The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 29, 2013

Another loss

No. 2 Kansas outlasts West Virginia, 61-56

MORGANTOWN — Aaric Murray put on a spectacular show off the bench and West Virginia cut a 15-point deficit to two points late in the second half but could not find a way to get past No. 1/2 Kansas, losing, 61-56, before a wild crowd.

Murray scored 17 points, hit 3 of 5 3-point shots and grabbed seven rebounds as he almost inspired the Mountaineers to a stunning upset.

Instead, the Jayhawks of Coach Bill Self won their 18th consecutive game, giving them a 19-1 record.

Seven-foot Jeff Withey finished with 15 points and seven rebounds while Travis Releford also scored 15 for the Jayhawks.

The students gathered early and ready to put on their game face for national television, and keeping with the “Stripe the Coliseum” theme for the evening they had themselves a blue section between two gold sections.

If Kansas was going to win this one, it would not be their fault as they were ready to rock ’n’ roll, some shirtless, some dressed in the zaniest of costumes including Batman and Batgirl, some with blown-up pictures not only of basketball coach Bob Huggins’ head, player Deniz Kilicli’s head but also of football coach Dana Holgorsen’s.

The town was not quite as excited about the game as the students, tickets being offered online for $2 just hours before the game.

Kansas had been promoted to No. 1 in the nation in the coaches’ poll earlier in the day, sitting second in the AP poll, making them the kind of basketball royalty that qualified to have Brent Musberger, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe be assigned the Big Monday announcing chores by ESPN.

All the parts were in place for a classic, beginning with Matt Jones’ emotional rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the anticipation of the Red Panda Acrobat’s always entertaining halftime show.

Only Huggins’ athletes had to cooperate.

That seemed to be the most difficult aspect of the evening as Kansas completely dominated the early going. It took WVU 7 minutes and 24 seconds before it could score a basket, that coming on a Deniz Kilicli hook, and with 6 minutes left in the half the Mountaineers trailed by 15, 29-14.

But Huggins continued moving players in and out, trying to find some combination that would slow the Jayhawks and there came a time when Murray asserted himself and changed the flow.

With 4:30 remaining in the half, Murray stepped in front of a crosscourt pass and stole it, broke free ahead of everyone and hit a thunderous dunk that cut the Kansas lead to 30-20, bringing a roar from the crowd that only increased in intensity when guard Gary Browne made another steal,

drove on the 7-foot Jeff Withey and fed Murray, who not only hit the layup but drew a foul and it was 30-23.

That was as close as WVU would get, the half ending with KU in front 38-30, but WVU had established that it could play with the Jayhawks, Murray offsetting Withey’s 13 points with nine of his own.

Murray’s play carried over into the second half as he hit WVU’s first basket, his second 3 of the night, and then made a steal as the crowd became more jacked up, helped no end by the return of the “YMCA” during the first time out and a fan holding aloft a sign that read:

I STILL

HATE PITT

The Mountaineers eventually cut the lead to two points but could never get over the hump.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • WVU #6 SHORTS -TS.jpg WVU opens practice with different feel: VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.
    Of course, he would note, “Everybody in the country has a good first day.”
    But somehow, this was different.
    Very different.

    August 1, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia University quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld what should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    August 1, 2014

  • WVU basketball non-conference schedule released

    After playing challenging schedules along with the tough Big 12 road, West Virginia University has backed off some this season on its non-conference schedule that was released Thursday.
    West Virginia is coming off a 17-16 season in which it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the NIT.

    August 1, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads