Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas center Jeff Withey produced 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks during Saturday’s 91-65 win over West Virginia.

COMMENTARY

LAWRENCE, Kan. — At their lowest and most listless points this season, Kansas and West Virginia were comrades at rock-bottom. The Jayhawks lost at TCU (RPI No. 228) and the Mountaineers coughed one up at Duquesne (RPI No. 215), each defeat an embarrassing chapter that sounded alarms and confounded fans.

The difference, of course, is Kansas didn’t stay listless for long, whereas West Virginia’s doldrums have stretched into months of unmitigated depression.

Never were their moods more distinct than Saturday, when wide-grinning Kansas reveled in its series of alley-oops and 3-pointers, and WVU provided only glum resistance. The final margin, 91-65, matched the most comfortable for Kansas in Big 12 action this season and left the Mountaineers a sorry postcard of their first visit to Allen Fieldhouse.

“They thrive in transition, and they were throwing alley-oops left and right,” said West Virginia guard Eron Harris. “That shouldn’t happen.”

Harris scored 11 points Saturday, and rarely has a double-digit output come adorned with more angst and frustration. The freshman made only 4-of-17 shots and misfired on all five 3-point attempts, as Kansas crowded him with the type of defense that used to be WVU’s hallmark.

“You get past one person and you know there’s going to be another person right there,” Harris said. “I come off a screen and another guy steps out and helps. So I can’t get the ball, and even if I do get the ball, I barely have any space to shoot.

“On my part, I’ve got to work harder to get open, and on our part as a team, we’ve got to get better screens.”

For a how-to lesson, West Virginia needed only to watch the clinic Kansas displayed on the offensive end — particularly in arranging shots for is vaunted freshman Ben McLemore. The youngster scored 36 points on 15 shots, looking more and more like an NBA lottery pick with each flick of the wrist.

Of course, mighty McLemore wasn’t a one-man show.

Jayhawks 7-footer Jeff Withey scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, knocking down four jumpers from 10 feet or more.

And point guard Elijah Johnson — five days removed from getting away with a charge that every armchair official in Ames and, indeed, America saw — didn’t replicate his 39-point performance but was very good nonetheless. He delivered 12 points, 10 assists and one crowd-pleasing superflex after discarding Jabarie Hinds on an and-one break.

“That’s about as efficient as we’ve been offensively all year,” said Kansas coach Bill Self in praise of his team’s 56-percent shooting. Of course, such a lopsided result begs the question: Was KU’s execution that sharp, or was West Virginia’s defense that soft?

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas guard Ben McLemore shoots over West Virginia’s Eron Harris during the first half at Allen Fieldhouse. McLemore set a KU freshman record with 36 points.

Harris, reprising a storyline heard after numerous losses of late, saw a defensive letdown.

“Honestly, I think there was,” he said. “There might have been some lapses and (players) losing motivation. But that can be fixed, and it will be.”

His freshman season remains at least three games from the finish line, yet before exiting The Phog, Harris sounded hellbent on making sure his sophomore season doesn’t have these type of blowout losses.

“I’m not saying the season’s over, because we’ve still got games to go, but it’s a big learning experience for me and next year I’ll know how to fix things,” he said. “I’ll be more of a leader, and I’ll be able to step into that role. And I’ll make sure a lot of these things aren’t happening.”

What’s happening now is a losing season unlike any Bob Huggins has endured in the past 28 years. And Saturday’s pummeling against Kansas — so polished, skilled and experienced  — highlighted once more all the things these Mountaineers aren’t.

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Comments

  • Pam

    R U suggesting karma!

  • Pghmountaineer

    I'm sure some of you here won't agree with me but a comment was made here by Jethro that our AD must be under some type of curse because of the way the football & basketball seasons turned out.
    How soon we forget how our AD treated Bill Stewart. I'm not suggesting that Stew was a great coach, but he didn't deserve to be treated the way he was treated. Maybe that explains Jethro's "curse" comment.
    Just my thoughts.

    • cutty77

      Leave Stew out of this.Plus there were 2 sides to that story.Oliver got us into a much better place,that the Now Dead Big East.Coaches Coach,and Players Play.Its Very Obivious we don't have players In Basketball to Compete in This Conference.If we were still in The Big East we might have a worse record,if thats Possible.Look at The Bight side The Girls Basketball Team will go to the NCAA's The Men need to Go Home,and get ready for next year.

