILLIAM

      This team is losing because of very POOR COACHING from Sweatsuit HUGGINS - Got to love HUGGINS wearing PENN STATE colors. Did you see Kilicli give his two cents to HUGGINS. Some of these players have quit playing on HUGGINS, can you blame them

      • B

        He (Huggins) was wearing a black Jordan Brand zip-up with silver.

        I can't see how you can knock Hugs and say he is displaying poor coaching, he's a tried and true coach, with this more than likely being only the 4th season of his career not getting to the 20 win mark. I think he is trying to get results by benching players to make them want to get back off the bench by increasing their intensity and effort.

      • wvtd

        jopa tribute sweatsuit i guess.

    • Allan Taylor

      Sorry, John. This is not a game recap either — it's a column. The recap is here http://bit.ly/VUcmec

      • Hop'sHip

        Here is one person who enjoys your columns. This year especially we need someone who can inject a little humor into his analysis. Maybe you can help Hoppy to enliven his commentaries a little.

    • JR

      John, we lose by 20, and you want to blame the columnist? I think you need another layer of skin. I guarantee I was saying a lot worse things about this team last night. You probably were too.

      • John

        JR- I am not blaming Alan Taylor for a loss, I just can't stand his cynicism .

        It's a little bit different for alumni and fans to talk about the game than for Alan Taylor, an ex SEC beat writer from Alabama, to slam the team and coach Huggs in all his "columns". Congratulations for batting cleanup for the 5A Alabama high school state championship in 1989. Why are you covering the Mountaineers again? Couldn't hack it in SEC country?

        • Stan

          If this is true, its hilarious.

        • JR

          John, are you saying that I can't criticize Penn State abuse because I'm not an alumni or fan? Or I can't criticize Pitt having a new football coach every other year because I'm not an alumni or fan? Let's face it, our Mountaineers are bad this year. We're going to hear more about bad losses, so what difference does it make who says it?

    • Big Mike

      Allan Taylor, why are you always so negative about WVU.
      Everyone should face it, this is a down year!
      There is no mystery to this season.