STILLWATER, Okla. - Eron Harris had one of those games Saturday afternoon that could have gone down as legendary.
Well, at least it might have if he'd played more than a half.
As it was, even in just 21 minutes on the floor he launched seven 3-pointers and six of them were as perfect as perfect gets. They were the kind that if you're distracted a bit you might have thought they were air balls. They weren't. The net just didn't move because they were so perfectly centered.
It was the kind of performance that West Virginia has to have in order to win games this season, what with the makeup of the team essentially being Harris and a few others shooting 3-pointers and Juwan Staten handling everything else.
Yet in the end, there was Harris explaining how good he felt during the game and how bad he felt afterward. That's what happens when even a virtuoso performance results in an 81-75 loss to No. 11 Oklahoma State.
Oh, sure, there were other factors at play, not the least of which was the foul trouble that kept Harris on the bench for nearly half the game. This was simply an awful game to watch. In the end, six players fouled out, including Harris and three of his teammates. Two of Oklahoma State's three best players, Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash, would also foul out.
But even with all those fouls, this was a game that still set up perfectly for West Virginia. When Harris was on the floor he was deadly. The fouls actually slowed the tempo of the game to a crawl, which is basically what the Mountaineers wanted to do. No, they didn't want all those fouls, but they did want a deliberate pace because Oklahoma State, if unimpeded, will just run right by almost any team it plays.
Yet still the Mountaineers lost. In a way it seems a shame. In other ways it seems inevitable. This is a team that has been so close, so often all season long. But it just can't find a way to win.
"That's definitely something that's been our Achilles heel this year, finishing games,'' said Staten, who has finished a few himself in cases when the Mountaineers were leading, but isn't really the kind of scorer who can lead a team back from a deficit. "But this time it was a little different, I think. We got in all that foul trouble and we had to call on players who aren't usually put in those situations.''
Yeah, like Tyrone Hughes. If the name doesn't ring a bell it's because he's a walk-on who had played all of 13 minutes. Yet he was on the floor for most of the last four minutes of the first half and again at game's end because of all that foul trouble.