STILLWATER, Okla. — Though they entered as 14-point underdogs, the West Virginia Mountaineers found themselves tied with No. 11 Oklahoma State on five occasions during the second half.

And in the final 44 seconds West Virginia nearly squared it a sixth time, though Nathan Adrian’s 3-pointer didn’t fall.

Given that WVU shot well below its team average, suffered a negative turnover margin for only the third time this season and—oh, yeah—had four players foul out, Saturday’s 81-75 loss darn near came with a feel-good underlining. If only the Mountaineers weren’t so desperate a breakthrough victory.

“There were just a couple key moments that we didn’t really execute, and that cost us,” said Juwan Staten.

“Oklahoma State is a great team, they have great players. We came in here and we played hard. We fought the whole game. We got down, we didn’t hang our heads, and we kept fighting. That’s all you can ask for.”

Staten wasn’t technically on the floor for the full 40 minutes (he rested for a whole 10 seconds during the first half), but he probably felt as though he had battled 400 minutes given the bruising collisions he endured trying to stand up to Oklahoma State counterpart Marcus Smart, who plays point guard with a linebacker physique.

“When Smart plays, he dominates the ball,” Staten said. “He is a great player, and he needs the ball in his hands. He makes the team go.”

With Staten outscoring Smart 19-4, West Virginia could have seized the upset opportunity and ended Oklahoma State’s 12-game home win streak. Instead, OSU’s role players out-performed their season metrics, highlighted by 6-foot-7 forward Le’Bryan Nash ringing up 29 points with a flurry of slick moves around the basket.

“Even though Smart is a great player, I think teams have a real matchup problem in Nash,” Staten said. “Whenever he gets the ball and gets going, it’s hard to stop because he can put the ball on the floor like a guard. He’s a power forward in size, but he can shoot the mid-range, he can do a lot of things.”

Other facets that added up to a narrow loss:

• WVU came in shooting almost 46 percent from the floor but made only 36 percent Saturday.

• The Mountaineers came in plus-four in turnover margin, yet committed 15 to OSU’s 12.

• And the biggie: 32 team fouls that represented not only the most of the Huggins era (equaling the Marshall game of Jan. 9, 2011) but the most for a West Virginia team this century.

Eighteen of those fouls were assessed in the first half, forcing Huggins to play walk-on Tyrone Hughes for four minutes. By game’s end—when Eron Harris, Gary Browne, Nate Adrian and Devin Williams had beeb DQ’d—WVU had only five scholarship players available.

“It got a little rough when we started getting people fouled out, because we had to call on players that aren’t usually put in those situations,” Staten said.

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  • Jake

    Marcus Smart is talented........but a big crybaby.

  • John S. Shackelford

    I have never seen a team go without a field goal for stretches of five and six minutes. Can you please tell me what the problem is. These brain malfunctions have cost WVU a ton of basketball games this year and every year. It' s not the coaching. I may put in for a trip to Central Africa and bring back a Witch Doctor to rid the team of evil spirits.


      Clemson went without a field goal for approximately ten minutes yesterday without a field goal against UNC.

  • John Johnson

    Keep up the good work. Bob. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. GO EERS!

    • wvrefugee's a train headed straight for us!

  • Jack

    Staten is one of the best guards in the country. WVU needs to play defense. They have a total collapse on defense at times and they have no inside game. Huggs needs to recruit some good big men to play the post.

  • jay ziehm

    the referees or only doing what the NCAA dictates to them so you can't blame them. as far as the elgibility of players WVU has gone down that road for years. these are good players that other colleges don't want because of their academic status, and I mean some major colleges. when is WVU going to recruit a true center, maybe Huggins doesn't know how to fit one in his game plan. also as long as this team believes the only way is by way of the three this team will be close to the bottom of the BIG 12 for years to come. right now someone could gather up 5 kids in the neighborhood and beat them. Its a shame but Huggins has lost his ability to coach from when he first arrived here. as long as were in the BIG 12 we will always be looking up at least in MENS basketball and football. THANKS OLIVER.

  • Alex

    I have 43 years of officiating ( college level ) and today's officials are totally taking over the games... Back in time it would take about two hours to play a normal game.. Notice when you turn the TV on to watch your favorite game the game in front of it is always running over time because all the officiating. I seen a little time in the past where ESPN was upset with these because they cannot keep up with the schedule of timing to start the next game ... The West Virginia game did not get put on the regular channel it was supposed to be on until almost 10 minutes into the game.. ESPN does not like that you mark my words there will be some changes next year. After all ESPN pays the most money to these college teams and money talks...


