MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Apparently Oklahoma State felt a slight hangover from its loss to Kansas. And the cure, odd though it seemed, was seeing star point guard Marcus Smart pick up three fouls in the first 2 1/2 minutes.

“It wasn’t the start we were looking for, but in some strange way, maybe it was something we needed,” said coach Travis Ford after the No. 14 Cowboys pounded West Virginia 73-57 on Saturday.

“In the locker room prior to the game, I didn’t think we had the energy level that we needed. But guys figured out that with Marcus Smart out of the game, that we were in trouble.”

What should have been WVU’s path to an upset became Oklahoma State’s rallying cause. Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown scored 16 points, and Smart returned to form in the second half to finish with 14 points as the Cowboys (20-6, 10-4) swept the season series.

“I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I can get guys to play hard, that I can get guys to compete. For some reason I haven’t been able to reach these guys, which is my fault. I should have been able to find a way to reach them.”            — Bob Huggins

The Mountaineers (13-14, 6-8) slipped to 0-8 against the Big 12’s top six teams and sent coach Bob Huggins into another postgame diatribe regarding his players’ insufficient effort.

“I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I can get guys to play hard, that I can get guys to compete,” he said. “For some reason I haven’t been able to reach these guys, which is my fault. I should have been able to find a way to reach them.”

West Virginia, led off the bench by Aaric Murray’s 11 points and Matt Humphrey’s 10, shot only 30 percent and committed 17 turnovers compared to only seven assists.

The game had a bizarre opening, with OSU’s Smart picking up three fouls in the first 2:34. He walked toward the bench after his second foul as coach Travis Ford sent Kirby Gardner to check in. But when play resumed, Gardner was still kneeling at the scorer’s table, and Smart jumped backed into the defensive flow, picking up his third foul seconds later after colliding with two WVU players in pursuit of a loose ball.

“We had a guy at the scorer’s table ready to go check in,” Ford said. “For some reason, he didn’t get in the game, and that upset me, to say the least.”

Despite 31-percent shooting, and going without a basket for eight minutes in one stretch, WVU trailed only 35-33 at half thanks to Murray’s putback dunk just before the buzzer.

But Smart’s return in the second half elevated OSU’s game and the visitors took charge. After Smart had five points in a 7-0 run that stretched the lead to 52-41, only once in the final 12 minutes did WVU come within single digits.

The Cowboys got 13 points from Brian Williams along with 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Michael Cobbins.

WVU’s Deniz Kilicli saw first-hand how tough OSU’s interior defense could be, finishing 3-of-11 from the floor with four turnovers in a seven-point performance.

“We’ve noticed the last few games that West Virginia’s been featuring Kilicli a lot,” Ford said. “So our guys heard his name repeatedly the past couple days.”

Kevin Noreen scored nine points — including an early 3-pointer that helped WVU take a 15-8 lead — and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss. He played a team-high 33 minutes.

SECOND-HALF DEJA VU

Seemingly energized by Murray’s dunk before intermission, West Virginia didn’t carry over that momentum. The Mountaineers saw Oklahoma State shoot 51 percent in the second half and were outscored 38-24.

“What’s the difference between the first half and the second half most of this season?” Huggins said. “It doesn’t seem we compete as hard.”

SLUMPING HARRIS

Eron Harris hit a 3-pointer with 5:40 left, his first points since the Texas Tech game of the previous week. He was held scoreless at K-State on Monday and started Saturday’s game 0-of-6.

The freshman wound up with six points on 1-of-7 shooting with three turnovers.

BALANCED COWBOYS

Considering Williams had scored only 15 points over six games since returning from a wrist injury, his 13 points Saturday showed Oklahoma State has another way to attack defenses.

“The strength of our team is who are you going to stop?” Ford said. “It’s pretty tough to focus on one or two guys on our team. We have some versatility. I liked the way the shots were distributed among our players.”

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Comments

  • wv bud

    I like Huggs and I am glad we have him.I don't care if he wears a sweatsuit every game.We are West Virginians and we aren't high class ,big city people.We don't even have a big city in this state. The man will get it straightened out.

