MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A long time ago (March 24, 2005), in a place far from here (Albuquerque, N.M.), West Virginia's basketball team won a game in the 60s over Texas Tech. Then-Red Raiders coach Bob Knight said the Mountaineers, then coached by John Beilein, were the most disciplined he'd seen that season. It was in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
On Saturday, WVU again defeated Texas Tech in a game kept in the 60s. But it was a long way from Albuquerque.
In 2005, both teams had 20-plus victories. Afterward, the Mountaineers fell in a spectacular subsequent overtime game to Louisville with a Final Four berth on the line.
On Saturday, little but pride was on the line. And WVU, now 13-12, was but a last-second 3-point shot from a freshman point guard away from losing that against the now-9-14 Red Raiders.
West Virginia was thisclose to having its season obituary written. And that just might be arriving soon, with a road trip to Kansas State followed by a Saturday visit from Oklahoma State.
Consider that at the end of Saturday's game, Tech was playing without its three best players. Throughout, it was playing with a 5-foot-9 guy with a headband who should have been named Sparky. Their leading scorer was a guy named Dusty, who looked like his mama just mussed his hair. And WVU's Deniz Kilicli was many times working inside against a guy from the capital of a country of which I've never heard - Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
And the Mountaineers almost lost. At home.
WVU had 18 turnovers and hit but 24 of 41 free throws.
"It was worse today than at Baylor," said WVU coach Bob Huggins.
You don't have to have a long memory to know the Mountaineers had 18 turnovers in that 20-point loss on Wednesday.
"I think we give the game away sometimes with turnovers," said guard Gary Browne. "And we don't rebound the ball."
WVU did do that Saturday, outrebounding the Red Raiders 39-29.
"They got to the foul line and were physical," said Tech coach Chris Walker. "I think that was the difference in the game."
He tweaked that WVU, which was called for 18 fouls to Tech's 30, "must have done an amazing job" of being physical and not fouling.
Regardless, the Red Raiders were a smart decision away from winning. "We would have suggested [Josh Gray] drive it," Walker said.
WVU simply does not have it this season, unless you count a creative flair for throwing the ball away. A pass out of bounds here. A shot clock violation - a chuck off the side of the backboard - there.