STILLWATER, Okla. — Confident and hot-handed, Eron Harris maximized his time on the court Saturday against No. 11 Oklahoma State.

Too bad for West Virginia he didn’t have more of it.

Harris scored 21 points in 21 minutes of action, a performance abbreviated when he fouled out with 3:35 left in the Mountaineers’ 81-75 loss.

“You know, it’s hard when we lose Eron,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, whose program has suffered 16 consecutive losses against ranked teams. “Eron gets 21 in 21 minutes, so losing him for us is like (Oklahoma State) losing Marcus Smart.”

Remember the second-half bombs Harris lobbed at Iowa State as a freshman? Or the seven 3-pointers he sank in Cancun against Wisconsin? Harris claimed he felt even more honed-in during Saturday’s 6-of-7 barrage from 3-point range.

“This game was probably the most confidence I’ve ever played with this season, and probably ever.”

Twice WVU seemed on the brink of unraveling: Trailing 42-35 at the half after OSU energized the Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd back to its feet, and falling behind 70-61 with five minutes left after Smart shook free for a layup that became his lone basket.

On both occasions, Harris resuscitated his team right back into contention.

He scored all of West Virginia’s points in a 9-2 run that opened the second half (making two 3-pointers and canning three free throws after being fouled in the act of another). Then, when OSU stretched the cushion to nine points late, Harris banged back-to-back 3s to make it a one-possession game.

After the second one he clapped emphatically and growled while retreating on defense. But a mere 12 seconds later, he was called for his fifth foul—a bit of glancing body contact as Markel Brown drove the lane for the and-1.

A wide-eyed Huggins stared at the officials with his palms up. Harris sprinted toward the bench and took a seat, looking confounded.

He wasn’t up for disputing the call after the game, either. “It is what it is. They called it. I can’t control what they called. I got fouled out.”

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  • wvu fan

    The point is we should be better now.. we have the talent even though we are young that's not an excuse an shouldn't be for a hall of fame coach. He has always been know to adapt an win with what he has. We are in every game when we play how we are capable. An if we don't make nit or March madness we aren't up to standards. Now huggins needs to get with it an win at least 80 % of games left or he isn't earning his 3 +million. Period.

  • mark

    I really like Eron Harris. He is a competitor in the best sense of the word and clearly outplayed Smart. He will become even more effective when we add inside players next year. Don't give up on this team.

  • mark

    We really need Henderson and Dibo to step up. They are both very capable offensive players who are incredibly inconsistent. Our guys block out fairly well for about first 10 minutes of the game then quit doing it. We get beat to loose balls repeatedly in crunch time.

  • wvu fan

    I understand we are young . But we keep hearing we are so close. But it's the same mistakes week I an week out that causes us to fail.. tell me if I'm wrong but isn't this coaching? You do have practices to fix things an yes I know they are young but the fundamentals isn't this coaching? I love bib huggins but I believe this is on him because we do have talent this year we are stacked to perform in big 12. Just saying

  • tw eagle

    This is a man with class . . . after seeing his whole team robbed by the OSU officiating crew he kept his head and refused to vent his frustrations to the media & and thru them to the world . . . keep your head up & help your team continue to compete , even in the face of a "stacked deck" . . . this makes me BELIEVE that there is a renaissance coming in the WVU basketball program . . .

  • Dave

    Very weak foul called on Harris to disqualify him from the game.

  • justin

    Rebound the ball then will talk about the refs. Our bigs are as soft and uncoordinated as a newborn.

    • tw eagle

      the big guys need a lot of time in development in the weight room & conditioning program . . .
      the two newest youngsters - Williams & Watkins for example . . .

      observe Williams recover an offensive rebound - he must bring the ball low , bending at the waist to regain the leverage to put the ball back in play on the glass . . . a definite lack of "core body" strength . . . Watkins , with less time to observe his play , I have seen him do this same thing . . .

