With 9.1 seconds to go down by one, WVU tried to in bounds the ball to point guard Jabarie Hinds, but it tipped off his hands and bounced into the backcourt where guard Gary Browne picked it up. He dribbled into the paint and threw up a desperation layup, which was blocked by Wildcats’ forward Shane Southwell as the buzzer sounded.
“We played hard, and I thought we had every chance to win,” said head coach Bob Huggins. “Sometimes you screw up. We are just trying to do the right thing.”
Despite the 40-minute effort, West Virginia fell 65-64 at home to Kansas State.
Southwell and guard Rodney McGruder had 17 points each, and the Mountaineers could only hold the Wildcats to 51 percent shooting in the loss.
WVU had various chances to win the game, however.
With less than 25 seconds to play, freshman guard Eron Harris drained a circus baseline jumper to take the lead at 64-63.
“It comes down to possessions early in the game that we can’t give up and have to work harder for,” Harris said.
However, on the other end, WVU forward Dominique Rutledge fouled Southwell and put him to the free-throw lines. Despite the loud “Let’s go …Mountaineers” chant in the packed Coliseum, Southwell drained the two deciding free throws.
“This loss hurts, because we knew we could win this game. We were just one play short at home,” Hinds said. “We’ve just got to get better and play through some of these mistakes.”
Player of the Game
The game included seven ties and 11 lead changes.
WVU was led by Hinds, who finished with a career-high 15 points. Forward Aaric Murray had nine-second half points and finished with 11 points in the loss. Freshman guard Terry Henderson had 10 points.
The Mountaineers shot 51.1 percent from the field but struggled from the free-throw line. WVU went just 12-of-22 (54.5 percent). Hinds was just 1-of-6 from the line.
“I just couldn’t hit a foul shot. I missed five. That’s five we should’ve had if you think about it that way,” Hinds said. “It’s a mental thing … Some good things happen, and it feels like some bad things happen. I’ve just got to get all on the same page.”
Harris said: “We work so hard on free throws. We shoot them everyday in practice.”
WVU was out-rebounded by just one despite an eight-rebound disadvantage at halftime. The Mountaineers could pull down just four rebounds in the first half.
The Mountaineers and Wildcats had the same amount of points in the paint. Kansas State had 19 points off of 14 turnovers. WVU had just 11 points off the same number of KSU turnovers.
The game was close throughout, as no team had more than a seven-point lead throughout. The final 10 minutes were a one-possession game throughout, yet WVU couldn’t get over the hump.
The Mountaineers fall to 8-7 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 Conference play despite giving an effort-filled performance.
“We should’ve had it,” Harris said. “It’s tough, but we all know we should’ve had this game, so we’re not going to get too down right now. We still have a lot more games and a lot more ranked teams to play.”