Mountaineer Retweet: In Which We Look Positive Momentum In The Face & Tell It To Go Away

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountaineers try to keep up the momentum gained on their two game road trip, but the level of competition has stepped up as Big 12 play continues with a pair of games in Morgantown. Let's check in on the Twitters to get a closer look.

It's time for the second edition of the Basketball version of Mountaineer Retweet. Last week, the 'Eers got off to a 2-0 start in Big 12 play with wins over TCU and Texas Tech. Road conference wins are always great, no matter the opponent, but the road gets a little bit tougher this week with Marcus Smart's Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns heading to the WVU Coliseum.

Let's kick this off with Saturday's game against the Pokes.

Oklahoma State (1/11/14):

Heavy praise here from Huggs for Oklahoma State's superstar guard. Though, I can see where he's coming from with the comparison. Smart will likely be drafted around the same spot as Wade, and has an extremely similar skill set to the Heat's future Hall of Famer.


This team deserves a great crowd for this game, because the Coliseum as been lackluster (to say the least) this season, and there's no excuse both students and general public to show up strong this afternoon. It doesn't look to be a disappointment early.


Staten vs. Smart is going to be the crux of this game today, and it's likely where it'll be decided at the end of it all. Smart is the superstar with the NBA lottery projection, but Staten has been tremendous this year and draws first blood today.


And because of Staten's skill, the Pokes show some good strategy here. Harris is an elite shooter, but isn't nearly the same caliber of ball handler as Staten. Forcing Staten to play off the ball could be huge if OSU is able to keep this up.

This is legitimate strategy that WVU never seems to employ. Whether it's Brady Heslip, Dusty Hannahs, or Phil Forte, we make a habit of leaving them wiiiiiiiiiiiiiide open in the corner all the time.

The 'Eers continue to battle and keep the lead despite some great plays by the extremely talented Cowboys. Letting this Oklahoma State team go on any sort of extended run could be a death sentence for WVU.


Yup. That's a pretty normal Remi Dibo sequence. He needs to find some sort of consistency, because this team needs him to be able to play quality minutes, especially with the recent news of the failed #FreeHolton movement.

In other news #StillFreeHolton.

Flashing forward to the end of the half here, as both team go punch-counter punch down the stretch in an extremely entertaining half of basketball. We were on the short side of a last second before-half time shot Monday in Lubbock, but run a great play to get Devin Williams the bucket to take the lead into halftime over the 11th ranked team in America. Related:

#Analysis


Marcus Smart does some Marcus Smart things as WVU gets off to a sluggish offensive start to open the second half. The Mountaineers, specifically Staten, Harris, and Henderson, are going to have to be able to answer, because Mr. Smart will not be going away.

Wonderful sequence by T3RRY H3ND3ERSON. It's awesome to watch this kid when he's playing with confidence and he has it in spades today.

If there's one thing I don't like about Eron Harris, it's that he has a tendency to go #KobeSystem. Like Michael says, that works sometimes. Not today thus far.


Mainstream media attention! The improvements of this team are starting to be noticed as conference play starts, and that's big. Perception matters.


This is enormous, and I hate it. When you get a superstar like Smart on the bench with three fouls, you can't allow a 9-2 run. That's the time WVU needs to make a run of its own, and this missed opportunity could cost the 'Eers the game.

This is enormous. We've got to get to the line and we have to capitalize on the opportunities. Too often we lose game because we can't hit free throws down the stretch. That can't happen today.

PSA: This kid is gonna be outstanding. He makes some freshmen mistakes, but that's unavoidable. It's gonna be fun to watch Devin Williams develop in Morgantown.


Unreal sequence to answer a Smart three pointer that, honestly, felt like something that could have been a dagger.

WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN

PANTS OFF

pants back on : (

(He hasn't made a three since December 17th.)

I'll end this section with shameless self inclusion. But, we are so close. That was absolutely crushing end to an amazing basketball game featuring two of the best point guards in the country (I'm going there). But, this team can play with the best this league has to offer and will get wins against the top of the Big 12 this year. We've got to move on and beat Texas on Monday. Good teams recover from losses like this. Splitting this two game stretch is still a great result.

Texas Longhorns (1/13/14):


Couldn't have said it better. If this WVU team wants to make the leap from "kinda has potential" to "good," its gotta get this win tonight. Bouncing back from deflating losses is part of college basketball. Everyone's going to have clunkers over the course of a long season--it's how you respond as a team that matters.

Early on in the game, it looked like we had come out ready to compete with the 'Horns. As you know, however, this was not to last.


This is just not a recipe for success. Teams are finding out how much we really rely on the "Big Three" of Staten, Harris, and Henderson to score. If defenses just focus on those three, we don't really have much of a consistent offensive threat. Someone needs to step up. At times it looks like it could be Devin Williams, but he's still learning how to assert himself.

Hey, remember when I said how big of a missed opportunity it was when we failed to go on a big run when Marcus Smart was out with foul trouble in the second half on Saturday? Texas took that opportunity and ran with it with Eron on the bench. We lost against Ok. State during that run, Texas won this game last night with theirs.

Yup. Our lack of quality big men has been killer this year. I really believe in the talent of Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins, but they are just too inexperienced to be relied on as the two primary forwards on a good team.


You know, it would be really nice to have a certain someone playing right now.

#IDontCareWhatTheNCAASaidFreeHolton

Positives!

(This didn't happen again.)

Juwan Staten still finds someway to do fun things, even in the midst of our worst game of the year.

He's going to be the reason this team wins some games that it shouldn't down the stretch.

This is physically painful. Just agonizingly bad. Harris needs to shoot his way out of this slump if we're going to recover from these two losses. This team cannot be a two man show. On any given night, we need Staten, Harris, and Henderson to be clicking, and then have another player or two step up and play their role well to have a chance to beat the better teams in this league.

Obviously, this did not happen tonight, and we undid a whole lot of good that I think has been building up recently.

And there it is. WVU's first double digit loss of the year comes at an awful, awful time. After winning two games on the road, it was imperative that we at least split this set against the Cowboys and Longhorns. It didn't happen. I hope that I'm wrong, but I feel that the Oklahoma State loss could have been a turning point for this young team. It was so close to being "that one win" that would show a young, talented team that they could beat the best the Big 12 had to offer. To come so close and fail at the end may have proven disastrous to this team's psyche.

That being said, I still have hope and really like this team. There are many more opportunities, and Huggs finally has a group that is coachable and will actually listen to what a guy with 700+ wins has to say about basketball.

The Mountaineers hit the road this Saturday and head to a showdown in the Octogon of Doom against Kansas State Wildcats before heading home to host the second half of the season series against Texas Tech. Until then, keep tweeting and Let's Go Mountaineers!

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