    • big tom

      after the way stew acted, towards Holgie, i say turn about is fair play

  • Pam

    new coaches for wvu mens B.B. De'sean Butler, Patrick Beilein, assistants, Joe mazzula , Mike Ganzey..

    • Greg

      Really? A bunch of assistants with no HC experience at all? If this is the best you can come up with you've made my point.

      • Pm

        it's a joke you fool! Lol...lighten up its ok..

      • Pam

        its a joke..lol...just emories of great players..

  • big tom

    i thought maybe we could finish 14-17 , but that ain't gonna happen,,, it's a sad day to be a mountaineer,, women's bb, men's bb, football, wrestling, and the baseball team expected to finish last i nthe big 12.
    Luck , you got us in debt up to our ears, and hopefully down the road, things will get better finanically, but right now, wvu athletics really looks sad.
    as for our BB program, huggs had led us down a path of self destruction. It starts with him and ends with him, if the players are no good and can't be coached, ask yourself, who brought them in.
    I am afraid huggs spends more time on the road with his buddies than recruiting.. he's got a terrible reputation now with his off court doings. and now it's progressed to the oncourt lack of control.
    I love huggs , i used to rrespect him, i think he was a great coach, but at some point we all have to accept where we are and what is good for wvu. Bobby, don't you think you should get out of the spot light so you can do your thing without the scrutney of the public and answer only to your wife and kids...

    • Pam

      huggins go fishing...lifetime fishing license

  • cutty77

    I keep telling people that 2015 is The Out For Huggs New Contract,and will he take it,yes he will.This Program is 2 years away at best.Huggs doesn't like this Himself,and he will not continue this slide.We have to let it Play out.2 More years with Huggs,so your wasting time thinking anything else.

    • tw eagle

      i guess i can hold my nose for two years . . .along with the bonuses during this time why not "fine " higgins for losses . . .$1.5 mil for losing to duquesne . . .$100k for 10 point losses , $150k for 15 point losses , any loss of 20+ points and higgins can kiss $500k goodbye . . .a 20 loss season costs him $2 mil

      i figure over the course of the next two years higgins will owe WVU enough money to pay off their debt for leaving the big easy . . .

  • Greg

    Still waiting to hear of the viable candidates to replace Huggs. Buehler...? Buehler...?

    • big tom

      how bout vcu's coach or butler's coach...huge improvements

      • Greg

        Both had chances to upgrade jobs last year and passed. Shaka turned down an ACC job at VPI and the kid at Butler is holding out for Indiana. Both would be great but neither are coming. Next?

  • Jethro

    Morgantown is not Kansas, Cincinnati or Michigan. Get your head out of the clouds or out of your azz. Get real!

    • Pam

      all we want is a top 20 team! would settle for 25 at this point

  • billo

    we expect much more from a person who is being paid almost $10.000 a day. not to mention the amount he is being paid to wear those ugly black and white fat suits.
    it did start a trend though. just go to wal-mart and see. overpaid has-been who knows he will never be fired or let go until he wants to go. catlett had more class.

  • Steve

    Regardless of whether you are a Huggins supporter or not, you have to be able to see the obvious: blue chip players will not sign on to play for a coach who humiliates his players in front of fans everytime they step on the court. He has his players playing not to make a mistake in fear of being pulled out of the game and being humiliated on the sidelines in front of everyone.
    Every player needs an earful at times, but there is a time and place for that and it is called practice, behind closed doors.
    It wouldn't hurt if Huggins patted his players on the back in front of everyone when they do something right.
    He needs to earn the respect of his players for the players to play hard.
    A great leader follows every negative/corrective comment with a positive comment.
    Respect the players that you recruit and they will play hard.

  • Larry

    I find it so amusing to read the comments of the Huggins relatives and trolls who continually heap praise on this once respected but now downtrodden coach. They seemingly live to talk about his greatness and defend his honor.

