"We showed flashes of other players stepping up,'' McClanahan said. "The problem is that we need those players to step up for us on a more-consistent basis, and not just assume that because one of us steps up that the other ones can slack off a little bit.
"We've got five to have guys on the floor stepping up, which would help Nick. It's circular. If Nick's playing steady, then somebody's going to have opportunities to step up. If those guys step up, then somebody's going to have to guard them, so Nick gets his opportunities. So it all fits together like a puzzle - but we're still piecing it together, and things aren't fitting clean yet.''
Catholic also improved to 92-5 at home since moving games to its Athletic Complex in the 2004-05 season.
McClanahan thinks his team can play sharper than it did Thursday, and doesn't feel like his team took Buffalo lightly despite its recent domination. Catholic won its two regular-season games against the Bison by 28 and 30 points last season.
"If that's our attitude and we're living off last year,'' McClanahan said, "then that's my fault. This is a different team and a different year - for us and for them. Last year is last year. Tonight's game mattered for this year and mattered for tonight, and Buffalo outplayed us. We have to understand that whatever happened last year is in the past.
"That's a conversation we've never had in this program. We've got to understand that this year's team has to take responsibility for this year's performance, and we need to start doing it in practice.''
Elkins, likewise, wasn't worried about simply narrowing the gap against the Irish. The Bison wants to win, starting now.
"It's not about  in a row,'' Elkins said. "West Virginia got beat by Penn State - what was it? -  times in a row [in football].
"It's a good game. Our kids get up for it, and their kids get up for it. I imagine it's one of the better unspoken rivalries around. We'll just keep trying.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.