Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WVU coach Bob Huggins: We deserved to win the game

West Virginia guard Daxter Miles Jr. (4) jumps in front of  Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) for a steal during the Jayhawks game against the West Virginia Mountaineers Tuesday, March 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse..

West Virginia guard Daxter Miles Jr. (4) jumps in front of Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) for a steal during the Jayhawks game against the West Virginia Mountaineers Tuesday, March 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse..


After competing as hard as they could for nearly 40 minutes on Tuesday night, at least a couple of members of the West Virginia men's basketball team allowed themselves to peek up at the scoreboard and think about how close they were to knocking off ninth-ranked Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse.

“It was two minutes and like two seconds left and we were up five and all we needed was one more stop,” recalled WVU junior Jonathan Holton following Tuesday's 76-69 overtime loss. “That's the last thing I remember. It was crazy. The atmosphere. It was a tough loss. That's all I can say.”

Freshman guard Daxter Miles Jr., was right there with him, although he did not remember exactly when the thought first crept into his head.

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Box score

“Yeah. I thought we got this one, but you can never sleep,” said Miles, who scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including a 5-of-9 performance from three-point range. “Once you've got your opponent down, you've gotta stick your foot on the neck so they won't try to fight back. We let them fight back and they were better than us at the end.”

The end, when West Virginia (22-8 overall, 10-7 Big 12) missed too many free throws and saw Kansas close with a 16-7 run that forced overtime, was the only thing most of the Mountaineers felt like talking about while the Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4) celebrated Big 12 title No. 11 in a row out of the court. And they talked about it even though the mere thought of what had just happened was so painful that tears welled in their eyes.

“They played harder than us at the end and they wanted it more,” Miles said shaking his head. “And I think we didn't play as hard as we usually play toward the end of the game. We made some big mistakes at the end of regulation and we made some dumb turnovers. It's hard, man. It's hard.”

WVU coach Bob Huggins, though clearly proud of his team's fight and competitiveness, could not help but sigh about Tuesday's free throw discrepancy. KU, which Huggins said attacked the basket better than his squad, made 34 of 43 free throw attempts (79.1 percent) compared to just 16 of 28 (57.1 percent) for West Virginia.

“When you're standing where I'm standing, sometimes you think things aren't quite equitable,” Huggins said. “That's as nice as I can say it.... The truth is they shoot 43 free throws, we shoot 28 times, you're not gonna win. Turn it over 22 times, you're not gonna win.”

Despite those facts, Huggins left Lawrence believing his team did all it could in terms of effort to achieve a different result.

“We deserved to win the game,” Huggins said. “We didn't do enough at the end. I thought our guys played hard, we didn't play very smart.... There's just some things that happened that you can't explain.”

More news and notes from Kansas vs. West Virginia

By the Numbers: Kansas beats West Virginia, 76-69, in overtime

By the Numbers: Kansas beats West Virginia, 76-69, in overtime


Bryce Landon 7 years, 9 months ago

Sour grapes from Thuggy Bear. His team got away with a BOATLOAD of contact all night long.

Gavin Fritton 7 years, 9 months ago

No, coach. I'm sorry, but no. I was at the game and I was impressed with your guys. They scrapped and they had the Jayhawks down and they were playing with high confidence. But the final score was 76-69 in favor of KU. The team with the higher score at the end of regulation is the team that "deserved" to win the game. The score is all that counts. You can legitimately argue that your team "should" have won the game because to make that argument suggests that your team was responsible for blowing a huge lead.

But to say that you "deserved" it? No. You had fewer points at the end of the game. You don't deserve to win games when you are outscored.

Ted Adams 7 years, 9 months ago

Eh, I don't blame him for looking at things from that angle. We did the same a couple weeks ago after the game there. He told his team not to foul at the end, so it's hard to hate on him too hard. Hell, they made a game of it without their two starting guards. Granted we didn't have Cliff and then Perry, but they sure as hell didn't come in thinking they had no shot to win. I give them and their coaches props tonight, and thank goodness "The Phog" and it's mysterious ghosts of teams past came carried the boys to the end tonight.

Steve Zimmerman 7 years, 9 months ago

That's a problem running a very aggressive play game after game. Refs will have to do their job. Tough loss, but they should be proud of 'almost winning' without the 2 seniors, in the FH, beating us by a dozen or more rebounds. Rock Chalk!

