Tim Murphy must be reaching the heights of frustration with his Fairmont State men’s basketball team. The Falcons, now 7-7, have played very poorly several times in games in which they should have fared much better. And in several others, they haven’t been able to “put its opponent away” in the closing minutes.

Blowing that 11-point lead in the final 5:39 against Salem really had to hurt. Missing 11 of 22 foul shots and committing 21 turnovers proved costly. Salem was 8-for-13 at the line and committed only nine turnovers. That’s the John Beilein-style of basketball on turnovers. ... But the big thing in our estimation was the fact the Falcons did not score from the floor in the final five minutes. Ouch!

A young man who gave a strong performance off the bench was senior James Carpenter, a husky 6-6 product from Spencer who was the game’s leading rebounder with 11 and contributed five points. Carpenter missed most of the season last year because of injury. Some fans may not know he stands as Roane County High School’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. ... Cody Loughry from Grafton, a transfer from West Liberty, continues to play well. He had 16 points off the bench against Salem. ...

Fairmont State’s women’s team is 11-3 coming off a 74-43 thumping of Salem Saturday, sparked by a 21-point showing from senior Stevie Benson. Benson leads the team in 3-point baskets with 47. ... Danielle Cornish continues to be a team leader and we know coach Steve McDonald is happy she still has one more season to wear the Maroon and White. ... Both Falcon teams play just once this week — facing Shepherd here Thursday evening. ...

Rich Rodriguez may have been seen smiling (quite unusual) on TV much of the time while coaching in Sunday’s Hula Bowl football game in Honolulu, but the WVU coach probably isn’t overly happy having to replace three of his assistants. Herb Hand announced Saturday he was joining Todd Graham on Tulsa’s staff. Earlier last week Butch Jones was appointed head coach at Central Michigan. The previous week Rick Trickett joined Bobby Bowden’s staff at Florida State. ...

Monongah area native Nick Saban has really been taking a hit on the media for statements made about having no interest in the Alabama coaching job and then leaving the Miami Dolphins to accept the Crimson Tide post. He had fulfilled two years in his five-year contract. But how about Todd Graham? He was coaching at Rice last week and signed a contract extension through 2012, but he then broke that contract after just two days to accept the Tulsa job. ...

FSHS swimming star Brett Parker is back in the pool again, and it was good to see his name in the results of the Polar Bear’s most recent meets — with both the boys’ and girls’ teams emerging victorious in the Nike Classic at Morgantown. Parker was late getting started because of surgery for an injury incurred on the soccer field, where he won All-State honors. ...

Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm were believed to be the leading candidates to replace Bill Cowher as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now with Whisenhunt, the Steelers’ offensive coordinator, going to the Arizona Cardinals, it would appear that Grimm, also a Steeler assistant, might be succeeding Cowher. Veteran columnist Bob Smizik wrote in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that “by taking their time, the Rooney family allowed both of their guys to get jobs. If they had named Grimm before Arizona made a decision, it’s possible Arizona would have balked at taking a coach already deemed not good enough by another team. ...

Former WVU star Kevin Pittsnogle scored 35 points and had a season-high 13 rebounds in the most recent loss for Pittsburgh. ... And the Steelers have signed former WVU quarterback Rasheed Marshall. ... Marshall upset Virginia Tech two weeks ago, but since then the Hokies have upset both Duke and North Carolina.

E-mail John Veasey at jcveasey@timeswv.com.

Recommended for you