    “Coach Huggins will right the ship”. “He said he will “fix it”… and if he said he will fix it, you can rest assured he will do it”. “Huggins will have us back to the tournament”. “Huggins will turn it around”. “Huggins will make everything better”. “Huggins will save the Mountaineer basketball team from their sins”. “He will straighten out all of those pouters he recruited”. “Huggins will lead us to the promise Land”. This endless rhetoric just never seems to ends.

    I have nothing against all of that. But I live in the real world and I see a WVU basketball program and a Hall of Fame coach that has fallen into the Abyss.

    And No, this train wreck cannot be fixed. You cannot take street players and then turn them into top Division 1 college Basketball players. Bob Huggins has tried to do that for 3 years and you now see how that has ended up.

    So let us just be content with mediocrity and hope that someday soon Bob Huggins can take his Millions of dollars he has milked out of WVU and have a happy peaceful retirement.

    • Pam

      in what year will this be turned around four more years? when he has eight new seniors by then..Look where beilein is ,,he is going to pass huggins in wins..look at k-state where they are...even cincinnati has better teams..so whats up huggins can't get recruits?

      • WILLIAM

        Did you hear 'JUMPSUIT HUGGINS' post game comments? He throws his players under the BUS all the time! I bet some of these players will not be back next year. HUGGINS IS TIRED OF THESE PLAYERS AND THE PLAYERS ARE VERY TIRED OF HUGGINS. This coach has failed, he has been an embarrassment, and this team is losing because of POOR COACHING. Any basketball player(recruit) that would come to WVU to play for this coach would be making a BIG mistake!

        • tw eagle

          i like your thinking william , but i doubt any of these alleged bb players will leave . where would they go ? they'd have trouble making a team in playground bb . . .

        • big tom

          they can always to play at marshal, they take anyone.

          • MrJ

            Knew it wouldn't take long for the Herd Haters to head their ugly rears. All we need now.....yes....I think I hear them.....someone blaming President Obama for the loss.

            Spelling: it's Marshall, not marshal.

      • Greg

        Pam, Beilein is a one trick pony vagabond coach who's yet another missed jump shot from making a sweet 16. His underachievivg team has a distinct NBA pedigree this year doesn't it? Think the fathers, uncles, and brothers of his starters may have just coached these kids up at some point? K-state is doing pretty good with Frank Martin's recruits. But what's he doing at South Carolina with the leftover duds from the old regime? UC had the old Big East to recruit to. Talk to me in two years if they're still stuck in whatever the new conference becomes.

        The point is, you don't win championships shooting jump shots. Its not the X's and the O's but the Jimmies and the Joes that you win with. Can anyone honestly say that WVU's program is not in better hands with Huggs than it would be with John Beilein? Or anyone else for that matter. Is there a better coach out there that WVU can get? If so, please let Ollie know so we can all move forward.

        • tw eagle

          the sports coordinator at Camp Meatball would be a better choice to coach WVU bb than the existing candidate . . .and he'd get better results for about $3 mil less a year . . .

        • big tom

          two immediately come to mind, Butler's coach, and VCU's coach.

          • Pam

            yes butlers coach, gonzaga coach..heck the old george mason coach of miami is not dead yet.

        • Pam

          I stopped buying tickets when Beilein left, his style of basketball was exciting, and had fundamentals, and the players were fun to watch..they hustled..Huggs basketball is boring, no fundamentals , no shooters, no hustle. except harris and henderson coming on ..yea! they don't care because they get screamed at cursed at, why would you like someone who constantly dogs you all the time, I would dislike him as well...some of these players may have parents who treated them this way. so get away from cursing the players..you do not see other top 10 ten coaches cursing the players..the tv cameras no when to catch the curse words for all children and young adults to see..terrible..luck needs to tell huggins watch the language..DE'SEAN BUTLER IS GREAT HUGGING THE PLAYERS TAPPING THEM ON THE HEADS TRYING TO COMFORT THEM WHEN HUGGINS IS TEARING THEM DOWN..ALSO DE'SEAN IS WORKING WITH HARRIS..I CAN SEE THAT,,HARRIS WILL BE THE NEXT DESEAN BUTLER..!

          • Stan

            "I stopped buying tickets when Beilein left, his style of basketball was exciting, and had fundamentals, and the players were fun to watch..they hustled..Huggs basketball is boring, no fundamentals , no shooters, no hustle."

            That's all I need to read from you, your credibility just dropped to zero.

