The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 13, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Near-upset ends with ugly finish

MORGANTOWN — It was a play that Bob Huggins had confidence in. Why not, he’d run it before how many times and it had worked to win quite a few games, so now as he looked down his bench and saw the player who had made it work all those times, why not believe it had one more heroic run in it.

His West Virginia Mountaineers were trailing Kansas State, a team ranked as high as No. 18 and possessing a 12-2 record, to say nothing of a one-point lead at the moment, but it was their ball out of bounds.

If he could have, Huggins would have run over and grabbed Da’Sean Butler, told him to get his butt into the locker room, put on a No. 1 uniform and get in there because this play was going to be for him just as it had been during the miracle run to the Final Four.

Perfect timing it would have been, really, for this was a day when at halftime they marched a hundred or so Mountaineer stars of the past onto the court, honoring them from the 1940s to the 2000s, from Lowes Moore to Joe Mazzulla and so many others that we have neither time nor space to name them all.

Butler was one of them, but now he was learning a new trade as a graduate assistant and while he had spent so much practice time working with players about how to handle things in the clutch, about how to win games when the final seconds are clicking down … he could do nothing but cheer this one on.

Huggins had been putting in out of bounds plays all day that had baffled Kansas State. Even Bruce Weber, the opposing coach, would admit to that.

“The kind of picked us apart, after every timeout they ran something to get an easy layup and we didn’t react well,” Weber said.

But now the game was on the line. Gary Browne, who was having one of his finest games of the season, was to get the ball to Jabarie Hinds, who would be Da’Sean Butler in the 2013 version of the play.

Yes, that Jabarie Hinds, the one who had been having so much trouble shooting the basketball all season. In his last start, against Texas, he had made 4 of 18 field goal tries, which should give you an idea of how it’s gone.

But this had been a turnaround game, 6 for 10 from the field, a season-high 15 points.

He was going to be the man and, he would say later, he was sure of one thing and that was “I was going to get a shot off.”

The best laid plans of ….

Browne shot the ball toward him but two events happened almost simultaneously to twist fate.

Kansas State’s Angel Rodriguez got a fingertip on the ball. He didn’t dramatically deflect it, but he did change the course of the game, if not the ball.

At that very moment Hinds also lost his footing for just a second.

“I think I slipped or something and Angel got his hand on the ball,” he said. “The ball hit my hand, I just couldn’t grab it.”

 It rolled into the backcourt as Browne went chasing after it, battling Rodriguez and winning the battle.

Now he had to be Da’Sean Butler and improvise.

They teach you in a situation like that you go to the basket … hard.

The problem was that the clock was ticking and the big folks, of whom Kansas State has many, were there waiting for the WVU guard.

He did what he was supposed to do, just not what he could do.

He tried to sky above the tree tops, hoping for a foul or a miracle.

He got neither, just a shot blocked by Shane Southwell, who had nine seconds earlier made a pair of free throws that had given K-State the lead.

“We just didn’t get the ball in. We wasted like three seconds,” said Eron Harris, who with 21 seconds left had hit yet another clutch baseline jumper to give the Mountaineers a brief lead. “We still got a decent shot up.”

And so it ended, ended in despair, a near upset by a team that seems to be on the rise but has to start to string some wins together before the season gets away from it.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter@bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos