"We had opportunities to win it,'' Huggins said when asked if there was anything else positive he took away from the loss to Baylor. "We missed a 3- or 4-footer. We missed a tip-in. We missed a wide-open look from 3.
"Even at the end we had a shot at a 3-pointer that would have put us up by two. We had opportunities.''
Still the Mountaineers suffered many of the same misfortunes that have plagued them all season. The turnover number was low for the game, but they were critical. Even when they held on to the ball for a possession, three times they turned it over because of illegal screens. There were also turnovers for offensive fouls.
"Our problem has been we've shot ourselves in the foot,'' Huggins said.
Twenty-eight games into the season, though, Huggins is doing really the only thing he has left to try. In the Baylor game he shortened his bench and went with the players whose attitude and effort he liked the most. Deniz Kilicli, Juwan Staten and Eron Harris each played in excess of 33 minutes for a team on which only Staten averages more than 23 minutes. Terry Henderson and Kevin Noreen logged a combined 50 minutes.
In contrast, Aaric Murray started and played just four minutes. Jabarie Hinds didn't start for just the second time in his career and played only six minutes.
Huggins was asked if he would continue to follow that script today against Kansas and from here on out. He left no doubt.
"If we don't try to rebound the ball, if we don't play defense, if we don't play hard, there's no reason to be on the floor,'' Huggins said. "That's my fault. I'll take the blame for that. I made an error in judgment on how to handle some of these guys.
"We're going to miss shots. We're going to make mistakes. But there's no reason not to try hard.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.