  • big tom

    someone commented on the post game interview with Noreen.. It's no secret why he is on the big 12 academic rolls. The guy just radiates intelligence.
    And his summation of our season, is right on the mark.
    everyone should listen to this interview that loves eer sports..he is a credit to our university, we need more players and people just like him , on the team... very intelligent on and off the court, high IQ in both BB and life.

  • Misterman

    The players need to understand that real Mountaineer fans don't hate them. Just keep working. Things will start getting better. Go Mountaineers!!!!

  • pghmountianeer

    Some of you people are living in la la land. Ask yourself this question. Which of you would be motivated to do a better job at work when your boss not only ridicules you in front of your co workers but also goes out and tells the public how dumb you are? How would you like to be told that he or she over estimated your talent level. This coming from someone who has 30 + years of experience evaluatuing talent.
    And oh ya, one more point, you're in your early 20s. That's really impressionable!

  • richard

    once again......sickning!! who the hell cares what huggins wears??? do you realize how stupid and uneducated these comments sound like? what the hell does what he wears, have to do with winning? do you honestly think he isn't coaching these players and he isn't showing them how to run plays? it's the players stupid!! huggins is right. he will fix it by getting rid of a few players. and i'm sick of hearing how he yells at players!! watch any game on tv and show me a coach who doesn't yell at a player---a lot!!! my god, they aren't babies!!! they are men of age!!! if they can't take being yelled at, then who the hell wants them on a roster anyway?? let's just love on them and put a titty in their mouth to breast feed them!! some people on here need to shut up. you sound stupid! or is that what you want? just to get people riled up? yea, thats it! i'm wasting my breath.....you did well, you made me mad enough to rile me up! lmao.....idiots.

  • wvtd

    if huggings has so much pride in the state why does he wear blue and white fat suits to the game? i guess that is pride or greed. he was a good coach in the past, no doubt but just average anymore. just keep buying tickets and waiting until next year.

  • Justin

    Amazing how only a few people point out how the players are not listening is effecting the team, Jabre running straight down the heart of defense all our PGs missing our WIDE OPEN big guys in the post. Its a team game as coaching and players. Oilver should've recognized we'd be going across country every other day also. Think about it were a college team with the schedule of an NBA team. We suck we all get it but to blame it all on a fat man in a jump suite is naïve. 10,000 a day is a horrendous income and yes he should cough up some of it and his fat Gothic (Larry) needs to go he isn't waiting for a bus he's suppose to be coaching. All I know is will be in the sweet 16 next year so Tom, willam and Larry u might wanna at least bi#ch up the right things.

  • richard

    why would any recruits want to come play at WVU when they read the crap some of you people put on here? you!!!, not huggins is what is hurting the recruiting!! you think not? players get on these sites and read this crap you say. my gawd....teams have this type of a season sometimes (kentucky?), and this is the first for huggins at WVU. one bad year and you read this crap! and some on here say they went to WVU and left with 2 diplomas??? could have fooled me with the grammar and spelling you spew out. i for one will back huggins till he shows me another season or so of this type of year. i don't think that's going to happen!

    • Wenkev

      Thank you Richard!!! You said it well!! I hope John Calipari isn't getting skewered on Kentucky sites like Huggins is on this site. I wonder if people are comparing him to Pitino or maybe they think Calipari doesn't dress well enough to win. I for one DO NOT CARE what Huggins wears on the sidelines! I DO CARE when I see players smiling (Staten) when they screw up. I do care when I see a player lazily pass the ball (Baylor game) and get it stolen. People talk about how much Huggins makes. These young men are all getting a free education to play a game. I agree with Huggins. I don't expect them to take plays off either and I certainly don't think Huggins is too hard on them. My Little League coach was more intense than Huggins. I am sure the men in military boot camps would think Huggins soft compared to their drill instructors. There are men their age carrying a gun and fighting for our country so if Huggins yelling at them bothers, I say toughen up!!! This is just one of those teams with no chemistry, no intensity, no desire, and mediocre skill, and no leader. It boils down to the fact that Huggins has to put five guys on the floor and none of them are very good.