Steve Jacob 7 years, 9 months ago

Did not even see the game, but WV takes KU to OT here without Staten while getting called for 31 fouls shows me KU will not go far in the tournaments.

Bill McGovern 7 years, 9 months ago

WV is underrated. They've got an extremely deep bench and guys who step up when their stars are injured. I think KU has a good chance to make a deep run if we have guys who step up like they did today (Traylor, Mickelson, Lucas) But I also believe we need Perry Ellis for a deep run, and having Cliff Alexander would really be a boost especially if he starts playing to his full potential.

Craig Koehn 7 years, 9 months ago

You didn't even see the game but still want to give a negative response. Yes Kansas played terrible in the first half and did not shoot 3's very well. BUT, they kept fighting and found a way to win. They seem to find a way to win an ugly game. The Texas game was ugly but found a way to win. They have very good toughness and pride. They may not be a final 4 team but I do believe they will make a big splash in the tournaments due to their heart and toughness. RCJH!!

Brandon Dey 7 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone know how many front end of 1 and 1's WV missed? Every one they would have made would bring their total free throw number up.

Allison Steen 7 years, 9 months ago

Ah yes, I didn't think about that! It was a handful

David McNickle 7 years, 9 months ago

How many did they miss and get the rebound? I can think of 3.

Doug Fogleman 7 years, 9 months ago

If you shot 26 three's you are not going to get foul as much as if you go to the paint. Also you press so you are going to foul more. It's that simple Great game for Hunter.

John Strayer 7 years, 9 months ago

Nothing last night was out of the norm for WVU this season...playing the aggressive style they do you're going to commit more fouls. It happened to them all season long...nothing new. The lead the league in fouls committed and opponents free throw shooting...

Robert Brown 7 years, 9 months ago

I think most of you misread the quotes from Huggins. I don't think he implied that the game was taken away from them. He mentioned that WV did not make the plays down the stretch to win the game. His team played very well given that their starting backcourt did not play.

I think the free throws discrepancy was widened at the end of the game because WV was forced to foul.

The amazing comeback, though, really did nothing to make me feel confident that this team has a deep run in the NCAA tournament in them, but that is why we play the games.

The Big 12 tournament should be fun, but I hope the teams are not so emotionally drained at the end of the tournament that they underperform in the NCAA tournament.

Robert Brock 7 years, 9 months ago

Great KU effort against a tougher-than-nails trapping defense. It looked like they had us whipped, but Frank Mason and Jamari Traylor weren't throwing in the towel. Great toughness. True grit.

It was terrific to see Hunter Mickelson make an important effort. He doesn't get enough credit for his contribution to the team.

Ben Kane 7 years, 9 months ago

if this site can start posting the post game interviews for the other teams' coaches that'd be great.

David McNickle 7 years, 9 months ago

It's amazing how bad this team can play in one half and then come back and play with so much energy in the second half. Mason and Traylor played great the second half. I thought Mickelson played really well for the whole game. Pretty gutty FT's by Graham. Not sure KU has had a team that can make so many mistakes and still find a way to win. Don't know what that says besides "11 straight". Anyone think Bill will play most of the starters sparingly on Saturday? Haven't shot the "3" ball well the last two games and most of those shots are coming up short. Tired legs?

Robert Brown 7 years, 9 months ago

I would definitely rest Ellis. Selden looked beat up last night and I would rest him as well. The OU game means nothing. I will not affect the seeding and KU will probably not be favored to win even if it were to be at full strength.

Robert Brown 7 years, 9 months ago

Some of the KU fans fail to acknowledge that the Big 12 has great coaches. There are way too many juvenile comments about opposing coaches on this and other message boards. Do I think Bill Self is the best coach in the conference? YES. Does he typically have the best player? YES.

Bob Huggins is a hall of fame coach and has a team that has overachieved. He is a perfect villain, but definitely worthy of respect.

A lot of people make disparaging remarks about Scott Drew. I can't imagine anyone taking a job under more difficult circumstances than he did.

I think most Hawk fans have respect for Hoiberg, Tubby Smith and Lon Kruger. Trent Johnson has my respect and the other three are all decent coaches.

