I'd like to start this off by giving a whole lot of thanks to Brandon Priddy for creating the idea of Mountaineer Retweet and executing it so well during football season. I'm looking forward to continuing this for basketball, and I hope that I can pull this off half as well as Brandon did for football.
Basketball's version of Mountaineer Retweet is going to be a little bit different in that I'm going to cover a couple games at a time, starting with last Saturday's conference opener against TCU in Ft. Worth and continuing the road trip with Monday's game in Lubbock against Tubby Smith's Texas Tech Red Raiders.
WVU @ TCU (1/4/2014):
Making shots is pretty fun. This game was instantly 100% more watchable than either of last season's "basketball games" between the 'Eers and Frogs.
Don't understand why TCU would go 2-3 against #WVU. Eers can definitely shoot them out of it.— SmithFire13 (@SmithFire13) January 4, 2014
Playing off the above tweet stating the new-found ability to make shots, Smitty makes a point that has honestly been one of my favorite developments of this season. Previously, and especially last season, Mountaineer teams have been completely unable to shoot opposing defenses out of the 2-3. It got to the point that I wondered why teams ever lined up differently. This year, that problem has gone away with the emergence of shooters at almost every position.
The first half of #WVU-TCU was a red-hot team and one that battled. Good game. Same teams didn't come for 2nd half. Sloppy. WVU 47-41— Dave Hickman (@dphickman1) January 4, 2014
This is a testament to the 2013-2014 Mountaineer basketball team. They may not be great, they probably won't make the tournament (prove me wrong, guys, please), and they're going to go through some stretches of really bad basketball. But, damn, they compete game in and game out. That's the chief difference between 2012-13 and 2013-14. Last year's Mountaineers would have lost this game, I'm sure of it. They would have wilted under a hot shooting first half from TCU and dug themselves a hole they could score their way out of. This year's team fought, rolled with the punches, fought for a halftime lead, and eventually won.
— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) January 4, 2014
This has to change. Brandon Watkins needs to be able to get minutes on this team. Specifically, in my opinion, he needs to be able to take Kevin Noreen's minutes. I've been an enormous fan of Big Sweat and the #NORTHREEN movement, but he's been a liability all season. Watkins needs to be able to get on the floor and stay on it.
WVU defeats TCU 74-67.— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 4, 2014
Okay, this is kind of a cop-out. The second half of this game was a slow, sloppy affair and honestly, I wasn't able to watch it. We battled through some adversity to get a conference win on the road, and every single one of those--despite the quality of opponent--is important. It's time to move on to Lubbock and try to make it 2-0 for 2014.
WVU @ Texas Tech (1/6/2014):
Mountaineers begin practice for Texas Tech in Lubbock. pic.twitter.com/mjaTzadqTT— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 5, 2014
Bob Huggins compliments the Big 12 Conference for helping accommodate #WVU's travel.— Keenan Cummings (@rivalskeenan) January 6, 2014
Thank you, gracious Big 12 overlords. Getting to stay in Texas for a weekend instead of flying to Morgantown and back is huge and should definitely help ease the Big 12 growing pains that we faced last season. This has been something the Pac-10/12 has done forever and it irked me that we got the short end of the scheduling stick last season.
Fouls, TOs...about 2 minutes gone in this one and neither team with any momentum. 3-0 Texas Tech lead.— WVU IMG Sports (@WVUIMGSports) January 7, 2014
Two medicore teams combined with the new officiating rules can create some pretty awful basketball. This has been a theme all season. Tech jumps out to a small early lead.
Now a run of 8 straight pts by Terry Henderson (3 and fastbreak lay up)...WVU now leads 13-9. Pace has quickened A LOT.— WVU IMG Sports (@WVUIMGSports) January 7, 2014
This game is gonna be fun— SmithFire13 (@SmithFire13) January 7, 2014
Well....scratch everything I just said. After an awful, ugly start, the pace of this game hit warp speed and Terry Henderson began his path to become the Emperor of the Universe.
Nice play out of the timeout for Dibo. Fouls starting to add up for #WVU— Keenan Cummings (@rivalskeenan) January 7, 2014
We desperately, desperately, desperately need more capable big men. Fouls are going to be a thorn in our side all year.
In related news, #FreeHolton
Real talk. How is Morgantown getting every kind of new business under the sun, but NOT a Whataburger? This is probably the reason behind our struggles in the Big 12.
Juwan Staten throws it down!— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) January 7, 2014
JUAN STATEN DUNK DANCE— SmithFire13 (@SmithFire13) January 7, 2014
Dunks are fun.
The fast break dunk by Staten capped off a really awesome couple of minutes by Gary Browne. He of the immensely improved jumper drained a three, and then a possession or two later, he plays some great defense and forces the turnover that leads to Staten's big dunk.
Staten doing what Staten does. #WVU ahead 37-30 under a minute left in the half.— Keenan Cummings (@rivalskeenan) January 7, 2014
Beautiful sequence by Staten. Gets a transition lay up on one possession, then proceeds to vivisect the Red Raiders for another two on the next. He's night and day from last year and it's beautiful.
WVU leads Texas Tech at the half, 39-33. #HailWV— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 7, 2014
Hate giving up last second shots like that, but WVU leads at half.
