NEW YORK - It would be easy to make too much out of West Virginia's abysmal performance Wednesday night against St. John's at Madison Square Garden.
It was one lousy night in a 31-game season. There haven't been that many.
By the same token, though, it would be far too easy to make too little of the deed.
It once again illustrated perfectly the flaws this team possesses and some of the virtues it does not.
Coach Bob Huggins sits in the latter camp, of course. He's not likely to look at a 78-62 defeat to the youngest and most in-disarray team in the Big East and just chalk it up as an anomaly. It's not in his nature.
"It's not an anomaly,'' Huggins said. "We got our butts kicked. They were better than us.''
As far as anomalies go, however, for the sake of getting beyond the loss, perhaps it would be better if the Mountaineers treated it as such.
And so most of them hope to do just that.
"You have to forget it and learn from it,'' senior guard Truck Bryant said. "You learn from what you did that you can't let it happen again.''
In other words, don't dwell on it, but don't just dismiss it, either.
Again, though, the fact is that while games like that happen over the course of a long season, when they happen to that degree it is alarming. Every flaw the Mountaineers have was exposed in a sort of perfect storm of ineptitude. This is a team that has no consistent perimeter shooting threats and is so young that if things begin going against them they haven't the maturity to overcome it and prevent things from snowballing.
Combine that with what appeared right from the start to be a lack of seriousness regarding the opponent and it was a recipe for disaster.
"Our energy was terrible. It looked like we didn't want to be there,'' Bryant said. "And we paid for that. We paid for that early. They came out and made shots. And usually they're not a team that makes shots.''
Indeed, St. John's was the worst shooting team in the Big East, making just 42 percent of its field goals through the first 19 games of the season. Against West Virginia the Red Storm shot 48.4 percent, but there was a reason for that: West Virginia gave them easy shots.
In fact, in the game's first 15 minutes, when the Johnnies were taking control, they made not a single jump shot. It was almost comical how poorly they shot, missing their first nine non-layups and even misfiring on five others around the basket. Yet it was 25-16 and St. John's had six layups, three follow-ups, two dunks and three free throws. By game's end there would be 31 field goals - four 3-pointers, four jump shots of no more than 10 feet and a staggering 23 layups, follow shots or dunks.
Meanwhile, West Virginia, which lives off of doing exactly that, couldn't against the St. John's zone, which collapsed on anyone with the ball inside and forced turnovers and jump shots that the Mountaineers didn't make.