Say, what you will about Rick Barnes, but his teams have missed the NCAA tournament once in 16 years. And interestingly, perhaps the two weakest coaches are the two that have played KU the toughest in recent years.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

I have absolutely no problem with Coach Huggins' comments. If we were in his shoes, we would say the same thing. Just remember the Michigan game in the Sweet Sixteen a couple of years ago.

I know it is just a matter of semantics, but I would say that both teams deserved to win the game. Should West Virginia have won? Probably so. However, saying that KU, or WVU for that matter, deserved to lose is an insult to the effort expended by both teams, who were glaringly playing short handed. WVU didn't have their two starting guards, one of whom is a candidate for Player of the Year. However, KU was without Perry Ellis for over half of the game, and most notably in the second half when KU made their run. Furthermore, it would have been nice to have Cliff Alexander available to help in the trenches.

In the end, the play of Frank Mason, Jamari Traylor, Devonte Graham, Kelly Oubre, and the lesser known names, Landon Lucas and Hunter Mickelson made the difference. Even Wayne Selden (who was playing hurt) and Brannen Greene had their moments.

The fact that KU could pull out a victory while missing all of their three point shots and being outrebounded significantly is a testament to the mind set that exists in this program thanks to the remarkable job that is done by Coach Self and his staff.

In short, you win some and you lose some, but KU is blessed to have a basketball program with such fantastic character and tradition.

Rock Chalk!

Carolyn Hunzicker 7 years, 9 months ago

Hey Huggy Bear.....Good coaches do not = DO NOT complain and cry to the REFS at every single time out

Dale Rogers 7 years, 9 months ago

Funny how when the officiating is as bad and as inconsistent as it was in this game, which side was favored depends entirely upon your personal bias. I, for example, am convinced KU got more of an officiating screwing than did West Virginia. Huggins thought differently. We're both right. The officiating was poor. Maybe they need to add a couple more officials to every game.

Robert Brown 7 years, 9 months ago

It is always hard to tell. I actually has no problem with the officiating at the end of the game, but I went to neutral Big 12 message board and the consensus was that KU benefitted from the late calls. I was a little surprised, but I sure many of the non-KU commenters were hoping for WV win.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

Miles Simon called it during the game, the officiating was very inconsistent throughout. One trip down, a ref would call some ticky tack foul and the next trip down, a player would get hammered in the paint and nothing would be called. It's been a problem in the Big 12 all year long.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 9 months ago

You are absolutely right, Aaron. The fourth foul on Kelly Oubre was ridiculous given the amount of physical play that was allowed underneath the basket. He eventually fouled out, which hampered us significantly. However, on the other side of the coin, the technical foul called on the WVU player for allegedly "staring down" Frank Mason was at best questionable.

I think the announcers even mentioned the technical called on Cliff Alexander a few games back for striking a "flexing muscles" pose after a basket. The exact same thing happened in last Saturday's OU vs. TCU game in Norman by OU's center. However, no technical was called. You can't tell me that with three officials on the floor, they didn't see it.

The inconsistency has been a significant problem this year. However, in a year when there haven't been very many blowouts, it's human nature to cherry pick certain plays to make the point that your team got screwed. Hopefully, it all balances out, but you'll never convince those in Ames, Norman, and Morgantown of that. Basically, they got their hearts ripped out by KU's comeback win last night

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 9 months ago

yeah, that was as weak of a technical foul for taunting as I have seen, ever. I'm almost glad that Mason only converted one of two, because I might have felt bad if that taunt had given us a two point benefit.

Michael Leiker 7 years, 9 months ago

Huggins is right, AFH gets KU calls, all there is to it, but it's not like we're going to close the place down any time soon so might as well deal or peace the F out Bobby

Roger Tobias 7 years, 9 months ago

Officiating is called differently when a Thuggins team is on the floor. I think they allow more aggressive play and he will push the envelope nevertheless. Been that way since he was at Cincinnati. Poor outside shooting, usually, and poor free throw shooting. Always trying to compensate with muscle for what you lack in talent.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't have a problem with his statement and am a bit puzzled by many of the comments here. As far as the foul discrepancy he doesn’t really have an argument because that’s what WV does. But I think he’s right, they should have won. If they shoot their average they win in regulation. Tough to lose a game on the line. Every KU fan can relate to that.

