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Mountaineers' win was no cause for celebration

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Perhaps if West Virginia manages to string together a couple of wins in a row, Deniz Kilicli will feel better.

One win? Over struggling TCU? Well, that doesn't help a whole lot.

"No,'' Kilicli said. "I'm still miserable.''

That's just the way it is these days for the Mountaineers. A .500 record well beyond the midpoint of the regular season will do that to a team and a program that is used to much more.

Granted, Wednesday night's 71-50 win over TCU at the Coliseum was nothing at which to scoff. A win is a win, especially for a team that had gone two weeks without one.

Take Bob Huggins, for example.

"I guess after all these years I've learned not to get mad when you win one,'' the WVU coach said. "But I'm not very happy.''

Nor was anyone else after the Mountaineers improved to 9-9 overall, won their second Big 12 game in five tries and snapped a three-game losing streak. Wins like that one have come before.

  • A beatdown at the hands of Gonzaga was followed by a lopsided win over Marist, but Marist just wasn't very good and soon the Mountaineers were 1-3.
  • Back-to-back wins over old rivals Marshall and Virginia Tech were a highlight to the season so far, but then came an almost unfathomable loss at Duquesne.
  • And then, just when things began looking up with a stirring comeback win at Texas - the fourth victory in five games - along came the longest losing streak of the season, three games. It matched the longest losing skids Huggins has endured since he was coaching at Akron.
  • Celebrating a win over TCU seemed premature, so no one did.

    "Right now, honestly, this doesn't do anything for me,'' Kilicli said. "We're 9-9. I'm not happy with the season. But it's all our fault.''

    Stringing together a few wins in Big 12 play might improve the mood, but that's going to be difficult. West Virginia's next game is Saturday at Oklahoma State, which is just 2-3 in the Big 12 but has routed TCU and Texas Tech in the only two league games played at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Cowboys are 12-5 overall and have a one-point loss to No. 10 Gonzaga and a 20-point win over No. 18 North Carolina State (although OSU did lose by 10 to the Virginia Tech team West Virginia beat).

    After that comes an ESPN Big Monday game at home against No. 3 Kansas.

    The schedule lightens up just a bit after that with four of the next five games against TCU, Texas and Texas Tech (twice), but the stretch also includes three of four games on the road at one point.

    So, all in all, now is indeed probably no time to begin feeling good about just one win.

    "The mindset now is, win or lose, it really doesn't change how we look at stuff,'' said Kilicli, who had his best performance in a while with 11 points and eight rebounds against size-challenged TCU. "The next day you've still got to go hard.''

    Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.

     

     


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