But just as significant perhaps to Huggins was the effect that the play had on his players, who on the floor were looking around wondering when the call was going to be made. It never was.
To try to get those same players to forget the play and focus on winning the game with a play with 6.2 seconds to go was difficult, at best.
"It's hard, you know?'' Huggins said. "You've got 30 seconds [during a timeout] and you're trying to get them refocused and they're all thinking about other things. So yeah, it was hard.''
West Virginia pretty much executed its game plan on both ends of the floor. The idea on offense was to control the tempo, protect the ball and pound it inside. On defense it was to use that offensive patience and ball security and not allow Syracuse to run and get easy baskets.
Two things threw a wrench in that, though. Syracuse did manage to get out in transition more than West Virginia would have liked, the result of 17 WVU turnovers.
And when the ball went inside, the Mountaineers couldn't get it in the basket. Kilicli was 2-for-10, none of the shots from more than a few feet. And when he was fouled he made just one of his five free-throw attempts.
"We came in with the idea that we wanted to throw it close and for the most part we did,'' Huggins said. "But Deniz didn't finish the way he normally finishes. He's usually a better finisher than that around the goal.''
Of the 17 turnovers, most were early - 10 in the first half and five in the opening minutes of the second. The only turnovers down the stretch were a couple of shot-clock violations, but Huggins said he could live with those, presumably because WVU was still controlling the tempo and the opponent can't get out in transition when a whistle stops play for a shot-clock violation.
"Those turnovers don't hurt you,'' Huggins said.
But the early turnovers and the problems around the basket - Jones also missed three inside shots - did prevent West Virginia from extending a lead that was as many as six points in the first half.
"We had our chances. We missed a lot of close shots,'' Jones said. "We could have extended our little a little bit if we'd made some shots.''
BRIEFLY: Freshman Gary Browne had another outstanding game with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and just one turnover. He also kept possessions alive with scrappy rebounds, and all three of his field goals were at or near the end of shot clocks. ... Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim won his 878th game. That's one away from tying Dean Smith for third on the all-time Division I list. ... West Virginia has no time to think about the loss. The Mountaineers host Pitt at the Coliseum in a Big Monday game on ESPN. After losing seven straight to start Big East play, the Panthers have won two straight after beating Georgetown Saturday.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.