        • Pam

          the new coach for miami seems pretty good for his age, the old george mason coach..he had no name brand players and look what he has done.

      • Larry

        This game has passed Huggs. He’s still coaching like it’s the nineties. Screaming louder is not a strategy....ask Dalton Pepper. Anyone but Huggins would have been fired after losing to Duquesne. But not Huggins. He has been given a free pass to lose by the fans and the WVU Administration.

        It almost seems that he is being paid to lose because the more games he loses, the more money he makes. If he never wins another game, he will earn $10,000 a day until he dies. A lifetime unconditional contract given to him by Oliver Luck and approved by the Board of Regents allows him to make even more money if he wins. For example, he earns $25,000 every time he beats Kansas.

        By being financially set for life and 700 wins under his belt, not to mention being the most popular man in the state of West Virginia… Huggins has no real incentive to win.

        So don’t look to see things get turned around…what’s the incentive?

      • stan

        Cincinnati has been nowhere near as good since Huggins left, and K-state stunk prior to Huggins coaching them.

  • Jethro

    Its like wvu athletics is under a curse. It's beyond explanation

  • Jack

    Kansas put on a daunting display of offense and defense. Remember when WVU used to play that way. No need to continually bash the players and coaches. They already know how bad it is.

    • Pam

      yes but win wvu used to play that way they had john beilein..NOT HUGGINS..huggins style of basketball is out...why give him raises? these are his players not some other coaches..just like the budweiser clydesdales when the get old and cant do the job they get younger ones that can! huggins shows no respect to the players, always yelling screaming on the sidelines not helping..show some love for the good things they do...maybe they would listen and do what he asks..they play worse when murray
      is on the floor.

  • Robert

    Stating that things will be fixed loses credibility when it occurs in every post-game interview.

  • Tim C

    Hey eagleman....you're hardly qualified to post comments, much less coach. Spare us all the anti-Huggins sarcasm.

    • tw eaqgle

      aah , i'm very qualified to post comments here and anywhere else that elicits responses from their readers . . .if you don't like the comments , don't read them . . .
      i'll bet you're one of the homey morons that wants to bring rr back to football program . . .

    • tw eagle

      aah, i'm more than qualified to post comments to any forum that elicits responses from its readers . .. .if you don't like my rhetoric , DON'T READ IT . . .i'll bet you're one of the homey morons that wants to bring rr back into the WVU football program

      • Pam

        wonder if Rich Rod can coach basketball? bet he could recruit anyway

    • William

      POLL QUESTION?
      Which coach was dressed very nice and looked professional?
      1. Bill Self in a suit and tie.
      2. BOB 'Sweatsuit HUGGINS' in a black and silver jumpsuit.
      What a embarrassment

  • tw eagle

    WVU should give higgins a 20 year contract extension and double his salary . . .to make sure he has the the time to "fix" the mess someone made by bringing these alleged bb players to morgantown . . .it couldn't be his fault , he's a native West Virginian . . .and he loves WVU . . .SO DO I LOVE WVU , but i'm not qualified to be a coach there either . . .

    • WILLIAM

      Do you know why 'JUMPSUIT HUGGINS' loves West Virginia? There is only one reason - IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, HE LOVES MAKING THAT RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY (TEN TOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY) THAT IS WHY HUGGINS LOVES WV AND IT IS THE ONLY REASON!

      • Pam

        Jumpsuit Huggins waiting on a part for Buckwild...his daughter may get a part as well!

    • William

      Why would any WVU fan support JUMPSUIT HUGGINS? Tell me what he does on the court that he does well? Do you support Huggins because of the language he uses all the time, like yelling at the referee> F-YOU, F-YOU in front of kids and fans? Do you support the way he treats his players and screams at them with all types of lanuage? Or how he yanks his players in and out of games if they make one mistake? Do you support him for what he did at the NIKE CLINIC last year at Robert Morris?(goggle it to see what happened) Do you support the way this coach THROWS HIS PLAYERS UNDER THE BUS ALL THE TIME with his comments, also post game comments? Do you support him because of his PSU SWEATSUIT? WAKE UP WVU FANS! WVU FANS DESERVE BETTER!

    • William

      HUGGINS = EMBARRASSMENT