AUSTIN, Texas – There were a few things that made the difference in a bad way for the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday night.

Taking a beating in the paint, poor transition defense and the inability to create consistent offense all contributed to the Mountaineers suffering an 88-71 loss at the hands of the Texas Longhorns at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was frustrated with his team’s lack of execution. While Texas got easy shot opportunities, the Mountaineers (15-11, 7-6) endured a 39.7-percent shooting night and dug themselves a hole with just nine baskets and six turnovers in the first half.

Huggins kept his team in the postgame locker room to deliver an extended message. “I said a lot of things,” he said, “most of which ought to stay in there.”

To say Texas (20-5, 9-3) dominated in the paint would be a gross understatement. The Longhorns, led by a strong effort from sophomore center Cameron Ridley, outscored West Virginia 46-14 in the paint.

Ridley bullied the Mountaineers down low en route to 17 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots, setting the tone for a convincing Texas win.

“It’s hard to guard him when you don’t stay between him and the basket,” Huggins said. “We just tried to do some things differently than we did in the first half.”

The first half is when the Longhorns took over. Sophomore guard Terry Henderson converted a four-point play after being fouled by Texas guard Martez Walker, putting the Mountaineers ahead 14-11 at the 11:22 mark of the first half.

From then on the Longhorns went on a 17-2 run over stretch that last exactly six minutes. During the Texas run West Virginia shot just 1-for-7 from the floor and committed three turnovers.

That run exemplified Huggins’ frustration with a team that had played so well in winning five of its previous seven games entering Saturday’s night tilt with the Longhorns.

“We have to be more resilient during the game,” Huggins said. “When things don’t go your way you don’t stop playing, you play harder.”

Poor transition defense ended up being a byproduct of what West Virginia did well when the two teams matched up in Morgantown earlier this season. The Mountaineers 1-3-1 trap, which gave the Longhorns fits the first time these two teams met, was something Texas was prepared to see this time around.

The Longhorns ran the floor well, attacked gaps properly and moved the ball with the kind of precision that set up enough good looks to make for a 57.9-percent night shooting the ball.

“Their guards are terrific,” Huggins said of a Texas backcourt that had three members score in double figures, led by 18 points from sophomore Javan Felix. “They’re tough to keep out of the lane. I don’t think anybody has kept them out of the lane all year.”

Huggins cited Texas’ size and length as a problem. With the Mountaineers unable to get anything going to on the interior it made it easier for the Longhorns to defend Juwan Staten.

The Big 12’s second-leading scorer finished with 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting with most of his points coming after the game had been decided. Nine of Eron Harris’ 21 points came from the free-throw line, making for a tough night for the Mountaineers when two of the team’s top players combined to shoot 11-for-31 from the field.

“I don’t care who you are when you miss shot after shot,” Huggins said. “We kept waiting for Eron and (Staten) to make a shot and they had tough days.”

The Mountaineers will have to stew on this loss for a while. WVU is off until next Saturday when it returns home to face Baylor. With only five games left in the regular season, Huggins has some time to get his team to regroup and finish out a schedule that includes road trips to Iowa State (Feb. 26) and Oklahoma (March 5) and the regular season finale at home against Kansas (March 8).

“We’ve got to do a better job of helping each other, making better [defensive] rotations,” Huggins said. “Doing what you’re supposed to be doing all the time.”

—Jeff Howe

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Comments

  • Leroy j Gibbs

    Huggins is old school. He won't powder his players ass like other coaches. It's hard to recruit to wvu

    • Aaron

      I couldn't agree more and given the state of today's player, it's not always a match made in heaven.

      I think the one thing that has had the most profound effect on the college game is AAU summer ball.

      You get John Wooden wannabes who get a little money and take these kids all over the country to tournaments sponsored by shoe companies, with little to no supervision in the name of competition.

      What they really do though is create a player who jumps from team to team on a whim, based on something as petty as a shoe color and if a coach tries to instill discipline, they're gone.

      Most of these kids are treated like princes and once they find someone like Huggins who demands they do more then hoist a 3 or drive for a dunk, they hang their head and pout and/or tuck tail and run.