Steal by Terry Henderson leads to Juwan Staten lay up. WVU now up 41-33. Moments later...TT's Jaye Crockett picks up foul #3.— WVU IMG Sports (@WVUIMGSports) January 7, 2014
Strong start for the second half, as the described series was followed by an appearance by 3RON. Crockett has been mostly a non-factor in the game so far. Shutting him down is huge for WVU.
Terry Henderson 3 gives WVU a bit more breathing room...but the lead now down to 4...51-47 with 13 minutes left.— WVU IMG Sports (@WVUIMGSports) January 7, 2014
Two big shots in a row for #WVU, but Hannahs has apparently turned into Kobe Bryant as he nails another three.— Keenan Cummings (@rivalskeenan) January 7, 2014
Dusty Hannahs has inexplicably gone bananas. T3RRY H3ND3ERSON showed up to quell the storm for a bit, but Hannahs answered right back. 53-50 as we go to a TV time-out and the BCS National Championship begins, which just might overshadow our game on Twitter.
Texas Tech looks SO much worse when they don't have the wind helping them.— Not Dana Holgorsen (@FauxCoachHolgs) January 7, 2014
#WVU lead cut to 58-57 with 8:45 left in the game.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) January 7, 2014
Danger Zone. WVU having it's "young team" moment as the lead gets cut to one. This team needs to learn how to close games and find the players who have the confidence level required to do the closing.
With Texas Tech on a mini run...Juwan Staten hits a HUGE jumper just ahead of the shot clock. He's got a game-high 17 pts, WVU up 60-57.— WVU IMG Sports (@WVUIMGSports) January 7, 2014
please let juwan staten be a closer. please let juwan staten be a closer. please let juwan staten be a closer. please let juwan staten be a closer. please let juwan staten be a closer. please let juwan staten be a closer.
Or Eron Harris. I'm not picky about these things.
Texas Tech goes up 70-68 with 2:55 remaining (last media timeout). #HailWV— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 7, 2014
Ugh. Crockett comes back for the stretch run and we promptly lose the lead. Someone. Anyone. Needs to step up to finish games for this team.
WVU has a problem with John Higgins. It's apparent after last year-and-a-half. Huggins making that very clear to Big 12 rep at courtside.— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) January 7, 2014
Relative of Tim, I can only assume. Huggs has had problems with officiating all night. I'm feeling some high quality post game snark is on the way.
Devin Williams... AND 1! #WVU has tied it up and Williams to the line to take a lead.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) January 7, 2014
He misses it, but Brandon Watkins with the huge offensive board and putback. #WVU up 74-72.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) January 7, 2014
Huge four point play fueled by pure strength from our two freshman big men. That's the kind of effort that the Huggins era at WVU is built on.
Here's where we see how much this team has learned from their earlier season close loses. #WVU— Andrew Little (@AJLittle304) January 7, 2014
Yup. Down one,49 seconds remain. This needs to be where this team grows up. No more excuses.
Wow— SmithFire13 (@SmithFire13) January 7, 2014
You gotta dunk that ish— SmithFire13 (@SmithFire13) January 7, 2014
le sigh. Huggs draws up a beautiful in bounds play, but Watkins misses the lay-up off the lob pass.
T3RRY!!!— Matt Kirchner (@MKirchner12) January 7, 2014
/shameless self inclusion. Shut up.
Overtime in Lubbock. We're tied at 77 after 40 minutes of play. Juwan Staten and Eron Harris lead the way with 21 and 16, respectively.— Geoff Coyle (@GFCoyle) January 7, 2014
It's not like anything else is happening tonight. #FreeBasketball
Shades of Dalton Pepper versus Clemson. Big play from the Morgantown native.
Staten, the game's leading scorer with 25 points, hits 2-of-2 from the FT line. WVU lead now 87-83.— WVU IMG Sports (@WVUIMGSports) January 7, 2014
Staten has been extremely clutch tonight. He's clearly this team's leader and needs to continue to be the closer down the stretch.
#WVU struggling to get the ball in right now. A couple scares.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) January 7, 2014
That is clearly out on that girl— SmithFire13 (@SmithFire13) January 7, 2014
That's off Texas Tech— Jeff Culhane (@jeffculhane) January 7, 2014
Scary moment, there. Refs eventually go to the monitor and get the call correct, but those were two badly executed plays. Tech had us flustered, big time.
3 attempt from Jaye Crockett misses and WVU picks up the win!! 89-86 the final in OT. Mountaineers now 2-0 in Big 12 play.— WVU IMG Sports (@WVUIMGSports) January 7, 2014
#WVU wins 89-86. First time it has started 2-0 in conference play since the Final Four team did it in 2009-10.— Michael Carvelli (@Carvelli3) January 7, 2014
It was touch and go for a while, but WVU continues its theme of battling and picks up another road conference win to move to 9-5 and 2-0 in Big 12 play. I'd like to think that we grew up a little bit in this game and learned from our prior close calls. Like the TCU game before it, I think this is a game that the 2012-2013 squad loses.
Next up is another Saturday-Monday set (this time in the friendly confines of the Coliseum) against the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Texas Longhorns.
Until then, keep tweeting and Let's Go Mountaineers!