    We could have won the game. Again we don't need moral victories, but WVU had a win on the road in it's grasp. Keep playing hard Eers, you'll get some wins.

  • Low Rider

    WVU will not be able to win in the Big 12 until it recruits some inside players. Nash completely embarrassed WVU yesterday. Williams is trying hard but has no inside game. Adrian and Dibo are outside shooters who play NO inside D. Watkins is too erratic. I predict WVU will repeat last years 13-19 record in 2014.

    • Allen

      WVU has 2 inside players recruited that NCAA decided to not let play. It's a mystery as to why. 13-19 repeat I would be willing to bet will not happen. Enjoy your day little fellow.

      • Low Rider

        Really big fellow. Who else are we going to beat other than TCU and maybe one upset at home? We haven't beaten a top 100 RPI team in 2 years.

      • BigMo

        WVU's provost told Bob Huggins the two players would not be eligible. The NCAA compliance officer told him the same. It's simple, stop recruiting players that are academically marginal and lack character. The recruiting that worked at Cincinnati is not going to work at WVU. If Mike Garrison had not been named president, Huggins would have never been allowed to come back.

        • Daniel

          U are so wrong we would have taken Huggins anytime he wanted to come and still would and u can take that to the bank

          • BigMo

            President Hardesty blocked the first attempt. The only reason he was able to come back was because of friends on the BOG and the Ruby Trust.

  • Allan

    One play sticks out to me and it was the in bounds play for OS under their basket. Nathan Adrian has his back to the inbounds player and is looking over his shoulder at the inbounds player, the man he is guarding moves to his left and gets the pass inbounds and makes an easy basket uncontested…this has happen before, does he not learn from his mistakes? Do these players not understand how to guard or the basics of wonder a coach gets grey hair.

  • Allan

    I think the new rules issued by the NCAA are just another mistake in a long line of mistakes. They have virtually eliminated defense, making the game boring and looking like a scrimmage between the starting five and their practice teams. NCAA, stop experimenting with the game! If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!! I think it's time for the major conferences to brake away from the NCAA and form their own governing body.

  • Tim C

    The NCAA has really screwed up the officiating this year. They are calling ticky-tacky fouls and letting some of the rough stuff go at times. When a guy is driving to the basket and you are standing there with your hands up in the air and still the refs call a blocking foul, it is just amazing. I feel the guys played as well as they could given the circumstances. The AD's and Coaches in the country need to speak out and loudly about this. These calls are on both sides, not just us. Ballroom dancers have more incidental contact than basketball players. They are turning this into a sissy sport.

    • Aaron

      The ticky tacky fouls that are being called are hand checks. I have no problem with that call. No player should be allowed to put his hands out to stop an offensive player in their drive to the basket. It didn't used to be like that but when the NBA refused to call Michael Jordan on that type of defense, it's become common place. Perhaps if kids learn to move their feet and play defense instead of reaching and grabbing someone going by them, the games will speed back up.

    • Shadow

      + 1 The rule seems to be to get out of the way of the player with the ball or get called for a foul. I don't know how a player knows what to do to defend their goal. No one goes to a game to watch the refs or foul shooting but that seems to be what the NCAA and refs think.

      • Darren

        Harris fouled out on just such a call. He was in good defending position, moving his feet, arms straight up. He look at Huggs as what else can I do, just let him go.

  • Bill C

    I think within a 1 minute span Gary Browne turned the ball over twice and went 2 for 5 at the foul line, this hurts! Harris is a offensive threat but his defense sucks and like Browne plays out of control. This also helped lose the game.

    • Ole Sasquatch

      Those are good points. I agree.

  • Aaron

    It seemed to me that on one series early in the second half, Williams was fouled on 3 successive shot attempts but nothing was called. This team is so close but due to a lack of chemistry and maturity, will follow up a great effort like yesterday's with sub par efforts.

    • Darren

      Lack of chemistry! What team are u watching, last years re-runs, lol. Really impressed with the chemistry and most of the teamwork. Just looks a little too young. Watch what happens when Harris starts boxing out, Williams recognizes a triple team and passes back out to Adrian, etc. This team will take off.

      • Bill C

        This will happen about the same time Joe Manchin tells the truth!