NEW YORK - West Virginia won't be playing any more basketball for a week, thanks to the type of problems the Mountaineers ran into at various times this season but had appeared to put behind them recently.
Those would be defensive breakdowns and turnovers.
West Virginia allowed too many easy baskets, gave up points on both ends of the floor because of turnovers at key times and lost 67-61 Wednesday night to Marquette in the second round of the Big East tournament.
"We didn't play lockdown defense like we usually do. We didn't get to the [defensive] spots we usually get to,'' West Virginia point guard Truck Bryant said. "And we turned the ball over way too much.''
It all added up to an unusually early exit for West Virginia from a tournament the Mountaineers won just last year.
"I packed a full bag,'' forward John Flowers said. "My bag is full. I expected to be here until Saturday night.''
Not this time.
Instead of enjoying a lengthy - or even multi-day - run in this tournament, the Mountaineers instead have at least a week until they play again to open the NCAA tournament.
"It's not a break that we want, either,'' said Kevin Jones.
The loss was West Virginia's first in a Big East tournament opener in the past five years. The Mountaineers (20-11) also won't be playing in the Thursday quarterfinals for the first time since 2004. Their six-year streak was second only to Pitt, which will be making its 11th straight appearance in the quarters.
It should not, however, significantly alter where WVU winds up seeded in the NCAA tournament when those selections are announced on Sunday. West Virginia over the past two weeks generally has been considered a fifth or sixth seed and that is likely still to be the case. The Mountaineers went into Wednesday's game with an RPI ranking of No. 15 and the No. 2 strength of schedule in the nation.
Marquette (20-13), meanwhile, probably put a seal on an NCAA berth that appeared shaky at the beginning of the week when the Golden Eagles had just 18 wins and had gone just 7-9 since Jan. 5. Marquette was just No. 64 in the RPI before Wednesday's game, but had four wins over teams currently in the Top 25 of the RPI.
It was also Marquette's second win of the season over No. 20 West Virginia, the first a 79-74 decision on New Year's Day in Milwaukee.
Jones led West Virginia with 15 points, while Flowers had 11, Bryant 10, Casey Mitchell nine and Joe Mazzulla eight. But the Mountaineers, who shot nearly 60 percent in the first half and made 9 of 14 3-pointers in the first 25 minutes, shot just 22.2 percent in the second half and made only one more 3 down the stretch.
"We didn't play as well in second half as we did in the first, that's for sure,'' said forward Cam Thoroughman. "We missed a lot of shots and made a lot of turnovers.''