OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - When last West Virginia suffered a bitter, close loss to Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers followed it two days later with arguably their worst performance of the season in a home loss to Texas.
On the heels of another of those one-that-got-away losses, the obvious goal now is to recover faster and not let one game beat them two times.
No, it's not that the next game is a pushover by any means. It is Tuesday night in Waco, Texas, against a Baylor team that has spent the entire season in the national rankings. The Bears (13-6, 1-5 Big 12) certainly won't still be there when the new Top 25s are released today - losing four in a row and five of six will have dropped Baylor from as high as No. 7 on Jan. 6 to out of the polls altogether - but it is still a quality opponent on the road.
The thing is, no matter the state of the opposition, West Virginia (11-9, 3-4) can't again afford to sulk after a near-miss against a legitimate power. The Mountaineers' 81-75 loss on Saturday at No. 11 Oklahoma State has to be forgotten, and the sooner the better.
Juwan Staten hopes that he and his teammates learned from the last time.
"Well, first of all we have an extra day to relax a little bit, so that's always good,'' said Staten, who with his teammates traveled to Waco right after Saturday's game in Stillwater, Okla., and this time will play on Tuesday instead of the Saturday-Monday turnaround for that game against Texas. "But we've been in this situation before and we know what happened last time.''
Indeed, what happened last time was that the Mountaineers lost to Oklahoma State at the Coliseum after leading with as few as 12 seconds to play, then two days later fell completely flat and lost 80-69 to Texas. At the time that was WVU's most lopsided loss of the season and it wasn't even as close as the score indicated. Then a few days later Kansas State just buried the Mountaineers on the road, 78-56.
West Virginia recovered a bit in beating Texas Tech at home last Wednesday, then once again gave Oklahoma State everything it could handle Saturday. The Mountaineers led most of the first half and at times midway through the second, and with less than a minute to play were a Nathan Adrian 3-point attempt away from tying the game.