      What they don't understand though is at the D-1 level, showing up won't cut it anymore and if they really want to move their game on, they should listen to Huggins and his coaches because they know what it takes to make a D-1 and beyond basketball player.

      The other side of AAU is that it exposes kids to so much that a young teenager should never see. It is nothing to here of kids as young as 13, 14 and 15 snorting cocaine or popping pills because of the availability of such drugs on the AAU circuit. It's been the downfall of more than a few basketball players.

  • pghmountaineer

    Check out what Dalton Pepper did for Temple yesterday.

    • Aaron

      He hit 2-9 from 3's and took 19 shots to score 24 points.

    • mad hatter

      pepper could have been a big help for us,, but,, huggie saw fit to run him off,,, just another screwed up recruiting yr....

    • Oh Did Ya?

      Check out Temple's record.

  • just me

    Remember the incident at the Pittsburgh Airport with Beilein so he's not perfect.

  • WVcoal

    This team is not good enough to buy into the hype they received from winning a few good games. I really like how far they have come since the beginning of the season, but if they want to win games they have to give 100% for 40 minutes and sometimes longer than 40 minutes. The Texas game is over let's focus on beating Baylor on Saturday.

    • Aaron

      I would venture to say the Iowa State program would disagree with your assessment. As would likely the rest of the Big 12, including Texas, thus far the only key to defeat West Virginia twice with little doubt as to the outcome.

  • mad hatter

    again, a radio show airing at a bar and lounge, how appropriate for bobby.

  • just me

    North Carolina is down Wake Forrest ,Maryland,St. Johns, Gtown UCLA,UNLV, Tenn.,Notre Dame, LSU, Indiana, and many more use to be very good basketball programs so it happens. WVU is closer to getting back than most of these programs.Also Michigan lost again if they where in the Big 12 record would be closer tp 15-10.

  • mad hatter

    i'll take Beilein over Huggins any day of the week ..
    You never hear about Beilein being drunk and passed out under a stop light, or falling down in Vegas or on tarmacks.
    Beilein is a very classy, smart man and just because he dumped WVU for UM doesn't bother me one bit.
    He had to follow his dreams and what is so wrong with that,,, that's a rhetorical statement you know,,,but do you concur.

    • WVcoal

      hatter -- every time you post you show the world that you know absolutely nothing about college basketball. I like Beilein, but he can't hold Huggins jockstrap.

      • Aaron

        I don't know about carrying ones jockstrap as both are excellent basketball coaches. They just happened to coach a different style of basketball.

        Beilein has been fortunate during tenure at Michigan and signing some very good second-generation players.

        Michigan was also fortunate last year in their draw that led to their run to the 10 national championship and the fact that they got very hot from outside the three-point line with some very good shooters at the right time.

        Average basketball fans do not realize just how similar to last years to Michigan team this years West Virginia team really is.

        • Barry

          I agree. They are similar

      • Barry

        That is why Beilein coached a team in the National Championship and Huggins never has, right?

      • mad hatter

        wv coal, every time you post you show the world you know absolutely nothing about college basketball.but he can't hold beilein's jockstrap.

        • WVcoal

          Very original hatter -- nice. Obviously you do not like Huggins. The fact that you do not like him clouds your ability to objectively judge how much Huggins means not only to WVU's basketball team, but to the State of West Virginia.

  • Barry

    Aaron, I thought we were having dialogue below.

    Why did so many never improve? Why did so many transfer?

    • Aaron

      I see you resorted to the same logic as others on this subject. They're not here so it has to be Coach Huggins fault.

      At any rate, you have yet to come close to substantiating your claim that Huggins cannot recruit. Since he's been a West Virginia he has brought in a five-star recruit and depending on who you believe, 6-8 4-star recruits.

      Anything else?

      • Barry

        Listen.... I like the players that Huggins brought in. Please stop acussing me of something that I don't believe.

        If Huggins has a failure to recruit it is recruiting guys with questionable character or grades.

        I like this team. The failure is running guys off and them not improving.

        • Aaron

          As to improving, anyone who knows anything about basketball knows this team has improved tremendously since November. If you're claiming they haven't, I would have to question your basketball knowledge.

          • Aaron

            Is there some reason you cannot remember the name David Nysurak? And yes, I’m saying that when you lose all 3 members from one recruiting class and then within 12 months, lose 7 more players to graduation and transfers, it can and does lead to everything I described. Is that really such a hard concept for you?

            I'll ask you this. If Huggins has trouble recruiting, why is he still getting 4 star recruits to come to Morgantown?

          • Barry

            So you are saying because we lost Noah Cottrill and Darrious Curry (a 2 star recruit) in 2010 caused the mass exodus last year. I am sorry, but that is reaching to say the least.

            As I stated earlier 2011 had some good players that never improved and transfered. When Hinds, Browne, Brown, and Miles were freshmen we went to the NCAA Tournament (even though I believe the team regressed as the year went on) and won 19 games. That year these players seen a good amount of playing time. The next year they seen less playing time and we won 13 games.

            It looks to me like you are now saying Huggins had problems recruiting (or bad luck). Maybe you should look at your previous comments to striaghten yourself out. As you stated earlier, we had some good recruits.

            I will say it again. I think the players were good. There is something else that would account for the mass exodus. You just don't want to admit what it was. I am willing to give credit to Huggins where it is due, but there are some who will not give him any of the blame, only praise. These same "True Fans" (probably not you) will bash 18 to 22 year olds without reservation and that is sad.

          • Aaron

            I think losing one recruiting class due to reasons beyond his control had Huggins giving scholarships the next year that he normally wouldn't have given to players that he normally wouldn't have recruited.

            A big part of that was that he needed bodies for practice. It's hard to get ready for games when you don't have a able-bodied competition to put out there against your top 7or 8 in practice.

            Some of those kids came to West Virginia expecting to see the floor when in truth they were meant to do anything more than push starters and help them improve.

            If you look at the teams after the final 4 team, they've had no one pushing them on a day-to-day basis. That's one of the ways players get better, is the competition they face in practice every day.

            West Virginia's players have been practicing against walk-ona, rec league kids and coaches. The best coaching in the world cannot compensate for that.

          • Barry

            I am not saying this team hasn't improved. I think there were several years where Huggins' teams did not, but this team is much better. Huggins deserves alot of credit for that.

            Huggins knows basketball there is no doubt, but he is an abrasive bully. Sorry if that offends anyone, but just watch him. I thought Pepper had a tremendous amount of potential and I watched closely to the way Huggins treated him and it wasn't pretty.

            You have to admit there were problems with this program, why else would 5 players leave in one year.

            Lastly, I don't think that WVU is so desperate that we need to recruit felons. That bothers me the most.

        • Aaron

          You're going to have to elaborate on the character issues and who you specifically are referring to.

  • Barry

    Aaron, here are a list of recruits from according to ESPN in previous years:

    2009: Kilicli, never improved
    Jennings, quit during a game
    Pepper, transfer

    2010: Noreen, never improved
    Cottrill, never came
    Curry, never came

    2011: Hinds, transfer
    Aaron Browne, transfer
    Miles, transfer
    Frosythe, transfer
    Rutledge, never improved

    I agree with you I think the recruits are fine. Especially in 2011. So why the mass exodus?

    And to your request of me going to personally talk to Huggins, you apparently know, as well as I do that he would cuss and bully me the way he does his players, and I don't want either of us going to jail. I don't think that I could take it the way they do.

    • mad hatter

      and what was tommy mccune's problem,,, was he the one who got arrested... another classy recruit of huggins.. this is what i mean,. where's some mcdonald all americans,,, where
      s a five star that didn't come to wvu by default.

      • Barry

        I just wish we would get to the point where we didn't recruit felons and guys who can't make the grades.

        • Aaron

          Who's the felon?

          • Aaron

            I think you need to do some research. He was charged with 3 felonies but plead no contest to one misdemeanor. While I'm not excusing what he did, I'm not going to hand a Scarlet letter around his neck for the rest of his life either.

          • Barry

            Holton, haven't you heard?

        • mad hatter

          huggins has established that ,that is mainly the only type ,that is good, to come to wvu...the team always is a refection of the HC

    • Aaron

      Dalton Pepper transferred due to an illness of his father.

      Kilichi is your opinion but it should be noted that he had multiple offers, including UCLA and UNC before choosing WVU and he graduated.

      Cotttill enrolled and was a member of the team but was dismissed for conduct unbecoming a Mountaineer.

      Curry did not clear medical waivers

      You forgot David Nysaryuk from 2010 who is now at Cincinnati. He did not meet eligibility requirements mostly due to trouble with testing because it was given in English, a language he struggled with. It should be noted that he speaks 4 or 5 other languages.

      As to the transfers, you can ask Huggins Thursday night if you so choose. Let me know as I would love to attend the radio show if you are going.

      • mad hatter

        dalton used that as his excuse, he simply didn't like huggin's way.
        Kilichi never improved and was a cancer to the team , we would have been better off if he did transfer.
        Some of these no shows or transfers will simply due to poor recruiting and investigating the backgrounds and academic records,, They were recruited out of desperation, cause the man in charge did not recruit and did not does the due diligence on the recruits...
        In yrs. past, maybe huggins was a good rrecruiter, but he has proven that he can't stand up to the competiton due mainly to his reputation.

      • Barry

        Like I said, I am not going to a bar and getting into a fight, which is what would happen. Next, I agree that we got some good recruits. I have never bashed the players and never will. Finally, why did so many players not improve? Why did so many transfer?

        • Aaron

          Why would you have to get in a fight? Besides, I doubt you'd have much to worry about it. I doubt you could get a response out if Hugs but if you were belligerent enough that he wanted to whip your butt, I don't think his security would let him.

          The hits, him to you and you to floor wouldn't be worth the liability for him. Besides, I'm sure he's dismissed much smarter fans than you over the years.

          As to why the players left, besides Cottrill, all I could do is repeat the same rumors we've all heard before and I honestly don't see any reason in repeating speculation.

          I will say that had Hinds lived up to his billing, he could have really helped this team this year but not as much as Forsythe or Dan Jennings had they lived up to theirs.

          I think the one player that could have shinned this year was Aaron Browne but for some reason, he decided the pastures were greener elsewhere. Not sure what his issues were but playing time wasn't one of them.

          Rutledge was a juco player and only brought in because a scholarship was available and worth the chance for 2 years. I doubt Hugs woukd have offered had he 4 years of eligibility.

          I'm surprised you didn't mention Tommie McCune, another ;-star recruit who transferred and has since been dismissed by Oakland.

          To that end, I know some of you guys think a coach should know EVERYTHING about a potential recruit but the truth is that's simply not possible, particularly with the tighter restrictions on who and when a coach can talk to recruits.

          Kids are going to lie, they're going to hide things, they're going to make mistakes and in the end, it's almost a crapshoot on some of these kids.

          Sometimes a school gets lucky as Marshall did with the tremendous risk they took on RaKeem Cato or as Iowa State has with The Kane kid and sometimes it simply doesn't work out.

          I will say that Huggins is now graduating students and has a higher retention rate than many coaches, which is two things I wondered about when he was hired.

          Despite what you naysayers think, it's still a great day to be a Mountaineer.

          • Aaron

            They didn't lose 2 recruits, they lost 3 recruits and then they graduated half their team. In the course of a year, they were down 9 or 10 players, depending on whether or not you count walk-ons. Very few teams can have that kind of turnover and compete, particularly when your have 2 transfers in as the centerpiece of your team.

          • Barry

            Like I said above. You are saying that because we lost two recruits in 2010 Huggins went out and got a bunch of guys that weren't really good enough (but he is still a good recruiter) even though these guys helped win 19 games as freshmen.

            I am sorry and I don't mean to be disrespectful (as your comments are usually well thought out, even if I disagree) but "that don't make no sense".

          • Aaron

            Given the reason that those players were at WVU, I disagree. I don't think it's improbable at all. I think once kids realize that they're not going to see the floor during games, the likelihood that they would leave increases dramatically, particularly if they do so in the first two years when they can go somewhere else and salvage two or three years of playing time.

            Keaton Miles said that the fact that so many that came in with him were leaving, made it easier for him to so I think that adds to the likelihood that multiple players do leave.

            I'm not sure what goes on daily in the West Virginia basketball program and I don't claim to know what's going on. I do know that the people in charge of the program, Luck and Huggins, are very smart individuals who know what they're doing. I trust that they'll get it right.

