Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Mountaineers fall to 4-4 after a loss to the Dukes in the Consol Energy Center.
That was flat-out embarrassing. Seriously. I'm embarrassed to be a WVU fan right now. A great night to be a Mountaineer, it is not. WVU blew a 13 point halftime lead to a VERY average (at best) Duquesne team that shot 56% from the free throw line and 16% from behind the arc. WVU won the turnover battle and committed fewer fouls than the hosts, but shot only 33% from the floor (22% from three) and lost the rebounding battle 38-34.
The problem? Defensive lapses and a lack of hustle or toughness seems to be the primary culprits. I didn't get to watch the first half due to a prior work obligation, but the second half was flat out ugly. The Dukes shot layup after layup to take the lead with under 10 minutes to go, and the Mountaineers had no answer on the offensive end. Just no toughness, no will to win.
Part of the issue is we don't have any consistency. Well, other than Kevin Noreen who played his ass off once again with 7 rebounds and 4 points on 2/3 shooting in 24 minutes of action. Yes, Aaric Murray was in foul trouble, which definitely hurt. But there is no excuse for the lackadaisical defense we played in the second half. What, after an aberrational home win over Virginia Tech we think we can just show up and beat a division 1 opponent? WRONG!
I usually don't like to do this, but I have to question Bob Huggins right now. I have to question him because Deniz Kilicli shouldn't be seeing the court for WVU anymore. His play over his entire four year career has been nothing short of horrible. Yes, he has shown flashes of brilliance. But he has never been consistent, never improved, and never been at his best in the clutch. On a series of key possessions toward the end of the game with the score tied, Kilicli committed a turnover, allowed a layup, missed a jumper, allowed another layup, missed a layup, and missed the front end of a 1-1. On the ensuing possession, Duquesne made yet another layup to go up 6. Unbelievable.
In 9 more minutes of action, Deniz took 5 more shots than Kevin Noreen, finished with 2 more points (6 to 4), the same number of assists and steals (1 each), and had 2 fewer rebounds (5 to 7). Explain to me why Kilicli is starting and playing significant minutes ahead of both Noreen and Murray (2 points and 4 rebounds in 13 minutes of foul plagued action)? Especially against a smaller Duquesne lineup? We are worse off with him on the floor, and if he's on the bench, at least our younger players can get much needed experience. That one is on you, Huggins.
I may not even watch Saturday night against Michigan - that one could get ugly quick.