Can the same thing happen again? Of course it can. It already happened once at Seton Hall and could easily repeat itself right away when the Mountaineers play Saturday at No. 3 Syracuse, which plays an even better zone than St. John's and can also victimize a team inside, with or without Fab Melo.
That's why this team has to forget what happened Wednesday night at the Garden as quickly as possible. It has to learn something from the loss, but it can't go to Syracuse with shaken confidence.
"It's a loss and now you can't do anything about it,'' said freshman guard Jabarie Hinds. "You've just got to get back in the gym and get ready for Syracuse.''
Kevin Jones pretty much agreed.
"I think a game like this you try to get it as far away from you as possible,'' Jones said. "We know we're a better team than this, but it's hard when you've got a lot of young guys because they have a tendency to get real down on themselves, especially when Coach says certain things. But that's the way Coach is. As they get older they'll learn how to filter that out and see what the real meaning of what he's saying is.''
Not that Huggins didn't have every right to lay into his team.
"When you spend an entire timeout going over the 1-3-1 because nothing else was working, and then after an entire timeout you've got three guys in the 1-3-1 and two guy who aren't, they really aren't into what you're doing,'' Huggins said.
Part of the problem, though, was simply an off night. In the first half, when the game was pretty much decided, Jones and Bryant were each 2-for-7 shooting and combined for five turnovers. By game's end Jones had recovered and had 26 points, 14 rebounds and shot 10-for-21. But Bryant and Hinds were a combined 7-for-25, Aaron Brown - usually good for a clutch shot or two - was 0-for-4 and Deniz Kilicli was doubled so much he could get just four shots.
Huggins even tried Paul Williamson, he of the 7-for-10 3-point shooting this season, and he wasn't even close on two shots, one of them from a step behind the NBA 3-point line on the Garden floor. He even tried Tommie McCune, who had played all of six Big East minutes and was 1-for-14 shooting this season. He bricked a 3-pointer roughly 10 seconds after he hit the floor and was out at the next dead ball.
It was Bryant's struggles, though, that were most damaging because he has to set the tone. But it's hard for Huggins to blame him.
"Truck's had really good games and Truck's had not-so-good games,'' Huggins said. "It's almost unfair to Truck to a degree because he's really our only perimeter threat and I think he feels the pressure to make some shots.
"I told Truck and K.J. that they can't be bad and expect us to win. Truck was bad against Cincinnati and we still won, but he can't consistently be bad and us win.''
And when everyone else is just as bad, things like Wednesday night's thumping happen. It would be best if the Mountaineers just forgot it ever happened.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.