This is not headline news anymore, yet it screams to be said over and over.
West Virginia can’t shoot the basketball.
They prove that game after game after game unless something freakish happens, like Kevin Noreen stepping outside and making the 3-point shots the guards can’t make.
This time they proved it against a team that really doesn’t have any business beating them, a Duquesne team that lost much of its talent and ran off its coach, a fellow we all know down West Virginia’s way named Ron Everhart.
Well, even Everhart knowing the Dukes, even teaming that with a Hall of Fame coach in Bob Huggins, doesn’t help if no one can put the ball in the basket, the Mountaineers scoring all of 20 second-half points in blowing a 15-point lead and losing, 60-56, their fourth loss in eight games.
Oh, yes, ahead on Saturday?
Just John Beilein’s undefeated and No. 3 ranked Michigan team.
Now there are any number of ways to look at what transpired here at the Consol Energy Center. You could say that WVU didn’t play defense in the second half, letting the Dukes hit 53.6 percent of their shots ... but that wouldn’t be right.
See, it was hard for them to miss as they were grabbing rebounds — outrebounding WVU, 54-39 — and running down the court on fast break, scoring 18 of their points off breaks.
What would be right though would be to point out that WVU shot 28.1 percent from the field in the second half, 33.3 percent for the game.
They shoot the way the WVU football team plays defense.
Jabarie Hinds has become the poster child for it, going 1 for 7 shooting this time and now having hit 22 of 65 shots for the season, just barely better than 33.3 percent ... which, no matter how you slice it, is unacceptable.
When breaking down the game, Coach Bob Huggins eventually arrived at one point.
“They made their shots. We didn’t,” he said.
It isn’t that they are trying. In fact, they might be trying too hard, but the more they miss, the more the opposition packs people inside around Deniz Kilicli and renders him useless, and there is only one way to fix that and that’s to make some jump shots.
“If not, they are just going to stand in there,” Huggins said.
Kilicli is tiring of it, in part because the way he is being played is making him look bad ... or is it the way he’s playing doing that?
It’s hard to tell, but Huggins did note that “we got a guy playing 33 minutes and he got one defensive rebound ... and he’s the biggest guy on the floor.”
Kilicli was the only one to fit that description.
“The last two games they have put everyone in the paint and they will keep doing it until we make some shots,” he said.
The first half was ugly basketball but WVU did use its defense to shut down the Duquesne shooters and to get some transition baskets, making it look as if it didn’t matter if they were sharp from the outside.
At halftime they led, 36-23, and guards Juwan Staten and Gary Browne each hade 10 ponts, Brown even hitting two of the three 3s WVU would score in the first half.
Then came the second half. Staten scored three points, Browne none. WVU had only one 2, that from Matt Humphrey who saw 14 minutes of playing time and couldn’t quite understand what happened.
“We got complacent,” he theorized. “We were up 13, 15, whatever it was, you don’t lose games like that ... not in college basketball.”
But WVU lost this one.
“We didn’t get back in transition. We didn’t rebound,” Humphrey said. “That’s not how we play. That’s a recipe to lose.”
But that’s just what was being cooked up on the court before 6,244 fans, most of them West Virginia fans who well may have saved the day by coming up early to Christmas shop.
Duquesne simply began hitting shots and you could see their confidence soar. This was a team that went 0-of-8 on 3s in the first half who canned 3 of 11 in the second half, a team that sliced into that 13-point halftime deficit until it was 53-53, then took the lead on a pair of transition layups by Errick Colter.
West Virginia could never get the lead back.
It came down to one final chance, down by 3, four seconds left and Browne at the free throw line.
He missed the first, then intentionally tried to miss the second, as if he had to, the shot being so far off it didn’t hit the rim and went over to Duquesne, which made one final free throw to ice it at 60-57.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
This is not headline news anymore, yet it screams to be said over and over.
North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament
A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.
Brewers’ Lohse beats Pirates again
Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.
Bucs trade for Mets’ Ike Davis
The New York Mets traded slumping first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night, parting ways with a power hitter who proved to be too inconsistent at the plate.
Pittsburgh sent minor league right-hander Zack Thornton and a player to be named to New York for the 27-year-old Davis.
Penguins wary of Blue Jackets after Game 1 escape
Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters
Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.
East tennis splits with Polar Bears
Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules
At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.
McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over Brewers
Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma
Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.
FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing
Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.
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