The Times West Virginian

Sports

November 26, 2012

WVU loses to Oklahoma, 77-70

MORGANTOWN — It was a familiar feeling, the kind you get when you are driving down the highway and there’s a car in front of you but somehow, no matter what you do, you can’t get past.

You try to go out and around him but he picks up just enough speed not to let you by.

You slide into that passing lane only to see someone coming at you.

It is frustrating, so you wait and wait in hopes he will turn off, but there he is, going 60 in that 65 mph zone until you try to zip by, only to have him step on the gas again just enough to keep you where you are.

That was a feeling the West Virginia Mountaineers came to know in Sunday’s 77-70 loss to Oklahoma in the third-place game of the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The Sooners, whom they will come to know quite well this year with at least three meetings counting Big 12 regular season play and who knows how many times in the postseason, cut in front of them midway through the first half and the rest of the time it was as if the Mountaineers were traveling up a West Virginian mountain behind a fully loaded coal truck.

They fell 12 behind, then cut it to one, only to have Oklahoma spurt away again, taking the lead back to seven points, only to have the Mountaineers pull up alongside again, 42-41, then at 51-50, but WVU could not get by.

Each time they would miss a shot, make a mistake, turn the ball over, get backdoored for a Sooner dunk.

The sense was that sooner or later the Mountaineers would get hot, make a basket or two, force a turnover, make a stop, but it didn’t happen.

They drew even at 62-all, but hit a bump in the road that saw Oklahoma score seven of the next nine points.

They would look around and see things they couldn’t believe. They were bigger, stronger than Oklahoma, yet the Sooners had twice as many points in the paint than they had at that point.

How could that be? Yet there it was.

Still they hung in there, down six with 1:54 to play when they threw the ball into Deniz Kilicli down low.

Here is what the driver, Coach Bob Huggins, saw at that moment.

“Let’s be honest — it’s a close game. We still got a chance,” he said. “We throw it in to Deniz who is 6-10, I believe, and he gets fouled. If he makes his two free throws it’s a four-point game.”

But there’s a conversation about to ensue; the officials have seen something else other than the foul on Kilicli. Oklahoma’s Andrew Fitzgerald has taken a shot to his chin while fouling Kilicli.

On replay it didn’t look flagrant, but it didn’t have to.

“The rule is if you hit anybody with your elbow — not even your elbow, just your arm — then it’s a flagrant foul,” Huggins said. “Deniz got fouled, his arm came up and it catches the guy under the chin. I’m not sure it’s a good rule.”

It certainly wasn’t a good rule for Huggins, because his guy got fouled, made only one of two, but now Fitzgerald gets to shoot two free throws. Since he’s been hurt, however, they get to pick his replacement and Steven Pledger goes into the game, makes two of two, then the ball goes over to Oklahoma and they score again.

“We’re out of the game,” Huggins said.

Now it’s true that West Virginia didn’t lose its third game in four outings because of that one play. They played exactly as they have played for most of the year, which is inconsistently and badly.

Take Kilicli, who had no points in the first half and 12 in the second. Take Aaric Murray, the other big man expected to dominate inside. He was in foul trouble again and played only 22 minutes, during which he got 10 rebounds.

Take Jabarie Hinds, who again shot poorly, making but 3 of 10 and making just enough mistakes to cost the team, mistakes like failing to pull back when he was out of control on a 1-on-2 fast break, odds that are no good.

In truth, the statistics in this game say a lot, WVU trying to win while shooting 36.2 percent while allowing the other team to shoot 47.4 percent.

And then there’s the matter of finishing off plays, which is why WVU had only eight assists in this game and why they have 44 assists and 51 turnovers for the season.

They haven’t shot well, they haven’t passed well, they haven’t rebounded well and they haven’t defended well.

They are, it seems, caught up in the slow lane.

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

1
Text Only
Sports
  • 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

  • Post 17 #18-Post 29 catche copy.jpg Post 17 picks up much-needed win over Elkins

    After a rather sloppy Area tournament, Post 17 Fairmont managed to turn things around Thursday afternoon at Hawley Field in Morgantown, staying alive with a 4-2 win over Elkins in the American Legion state baseball tournament.
    While it’s usually hitting that gets Fairmont by, Thursday it was the pitching and the defense.

    August 1, 2014 5 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

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Bobby Bowden won the bad-and-good battle with rival Lou Holtz

    The recent announcement that West Virginia University is resuming a football relationship with North Carolina State triggered a most memorable bad-news, good-news battle.
    It was between two legendary coaches, WVU’s Bobby Bowden and N.C. State’s Lou Holtz back there in the 1970s.

    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

  • Steelers WR Antonio Brown aims for repeat of 2013

    Antonio Brown rolled up to the dorms at Saint Vincent College last week in a Mercedes conversion van.
    It’s fitting in a way. Five years into a blossoming career, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver is playing the role of dad — OK, maybe slightly older brother — to a group long on talent but short on experience.

    August 1, 2014

  • Mountaineers open practice with different feel

    West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.

    July 31, 2014

  • 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 quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld that should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    July 31, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Bobby Bowden won the bad-and-good battle with rival Lou Holtz

    The recent announcement that West Virginia University is resuming a football relationship with North Carolina State triggered a most memorable bad-news, good-news battle.

    July 31, 2014

  • Post 17 stays alive in American Legion state tournament

    After a rather sloppy Area tournament, Post 17 Fairmont managed to turn things around Thursday afternoon at Hawley Filed in Morgantown, staying alive with a 4-2 win over Elkins in the American Legion state baseball tournament.

    July 31, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings