USA TODAY Sports
Down by 20 with 3:22 to go, the Mountaineers used a 10-0 rally to create havoc in Vegas. The rest of the game sucked.
It wasn't always pretty. In fact, most of the time it was downright ugly. The game opened with a Jabarie Hinds foul, and several WVU misses and defensive lapses later, the Mountaineers found themselves in a 20-6 hole midway through the first half. The refs set the tone, blowing whistles early and often, sometimes out of just pure boredom if more than a minute of game clock went by without someone hearing from the zebras. And it wasn't just WVU on the receiving end, either. Every time there was a phantom offensive foul on the Mountaineers, the refs turned around and called something equally atrocious at the other end. It's like they have no regard for those of us in the eastern time zone with jobs and just want to see how choppy they can make Big 12 conference games with incessant and inexplicable interruptions.
But in the end, the Mounties found a way to force a push out of a desperate situation with just under 3 and a half minutes to go. Down 20 at the 3:22 mark of the second half, a series of fouls, missed shots and turnovers plus a dash of T3RRY H3ND3RSON turned that gap into a "respectable" 10 point margin for the PUSH. I told my dad I'd consider anything under 10 a win tonight, and, well, drinks are on the house tonight boys.
Deniz Kilicli looked like his freshman self again, which is really saying something after four years of intermittent development and lameassery. He led the Mountaineers with 16 points while no other player finished in double figures. Matt Humphrey and Keaton Miles saw their first significant action in...well...a long time. Maybe the Iowa State game? Eron Harris had a remarkable game in that he failed to score a point before notably fouling out on a technical after 8 minutes of action. The resulting free throws pushed the Wildcat lead from 14 to 18, but obviously there was no effect on the final outcome. And hey, at least he showed some emotion as the visitors committed the same mistakes we've committed all season: turning it over, getting lazy on rebounding, failing to guard, and generally being unable to create any offense. I really do think Harris and Henderson have a bright future. They're versatile, they can shoot, and they compete. I'll take that combination any day as they learn to defend and distribute. Wish I could say the same for the rest of the team.
Heck, for the third game in a row the star of the game was the token white shooter on the opposing team. It's like they didn't cut and paste from the previous scouting report that said GUARD THE 6' WHITE GUY BEYOND THE ARC. You'd think we would figure that out after three straight games but at this point we are who we are. And you don't need to me to tell you that's not very good. Speaking of which, how bad are Texas, Texas Tech and TCU that we swept all three of those teams? Yeesh.
I'll have an update of our, uh, bubble chances later in the week. For now, just hope that you didn't put any money on the K-state (-10) line and give thanks that we're not Pitt (they lost at home to Notre Dame 51-42...and they're still Pitt).