Matt Crist 7 years, 9 months ago

'Deserved to win' was a poor choice of words. 'Gave it away' is what he should have said. WVU freethrows: 16-for-28. Terrible. The KU crowd was obviously a factor, not to mention the inexperience of the backups. WVU needs to get healthy, and now so does Kansas.

Jeff Cobb 7 years, 9 months ago

Up eight with 1:55 left and lost? Yeah, I'd say WVU gave it away. KU gets the benefit of the doubt in all instances with the officials, especially at the Phog, just like all the blue blood programs around the country.That's ok. Hope we get the Jayhawks again in the Tournament. Should have swept you guys in the regular season. Absolutely no fear from our players. Should have Juwan and Gary Browne back by then. Hopefully you'll have Ellis and Alexander back.

John Boyle 7 years, 9 months ago

Jeff Cobb, Were you at the game or did you just watch it on TV. Live you could see all the pushing, holding, etc. all game long away from the ball by WVU. The officiating was bad because of inconsistency not because of favoring KU. They would allow holding, hand checks pushing and then call a touch foul that had no effect on the play. WVU lost the game because of lack of talent. They played the only way they could to stay in the game and that was to foul foul foul and hope not all were called. It worked for most of the game. But to say you should have swept the series is just wrong. KU should have swept the series. If Ellis takes one more dribble and slam dunks the ball at the end of the game in Morgantown (which he should have done) you would have lost both games. Huggins has not business complaining about the officiating after the "crap" they got away with in Morgantown. And after all WVU has the second most fouls this season in NCAA Div. 1 (out of 351 teams). It isn't just games at AFH, his teams just foul and foul a lot.

Brandon Moor 7 years, 9 months ago

In terms of the officiating, Miles Simon was spot on and he was vocal about it all game long. WVU is the best team in the country at turning their opponents over at one hell of a high rate. On the flip side, once the press is broken, it becomes a totally different game and the Mountaineers half court defense is bad until it comes to their ability to grab offensive rebounds and they're very good at it. The hand checking we see out of WVU's press is more or less 2 hand shoving which is irritating to watch. The downside to pressing at the rate WVU does is the high risk of piling up fouls. Ironically in the 2nd half, Self elected to trap a in a number of defensive possessions and was incredibly successful. Talk about serving a team a heavy dose of their own medicine, KU did it at a high level. The Mountianeers are a horrible half court offensive team and watching KU press & trap as much as they did sent WVU all out of sorts.

If there is one thing regarding officiating I find it a slap in the face to college basketball is when the slightest hand-check is called 30-40 feet from the basket as often as it is. Then you turn around to watch a football game break out inside the paint while officials swallow the whistles as the "let them play".

Huggins wasn't completely wrong in his post game presser. His choice of words was poor when he stated "we deserved to win". Unfortunately for WVU the game is 40 minutes. WVU played very well for for close to 30 minutes until Self decided to press forcing WVU to speed up at an uncomfortable rate. In the closing minutes, we attacked the basket every chance we got and made it pay off. WVU missed a truckload of FT's while our guys drained huge FT's.

I'll end by saying this. Has someone told me we would go 0-15 from 3, fall behind by 18, battle back to send the game to OT, I would have personally bought that person a straight jacket and immediately had them committed to the nearest mental health facility. Sorry Huggy Bear, in the end we were better and wanted it more.......not you.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

Coach Huggins,

Yes your team should have won the game. You forgot to teach them that no matter how much time is left on the clock and your team starts making bad decisions the Jayhawks will step in and take back the game .... in short order.

Always remind your team it's the Jayhawks with a deep bench = when the big names are out of the game for whatever reason there are other Jayhawks that can win the game. There is no room for screwing up.

All of the above was documented Tuesday,March 3 2015.

Yes WVU played good and they played hard.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't have a major issue with his comments. We should have won the first game, but it didn't happen. You play until the final whistle and that is what we did. We got breaks in the end, and won. This just makes for the makings of a good rivalry, and I say bring it on. Huggins is a good coach, and considering two of their starters were out and we barely won I would say he had his team prepared. Let's face off in the tournament and see what happens then. This is not the prettiest team to watch that we have this year, but they have grit. Rock Chalk/

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