Seniors determined to lead WVU out of losing streak
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 01:02
After losing its third game in a row Monday night against Pittsburgh, the West Virginia men's basketball team is starting to feel a sense of urgency.
It's started to see its stock for an NCAA tournament drop and has dropped from third in the Big East Conference standings to tie at No. 8 in the league.
Because of that, it's tough for this young Mountaineer team to keep their confidence high. Getting this team back on the right track is where the team's two seniors will be essential.
"It's tough. (The St. John's game) caused a chain reaction," said senior forward Kevin Jones. "It's hard, especially when you have younger guys. They automatically want to put their heads down and kind of give up, so to speak.
"You've just got to keep their spirits up high, and try to bounce back."
The first step for Jones and senior guard Truck Bryant is going to be to get the team together, and talk about what needs to be fixed. Bryant said they hoped to get the message across in the form of a players-only team meeting.
"We need to go from there. We need to win some games and, we've got to win them fast," Bryant said. "Our freshmen will look at the team leaders (during the meeting) and know what position we're in right now. We just need to get back to playing good."
What's different about Monday's loss compared to the others, the players agreed, just came down to the way Pitt outworked the Mountaineers.
The other games, some things came down to getting bad bounces. That's not what happened Monday.
"We didn't make the necessary plays in order to win. They out-toughed us," Jones said. "We can't use being young as an excuse anymore. We can't use any excuse."
Bryant agreed with Jones and added that losing is starting to get harder and harder for the upperclassmen who, up to this point in their careers, had yet to lose three games in a row while playing at West Virginia.
"I know it's rough for the young guys, but it's rough for me (too). I'm just not used to losing," Bryant said. "We just didn't have that swagger (Monday). We didn't come out to play, and it was just like we had no energy.
"We just need to get it back together, and we need to get it back together quick."
There's only one way to get things back together, and it will start Saturday when the Mountaineers travel to Providence.
"It's not over by a long shot," Jones said. "We control how hard we can play out there and how many mistakes we make.
"We're going to have to make a dramatic bounce back, but it can be done I think if we collectively come together and put our minds to it. I think we can get out of this hole we're in."