  • pghmountaineer

    No doubt about it, this program is becoming a disaster. I truly believe Coach Huggins is as good they come when it comes to basketball IQ. He knows exactly what's going on and what needs to be done with all facets of the game. That being said, I think we all know his style has worn thin and it doesn't play anymore. His behavior is very similar to Bob Knight's in his last 10 of coaching. His screaming and yelling at players during the game became very sad. As a result his recruiting classes continued to suffer. Look at Indiana, they cut ties with him because he was out of control and was too hard headed to change his approach. Recruits and players no longer respond to this type of coaching. You only get other schools rejects.
    I don't beleive Oliver Luck will put up with this much longer.

  • tony

    it seems now we are unable to ignore the failure of our sophmore guards. if he keeps one next year it looks like it will be browne for defense. i dont see jabari or staten ever being really a player in the b12 or be for that matter. they just arent good enough to be regulars at this level. we may get better up front next year but it wont make any difference if our guards are the same guys we have there now. honestly, we have harris and henderson and pretty much no-one else next year (ok, sweat, too). i never expected browne to be the scorer but staten and hines are just defensive disasters this year. we cant have players taking this many minutes and guarding so bad/inconsistently. after hearing coach, i wouldnt be surprised to see us lose/let go a large number if these guys-might as well start over than invest in these guys who obviously arent commited enough to be players.

  • jordan

    Bob Huggins will be gone after this year. He made the comment earlier in the year that his dad couldn't handle the losing there at the end of his coaching career. And he said he could relate to his father. So its gonna happen I believe. Great coach. But I think its the end of the rope. Plus with the shape of athletics financially we could get a young coach who is still passionate an roaring an ready to take what would be a dream job for much less money. Agree???

    • Hoffy

      No. Coach Huggins is very competitive and cares about WVU, and won't walk away because of this season. I don't know what you are referring to regarding the financial situation of the Athletic Dept., but if it is because it has a negative balance, remember the bulk of that is due to the exit fee owed the Big East. Once WVU receives full share of the Big 12 media contract money, the situation will improve. We need to be patient.

  • Jethro

    I knew we would hear from the 3 stooges today but i am worried about huggs career .these past 2 to 3 years have not gone unnoticed by oli. I hope he gets it together because i believe he is a great coach and cares about wvu and west Virginia

  • Bob

    Interesting Huggins puts everything on defense and the Kansas coach put 70% on offense. If you needed 2 points from this team who would you ask to take the shot. I agree you have to play defense - just look at The Cowboys today - but when you get 24 points in 20 minutes of the 2nd half you will not win. Shooting 30% you can't win unless the other team shoots<30%.

  • Jbc

    We are having a down year can people not accept that??? I listen to the post game and I didn't hear the coach throw his team under the bus?? So where do u get that from? We had some misfortunes recruiting wise, we are young, new conference(notice no seton hall, Rutgers, providence,usf, St. John's, DePaul ) and a lot of travel. Next year will be better!! Most programs will have a down year here and there! Go eers!!

    • Alum

      jbc, agreed.

      Some here don't seem to remember what happened to a couple of recruiting classes. When they do remember I'm positive they will go after Huggins for some things that were beyond his control (like medical clearance). All programs have a down year now and then and unfortunately this is ours, complicated by a change of conference. If some of the naysayers want an example, consider UK. National champions last year and out of the top 25 most of this season. It's college ball where the personnel are constantly changing; seasons like this happen on occasion.

      tommy, larry, billy and a couple of others take shots often without knowing what they are talking about.

    • big tom

      you must have been listening to a different post game interview than i saw. that's about all he did was beat down the players. It's this way after every game we lose and sometimes when we win...

  • RJR.

    I am surprised the attendance has been so good this year considering the terrible team in Motown this year.