Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

MICKEY FURFARI

March 19, 2013

Column: WVU windup typical of whole season

MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia men’s basketball team’s final game of the year seemed to size up the entire 2012-13 season very well.

In losing by 71-69 on a tip-in by Texas Tech with just four seconds left, the Mountaineers lacked consistency. They played very well at times throughout the Big 12 Conference Tournament first-round contest only to fall short at the end.

That was typical in numerous games this year as WVU wound up with a disheartening 13-19 record, competing in the Big 12 for the first time.

The year-ending seven-game losing streak is the longest in legendary coach Bob Huggins’ great 31-year coaching career. This team also snapped the school’s nine-year post-season number of consecutive appearances. So were the 19 losses his highest number ever in a year.

West Virginia suffered a school-high 20 losses in 2001-02, Gale Catlett’s final year as head coach. His 1998-99 team had the program’s only other 19-loss season.

You might want to know that WVU enjoyed just eighteen 20-or-more win seasons in the last 42 years of men’s basketball competition.

This year’s team gave up more points per game (68.1) than those of the past 10 years. Offensively, the team’s average number of points per game (66.1) is the lowest in Huggins’ six seasons as head coach here.

As a result, WVU finished without at least one player averaging double figures in scoring for the first time since World War II was raging in 1944.

Eron Harris, a fine freshman guard, was the team’s leading scorer at 9.8 points per game this year. He tallied 10 points or more in 12 of his last 17 games.

Last summer Coach Huggins told me that “We’re going to be better than we were last season — a lot better.”

Unfortunately, the Mountaineers were worse — a lot worse — than he anticipated.

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MICKEY FURFARI