by Jim Buzzerd
The West Virginia University basketball team had a chance to make a statement after knocking off second ranked Ohio State last week then traveling to third ranked Kansa last Saturday. Sadly, for Mountaineers fans, and predictably, things did not fall the Mountaineers’ way in Lawrence. WVU lost the game 60-53, but for a while things were looking up for WVU.
West Virginia took a 10 point 30-20 lead on a Jordan McCabe three-pointer with 3:34 remaining in the first half. Simple math tells us the Mountaineers were outscored 40-23 the rest of the way. Much of the reason was great defense by the Jayhawks, but the Mountaineers helped out with poor foul shooting and turnovers. West Virginia committed 16 turnovers, which isn’t their worst effort, but they turned the ball over during one second half stretch on five of seven possessions that led to Kansas taking and holding the lead.
One thing WVU fans rightly concern themselves about when heading into Phog Allen Fieldhouse is officiating and how fouls are called. Remember the game when WVU made one of two foul shots and Kansas was 26-35? I usually don’t like to play the officiating card, but there are some uneven numbers, league wide, emanating from Phog. Going into Saturday’s game Kansas had made 164 free throws while WVU has attempted just 147.
Saturday’s discrepancy wasn’t particularly note worthy, but Kansas was 19-30 at the line and WVU was a poor 12-22. WVU could have had a chance at the end with a better effort at the line.
Monday’s game at Oklahoma State is still a few hours away as this is being typed. If the Mountaineers were able to win that game it should be considered a successful road trip and an especially pleasing three game stretch away from the Coliseum. A couple weeks ago when looking at playing Ohio State in Cleveland, at Kansas, and at Oklahoma State back to back to back, seeing three losses wasn’t hard to do. Two wins will be great.
A loss Monday won’t be devastating, but with last year’s NCAA runner up, Texas Tech, coming to Morgantown this Saturday, a Monday win will set the table nicely. The Texas Tech game is set for a 6:00 PM tip Saturday on ESPN2. Big 12 play will continue on Tuesday the 14 at the Coliseum with TCU in another undesirable 9:00 PM start. The TCU game is on ESPN2.