Well, I hope that’s not the last time those two play at the Coliseum for a long time. Where would we be without the Backyard Brawl and a game that you can guarantee is good for a rowdy crowd, a technical foul, people throwing stuff on the floor and just a delightfully even mix of dislike and respect between the two teams? I need that every winter, twice if possible.
Now, the outcome? You didn’t need that and you now have your first three-game losing streak since the 2005-06 season, though those Mountaineers made it to the Sweet Sixteen before they were Paulino’d — and I still think that team had a chance to make some real noise if not for a running 28-footer.
But that team was also very seasoned and savvy and could pick itself up after two three-game skids in that season. These guys? Not so much …
The two teams aren’t even close to the same in that regard, even though those Mountaineers could get really, really down. But they were just as resilient, too. Last night you saw, and later heard, players confess mental and physical fatigue. That, more than anything else, explains why Pitt got all the 50-50 plays. The Panthers were sharper and faster and just better while WVU would stand back and wait for things to happen.
I mean, there were a few times when Pitt took the ball from WVU or when a Pitt player had the ball roll to him with no battle for possession.
You’ve also got a superstar playing out of his mind right now, but his two heretofore reliable sidekicks are struggling and the freshmen are still doing freshmen things — and without ever saying it, Huggins and a few teammates had circled Aaron Brown’s dribbling display and awful pass as when things changed.
Kevin Jones has forced and pressed things before in his career, but last night seemed to me to be the first time he looked around first and thought “What else is there?” and then went 0-for-5 from 3. Later, he admitted he was frustrated and confused and needed to think about whether he had to do more or less or the same and … well, this is 23 games in now and not appropriate timing for a trident in the road.
On the whole, I don’t think the Mountaineers played badly, but they weren’t as good as the opponent on a night they needed to be. The effort that defined Saturday’s game was absent after the 10 minute mark in the first half, and that void is what defined the loss at St. John’s. The concern there is it’s a display of the general inconsistency that’s plagued this team.
“They thought they were going to lose the game the first five minutes,” freshman Gary Browne said. “Then we stopped playing and they started making easy baskets and they thought they could beat us.”
I’ve seen teams fall apart before and there are symptoms and WVU at least has the sniffles right now. If you’re an omen person, last night had two: Insult and injury.
Kevin Noreen is out for probably the rest of the season with a broken ankle. It’s believed it happened when he blocked a shot and stumbled, which is obviously unfortunate. Divisive as he may be, he plays minutes and he’s more trustworthy than his backup, Dominique Rutledge, who has to get better in a hurry.
Then Bob Huggins was the recipient of an indefensible technical foul that is best explained by the guy who can no longer explain officiating.
Bryant goofed up a defensive rotation in the second half and fouled Dante Taylor on his layup. Huggins said he was yelling across the floor at Bryant when official Sean Corbin called a technical on Huggins.
“I’ve had in my career, obviously, a bunch of technicals, but I’ve never had one for yelling at a player for not making a rotation,” Huggins said. “I was frustrated because I’ve got a four-year guy who doesn’t make a rotation.
“As much and as hard as we work and as good as we’ve been defensively – which he was a part of – not making a rotation, I was yelling at him and this guy Ts me up from across the court. And I’m yelling at Truck. (Corbin) couldn’t have even thought I was yelling at him. He was not even in my field of vision.”
I can’t believe that. I mean, I was watching and I was wondering if something like that happened, but, hey, I’m a level above the floor and 100 or so feet away. What do I know? But that’s actually what happened. Amazing.
The team has two days off and will return to practice Thursday. Providence can score and can be a handful and WVU hasn’t been very good on the road, though I wonder how hostile the Dunkin’ Donuts Center will be for a noon game on Super Bowl Sunday when the Patriots are playing later in the day.
So there’s still time for WVU to get right. Right now, the Mountaineers are even in the conference and seven above .500 overall. Keep winning and keep the RPI afloat and things will be fine. More losses …
All the vampires, walking through the valley. Move west down Ventura Boulevard. And all the bad boys are texting in the shadows. All the good girls are home with broken hearts. My edits are in [brackets].
I miss the “wall” of a student section. Even tho its full to the roof it is lame. Thanks, huggs. And cassie werner.
I don’t know why the turk would pick now to get a haircut. Let’s hope it works out for him.
Love ten early points without Jones scoring
Graphic says Dixon 11-6 v Pitt. I knew they beat themselves but no idea it was so formal.
I love this game. It’s the “Battle of the bad hair coaches.”
Yes, polluted with students up here and the old timers are none too pleased.
Deniz is a brontosaurus.
Pat Driscoll, Director of Parks and Rec in Syracuse NY. Look it up.
It’s really good pitt sucks because we are trying to give them this game.
When did Darryl Strawberry become a college basketball referee!
That is absurd. This ref is blind.
The dumbass students are doing the wave during trucks shots … And its a one point game.
We blew an 8 point lead.
Actor who played Mr. Pitt on Seinfeld is dead. Meanwhile WVU is helping resurrect another Pitt.
Gary McGhee thought the first half finish was ugly.
Kj isn’t right
Way to kill the crowd, video guy
My Brawl bingo card is filling up nicely. Huggins T, check. Debris on floor, check.
Huggs is going to kill someone….or stroke out
Uh, I heard Huggs obviously yelling at Truck and not the ref. “Same thing for four years.” I think the ref thought he was the target.
Surprisingly, pitt can play in front if a crowd. They don’t know what that’s like back at the Pete.
Harder to argue that fix is not in for WVU
This is not about tired officials. It’s about incompetence.
This game is over. The reds (and Pitts defense) say so.
Refs not reds. You fix that in my tgfd!
People can/will blame the refs, but Pitt is completely outplaying WVU.
We need Truck to step up right meow.
How far out on the floor does Jamie Dixon have to get before they call a technical
I’m sure others thought of this first, but can we add Hugg’s technical foul to Truck Bryant’s bad day/week/season/career?
Raftery openly mocking refs now
4 step travel no-call
Animal House soundtrack is no 7NA
CEJ likes KJ’s stroke
Add one great scorer to WVU, as Pitt did, and it would turn our season around too.
KJ = MJ
Dixon was open for a 3 pointer just before that time out
These announcers make you weep that the top announce teams in virtually every other sport are so terrible.
I’m a Gary Browne fan, but they flashed 6.7 PPG on the screen and I realized that he’s far from being even a solid player.
Gary Brown has hurt the team less than or equal to Truck Bryant… I will hang up and listen.
Your boy g browne slightly out of control tonight
WVU has one player who can handle it in traffic in transition (Hinds), yet are in contention to be in top half of BE. You think about that.
Dear God, please stop “The Freshman” from repeating in my brain.
KJ is very, very good.
Jones will never be thought of as highly as some former WVU players that aren’t in his league.
Why are people in the good seats leaving with 3;28 left?
40 minutes of flat-footed basketball.
Surely I’m not alone in thinking that Pitt looks like the better team in this game, right?
Maybe we’ll win the NIT again. Yay.