      Williams aerobic conditioning is sorely lacking , seeing him dragging up&down the court after only a few minutes court time . . .

      with core strength improved (linked to muscular systems in the lower body) the leaping abilities will improve & and the ability to "put it back" - to grab the ball , direct thought to the basket & bang it home before you land again . . . in the big guys , this is a daily chore - not a find it & it lasts forever . . .

    • Troll

      WVU out rebounded OSU so now what?

      • justin

        Our bigs need to get better...we have no post game and very little box out skills. So what if we out rebounded... watch the game tape we were got standing around several times...

  • Alex

    I don't care what anyone says the officials controls the majority of what happens in the game and the players play, and if they get upset with a coach or player look out ....I was a official for 43 years . ( college ) Sometimes it's not how many fouls are called but the timing when and what the call is, and WVU was on the short end of the stick yesterday ,( when and what was called ). Without fairness from Big12 officials look out W V U fans.

    • Shadow

      My question about officials is: who vetted them and are they associated with any betting ring? I am not accusing anyone but as the NBA ref who was caught said that you only need one or two instances to change the game. A difficult situation to monitor and/or solve.

  • Allan

    Don't blame the refs, we had our chances to win and let them slip away. If Henderson has a better game and Staten makes a couple of those missed chances, then we take home a win. We are so close to being a formidable team, we are just one or two players away from being scary.
    It's also a problem when you have players in the game that can't score, Noreen, Dibo and Browne…no depth yet.

    • tw eagle

      I don't know about all sports , but in football & basketball the officiating crews can and do decide the outcome of contests . . .

      in football these lying /cheating zebras dictate field position thru their calls/non calls till the favored team gains a point advantage & the opponent must must play a one dimensional offense & a gambling defense o get back in the game . . . the zebras will start to balance the penalty yards as the game plays out . . .

      in basketball , the hamstringing of a teams play is done thru fouls . . .the Mountaineers were knocked "back on their heels" by the fouls called in the 1st half . . .

      OSU , was cold from the outside at the beginning of the game - Mounties big men were targeted so they would be less aggressive as OSU moved their game plan to score inside . . . as Harris is pulling the Mounties back into the game , BINGO he's gone . . .

    • Dave

      Noreen is not a scorer but he is needed.

      • Dave

        I would also make the same argument for Gary Browne. Gary makes plays that doesn't show up in the stats column. Besides Gary can get to the foul line.

        • justin

          Agreed...Gary he one of our best defensive players aside from his height, plus he brings energy.

          • Kevin F.

            They just dont need to be on the floor together. When they are, it's like playing 3 on 5 of the offensive end of the floor. Noreen is a glue player, just wish the kid could shoot it........or would shoot it....

  • Tim C

    Since we had negated Smart in the game, the refs decided they should negate Harris to even things out.

  • wvrefugee

    This comment tells me that Huggin's whinning has permeated his team as well! He complained about the Big East refs too!

    • Allen

      Get over your hate for Huggins.

    • Graywv

      Didn't you watch the game? From my perspective the officials were terrible, they let Smart and his fellow muggers get away with everything-they used forearms as battering rams and just pushed their way through block outs and rebounding. WVU, I thought did respond with physical play, but they called every picky foul on us. But at least the team stood up and fought back they knew they were in a battle, and for the second time very LUCKY!

      • Shadow

        Was it the Refs or the rule change? Now you can't get in the way of anyone with the ball. Any defense is in foul territory.

      • wvrefugee

        I've watched thousands of games over my life and they ALL STINK. So what's your point???

      • don

        Glad to see I'm not the only one who thought the officiating stunk. Also got pretty sick of hearing how great Marcus Smart is. He wasn't the only good player on the court.

  • I'm honest at least

    Can't this league get at least decent refs?

    • Allen

      Conferences do not have their own officials.

      • tw eagle

        and why do the officials I see at the XII games have a XII patch attached to their jerseys ? to identify the teams they are calling the game for ?