"We had chances. Let's be honest,'' Huggins said. "We could have beaten Kansas State at home. We didn't, but we could have. The Oklahoma game, if we don't have all those breakdowns and rebound the ball, we have a chance. The problem is we have chances and we don't do it. We don't take advantage of them. That's the problem.''
Monday at Kansas State the Mountaineers really didn't have many chances, not after falling into early foul trouble with their two best scorers, Deniz Kilicli and Eron Harris, and digging an 18-4 hole. In truth, West Virginia didn't actually play all that poorly (five fewer turnovers and seven fewer fouls than K-State, along with 52.6 percent shooting in the second half), but in a stop-and-start game dominated by whistles, there were precious few spots in which to make a run.
One opportunity did present itself after Huggins got a technical in the second half and the Mountaineers cut a 21-point deficit to 14, but a few minutes later, with the gap still 14, Harris got a technical of his own and fouled out after colliding with Will Spradling near midcourt.
Harris was so upset with his game - zero points and just two shots in only eight foul-plagued minutes - that he spent part of the second half sitting on the bench sobbing, which was not lost on ESPN and its Big Monday cameras.
Kilicli, who overcame his foul trouble to score 16 points, said that was probably the last of his team's chances to make the game competitive, although he said it was hard to fault Harris.
"That's how he plays. He flops,'' Kilicli said of Spradling, a guard with an eight-point average who scored a career-high 19, including four free throws after the Harris foul and technical when the margin was still 14. "I'm not saying that in a negative way. He does a good job of it.
"But that was four points they didn't even have to work for. We just gave it to them. And that killed us. We never recovered.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.