          • Barry

            Aaron, losing 5 players in 1 year for the same reason especially when we need depth is highly improbable.

            You seem way too smart to believe that.

            I believe it is simple. Those players wanted to get as far away from this coach as they could.

          • Aaron

            If you Google each player who left, most said publicly that they talked to Huggins and the coaching staff about playing time and why they want to see any.

            Four of the players were told that unless they improved defense and rebounding they would not see increased minutes. Instead of working to improve defense and rebounding to increase minutes they chose to go elsewhere as is their prerogative.

            Please explain to me how that is Coach Huggins running people off.

          • Barry

            Please help me understand. What is the common theme. I would love to know.

          • Aaron

            If you read the stories from the various transfers, they read a common theme but none of that matters, it has to be the coaches fault.

          • Barry

            All I know is this. WVU had a very high % of transfers and players who never played. Probably around 70% at one point. That reflects on the coach. I understand that things happen and I am thankful that things appear to be getting better, but, as a Mountaineer fan I am concerned that this could happen again. We have a felon on the team waiting to play next year and I have my doubts.

            I personally think that Huggins is so harsh that he drove most of those players away, which I think is a shame. It is highly improbable that all these players left at the same time for different reasons.

    • pghmountaineer

      Barry, Well said.

  • pghmountaineer

    Unfortunately, our major sports programs have become stuck in mediocrity. It is what it is.
    These kids are trying there best. We just don't have the horses to sustain a winning program.
    Probably don't have the coaches either.
    Get used to it.

    • Aaron

      Changing one's name without changing the writing content or the acerage tone of the comment does not disguise who you really are. Just thought you'd like to know that.

      • Barry

        I agree. Shawn quits posting and you start. You have the same writing syle and make the same points......Strange.

    • mad hatter

      i concur,,, huggins is having an extremely hard time recruiting top notch players, with no baggage, and so we settle for holton/macon type recruits..

      now we have some good hard workers, but none on par with Duke , Texas etc.

      Regretfully, with huggin's lifetime contract , that his buddy ollie gave to him, we are stuck with him until he quits ,and at his salary, why quit,, we just lose and lose,,,,right now we are two games better than last yr...which was a complete disaster, so, it ain't sayin much

  • Aaron

    For those out there who do not understand how college recruiting works, here's a good place to start.

    http://www.aaaa-sa.org/College%20PDF/NCAA%20Recruiting%20Regulations.pdf

    • Aaron

      You should read this and take it up with Coach Huggins Thursday night at his radio show.

  • mad hatter

    everyone is saying that holton and macon are the answer to our problems and yet not one poster has seen either play in a game against the opponents we play against.
    this is just an alibi,,making an excuse for our current situation .. How bout let's put the blame where it needs to be placed... how bout the CEO, bob huggins. No,, some of you say, let's drink the kool aid and all is well... let's see, a 24 million dollar practice facility and we can't recruit any big time mcdonald's all american to play at wvu? Now morgantown isn't the big time city, and it sure is hilly, but with a great hof coach and great practice facility and great fans,,, where's the beef?
    Look only to rich man Huggins for the answers,,, before you recruit , how bout looking into the history of these recruits a little deeper,, find out why no one else wanted them and look into yourself and figure out why once you get to wvu , they won't stay.

    • Big Larry

      "Love your Work"

  • Aaron

    I would like remind those who never seem to have anything positive to say that Coach Huggins is part of weekly radio show at Kegler's Bar and Lounge and should be there this Thursday night for those wanting to know why he's made the decisions he has. If some of you are going, I would love to watch you school Coach Huggins. Please let me know if you'll be attending.

    • mad hatter

      isn't it appropiate that his radio show is aired at a bar and lounge,,,home sweet home

  • Oh Did Ya?

    Although I think we will be very good next year, I found it interesting that Texas does not have 1 senior either so that entire roster is back and many of the other Big 12 bball teams are very young also.

    • mad hatter

      i think if you look at the big 12 as a whole, it is young and over the next couple of yrs, i wouldn't be surprised to see a NC team come from the big 12

  • OKANYDAY

    Be thankful for our last 4 out of 5 wins. Look forward for WVU to win the majority of their remaining conference games. I've seen a big turnaround in our guys attitude to win.