West Virginia takes three-game losing streak to Kansas to face No. 6 Jayhawks
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 08:03
Life’s not getting any easier for the West Virginia men’s basketball team.
A tough, late-game loss to Baylor Wednesday night handed the Mountaineers their third-straight defeat – their second three-game losing streak of the season.
Now, the struggling Mountaineers (13-15, 6-9) will travel to Allen Fieldhouse, one of the toughest places in the country to play, to earn a road victory in the country to face No. 6 Kansas (24-4, 12-3) Saturday afternoon in Lawrence, Kan.
Allen Fieldhouse has nearly reached 200-consecutive sellouts, and head coach Bill Self has a home record of 159-8 as head coach of the Jayhawks, giving Self as many home losses (8) as Big 12 Championships (8) in 10 seasons in Lawrence.
West Virginia will look to build on some flashes of offensive success shown against the Bears Wednesday.
"I thought the guys that we had on the floor really did execute. We just didn’t make the shots," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.
It was the crucial moments down the stretch that ultimately doomed the Mountaineers.
"It’s frustrating," Huggins said. "We don’t get any stops when we need to get stops. We don’t make any shots when we need to make shots."
Freshman guard Eron Harris will enter the Kansas game fresh off his most impressive game of the season.
Harris scored a career-high 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting against Baylor. Harris, though, was 0-of-5 from the field and registered just two points in the first matchup between the Mountaineers and Jayhawks.
But Harris’ role has changed since late January.
"They didn’t guard him before. He was the guy they helped off of," Huggins said. "Now that can’t help off him. He’s been a focal point of everyone’s game
preparation for the last seven or eight games."
Kansas is led by two all-American candidates in freshman Ben McLemore and senior Jeff Withey. Seniors Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson both also are averaging double-digits in scoring.
The Mountaineers held McLemore to just 3-of-7 shooting in the first matchup between the two schools – a 61-56 win for then-No. 2 Kansas – due to foul trouble in the first half.
West Virginia will need to keep McLemore in check again Saturday if it wants a chance at the upset.
For the veteran Huggins, though, this has been a season to forget.
He has tried multiple schemes and lineups, and is still unable to find positive results.
"I’ve tried everything other than put a peach basket up," Huggins said.
Expect even more changes and new looks to be presented Saturday at 2 p.m.