One more for the road

So the Internet was not cooperative for a few of us at the arena last night, where there was not much united spirit late in an overofficiated West Virginia win against Texas Tech. And that’s a shame because I was funnier than hell watching it all unfold. You’ll have to take my word for it, but the Mountaineers survived Texas Tech and its inside game and suddenly potent shooters and scoring.

As it stands, WVU is alone in the Big 12 until at least tonight and a not impossible series of wins by Baylor over Iowa State, Kansas over Oklahoma and TCU over Kansas State this week would have WVU alone in first place for Saturday’s home game against No. 11 Oklahoma State. At the very worst, it’s a tie. “Significant,” is what Eron Harris said about the 2-0 start.

The Mountaineers could be in a very different place this morning with a 1-1 record had they given in to Dusty Hannahs and Jordan Tolbert and had Jaye Crockett’s surprisingly open 3 from the Corner of Doom gone down just before the buzzer of the three-point win. They’re not, though, because WVU handled one possession games quite admirably once again. They scored on five straight up to and including Juwan Staten’s odd technical foul.

(Aside before I fly and skate back home: I’m of the opinion WVU has a problem with John Higgins. It’s hard to watch their games and their interactions the past year-and-a-half and think otherwise.)

Then came scores on the first seven overtime possessions, including a massive swipe and score by Nate Adrian in what was really his only play of note on the game — and we ought to note that Adrian is in what you’d assume is the “best five defenders” lineup these days.

There were many good souvenirs for the Mountaineers, though, from the execution when it mattered to handling plucky home teams to Terry Henderson’s perpetual and sometimes inexplicable swagger to the intriguing Devin Williams/Brandon Watkins combo.

Those were character building contests for a team that always knew it was capable of playing hard and now knows it can do that to win and do so away from home. All in all, not much more could have gone right for a team that only has seven more left on the road.

“It’s always fun to win by a nice margin, but these are the games you live for,” Staten said. “Everybody wants to play college basketball in a close game that goes down to the wire. We prepare for it every day in practice. We went out. We competed. We got it done.”

 

17 Responses to “One more for the road”

  1. hoot says:

    That’s two games we were expected to win and we didn’t kick ‘em away.
    Good job all. Some of the pieces are starting to fall into place. Now let’s pick up a couple we’re not expected to win. Saturday comes to mind.

  2. pknocker40 says:

    Ah yes, the Queen of Hearts John Higgins – the same guy that T’d up Matt Humphrey for clapping his hands after a made 3.

  3. Mack says:

    Earlier this season, Mr. Casazza complained that the Charleston Civic Center was “the only” or “one of the only” arenas with horrible internet service. From reading his blogs, it seems that horrible internet service occurs far more often than good internet service at these arenas.

    I’ll hang up and listen.

  4. The Artist Formerly Known as EER96 says:

    Mack:

    “Waiting for the Fall” was not actually about WVU Sports! In reality, it was an ongoing saga revolving around Mike’s travel experiences, interrupted vacations, and death-defying searches for Wi-Fi service across America!

  5. Mack says:

    I think the only time I’ve felt colder than what it currently feels like outside was at the 2002 WVU vs. Pitt football game at Heinz Field.

  6. Kevin says:

    Maybe I missed it, but was there an event or occurance that started WVU’s problem with Higgins? Has it developed over time? Or does Higgins just have a penchant for embarrasing himself?

  7. smeer says:

    good find rugger

    a crew that already monopolized the game now has more reason to with the new D rules

    (I am really not a fan of some of the new blocking calls)

    but that horrendous almost no call against Destiny Hannahs was most pathetic

    interesting to hear staten’s view – “I was just looking to see who fouled me.” (uh yeah)

  8. lowercase jeff says:

    im very mad at myself for ever allowing you guys (and huggins) to convince me noreen was not awful.

    i know he was awful, i said he was awful, then, on an awful team, he appeared to give unawful minutes.

    i relented.

    i even apologized.

    now, surrounded by unlawful teammates, he is clearly awful. cant shoot, cant pass, cant defend, cant run, cant stand.

    noreen is awful.

  9. Rugger says:

    Noreen is less offensive than Petrino back to Louisville. Yep!

  10. Mack says:

    I like Noreen in the Cam Thoroughman role. I think he doesn’t hurt the team when he’s out there.

  11. smeer says:

    Mack and I agree – I think for an un-athletic guy, he plays his part – a good teammate, a hard worker, he’s basketball smart and isn’t out of position

    he played the Cam role pretty well last night – did you spend anytime watching him guard the 7 foot canadian? he battled that guy – fronted and denied entry passes, boxed him out on the weak side. not sure who else on the team could do that. Devin in that role would foul out. Watkins doesn’t have the bulk.

  12. avb31 says:

    Noreen’s role is to use up his five fouls, play 8-10 mistake free minutes, and try to clean up some garbage when the opportunity arises. He is good in that role.

  13. SheikYbuti says:

    he’s certainly no truck bryant.

  14. Dann White says:

    Mike,

    I tried the Charleston CC’s wifi for my iPhone during the W&M blowout. I must say, it worked flawlessly; at least up to the point where it requested $20.00 for one afternoon’s service.
    I didn’t push it beyond that………….

  15. Mack says:

    avb, I consider that the Jamie Smalligan role. Smalligan cracked me up because he obviously knew he wasn’t a key player on the team, so when his guy got the ball underneath he just fouled him. It worked very well.

  16. jtmountaineer says:

    As a Noreen guy, I have to admit he’s committing a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes. He’s probably the biggest reason we lost the Va. Tech game, and he’s consistently getting called for holding fouls he should have learned not to do by now. But when he gets his head right, he’s capable of 15-20 solid, dazzle-free, mistake-free minutes. His hustle isn’t as apparent on this team because, thank god, we have other kids who hustle this year.