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Large losses continue for WVU basketball

By Staff | Feb 14, 2019

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Once trailing by a staggering 39 points, West Virginia fell, 50-81, in Lubbock to Texas Tech.

The Mountaineers made nine field goals, were 9-for-39 from the field, committed 26 turnovers and collared only 27 rebounds.

Derek Culver attempted a seldom-seen 24 free throws by himself. He made 15 of them to put next to his 12 rebounds and 23 points.

Other than Culver, the Mountaineers had just five field goals as a group.

Then a less-than-stellar Texas team comes to Morgantown with its 13-10 record. And the Longhorns win by a 75-53 count with all reserves on the floor at the end.

Texas counted no fewer than eight dunks in the second half alone. And the Longhorns outrebounded WVU, 42-34, to only partially silence the ever-growing group of those grousing about coach Shaka Smart.

There were plenty of Texas players who didn’t want to be there. However, West Virginia had even more players who wanted to be elsewhere.

The Mountaineers were 10-14 overall and 2-9 in Big 12 games. Seven games remained in the dissolving regular season. And then it can all end in the conference tournament that begins in Kansas City on March 12.

Texas further exposed West Virginia’s dismal perimeter shooting when it doesn’t have Beetle Bolden, who missed his fourth straight game with an injury. The Longhorns used a zone defense to make ineffective West Virginia’s already struggling offense. Most teams can undermine any zone defense with ball movement, a willingness to pass and some close-to-the-basket scoring.

Not West Virginia.

Outside shooting is always suspect without Bolden. Offensive rebounds become fewer and farther between. Almost any three-point shot looks appetizing to West Virginia’s guards and forwards Lamont West, Esa Ahmad, Wes Harris and others, who always look to shoot first and then shoot again.

The next two games are against Kansas and at home against league-leading Kansas State. West Virginia defeated Kansas in Morgantown, so it won’t catch the Jayhawks napping or cursing their 7-4 conference record. And Kansas State is trying to position itself to win the regular season portion of league for the first time in many moons. Kansas owns 14 straight Big 12 regular season titles.

Three home games remain at the Coliseum. Senior Day comes against Oklahoma State.

Press Virginia is no more. Finding players making a full effort calls for using an electron microscope. Opponents lick their chops when seeing some of West Virginia’s defenders.

It isn’t a pretty sight. But it’s a sight that Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor want to see . . . and TCU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State won’t be cringing in the locker room when given a scouting report by a coach.

When does the situation get any better for more than one game every two weeks?