West Virginia has had a rough couple of weeks. After making it all the way to the championship game of the Cancun Classic, the Mountaineers have lost three of their last four games. All three losses have come at the hands of ranked opponents. Monday night’s loss to the Gonzaga Bulldogs was the first home loss for the Mountaineers.
For a majority of the contest, the Mountaineers had everything under control. That is, until Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos went completely unconscious. Until late in the second half, Pangos had been bottled up by the stifling Mountaineers defense. Pangos’ 11 points in the final six minutes was enough to give the Bulldogs the 80-76 victory.
For 36 minutes, West Virginia was the superior team on the court. It was the final four minutes of regulation that sealed their fate. The Mountaineers only had five turnovers in the game. In a game of swings, a four-minute period can be the difference between victory and defeat. The Mountaineers found out the hard way and fumbled away a sure victory to Gonzaga.
With three games left in non-conference play, it is up to head coach Bob Huggins to get the Mountaineers’ minds right. Every team hits their rough patch, and hopefully this is that one rough patch for a promising West Virginia squad. The two-headed monster that is Juwan Staten and Eron Harris played a combined 78 minutes and combined for 40 of the team’s 76 points.
Translation? The Mountaineers need to find some bench productivity in a hurry. That is the quick fix to their current woes.
Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyOCS and Facebook.