Bob Huggins unsure how to fix team after West Virginia’s blowout loss at TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas — West Virginia has already lost games that went down to the final minutes this season. The Mountaineers lost a game after holding a 21-point lead.
The only thing left was to get blown out, which the Mountaineers did Tuesday night in an 98-67 against TCU, in front of 6,734 fans inside the Schollmaier Arena. It was the most points the Mountaineers (8-9, 0-5 Big 12) have allowed in Big 12 play.
“It wasn’t their defense that gave us problems,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “It was their offense. They’re a good defensive team, but they’re a great offensive team.”
There was more, TCU’s 20-point halftime lead was the largest deficit faced by WVU this season, but then the Horned Frogs blew that up and went up by as many as 35, before both teams began to sub players out.
“For the most part, I think the guys who were out there, I think we gave it our all,” said West Virginia guard Beetle Bolden, who finished with 15 points, but picked up a technical foul and fouled out of the game late in the second half. “It just wasn’t our night tonight. I kept saying in our huddle, ‘We still have got a lot to prove and we still have got a lot of time on the clock, so play every minute as hard as you can.’ ”
And well before it was over, it was over, and no amount of coaching or instruction from Huggins could change what was happening on the court.
“We didn’t compete,” Huggins said. “We got down and we kind of settled to lose instead of competing.
“I think that’s the most its been that rampant. We’ve got a couple of guys who don’t compete and we got a couple of guys who won’t listen. I’m not going to ask them to do anything anymore. They can just sit on the bench and be happy, I guess.”
TCU, after starting the game 1 for 7 shooting and getting held to just two points over the first three minutes of the game, took control soon after. Any hope the Mountaineers had of picking up their first league win of the season ended right there, as Bolden, Jermaine Haley, Derek Culver, Esa Ahmad, Chase Harler and Lamont West all picked up two fouls — Bolden picked up two before the game was two minutes old and eventually picked up a third in the first half — and the Horned Frogs (13-3, 2-2) began to heat up.
“Beetle getting the two early hurt, but he’s playing hard and its not necessarily his fault,” Harler said. “Other people have to step up, including myself. We didn’t do a good job of guarding them.”
It was the fourth-worst loss of Bob Huggins’ coaching career and he was relegated to sitting quiet on his stool with his arms crossed during the final minutes.
What else could he say after the Mountaineers gave up more than 90 points for the third time this season?
“I don’t know, is it a fear of losing or a fear of winning and then people are going to expect things from you? I’m not sure,” Huggins said. “They say the right things most of the time, but then they don’t go out and do them.”
In getting there, TCU connected on 12 3-pointers, the most in Big 12 play against WVU since Kansas got 15 last March and shot 47.5 percent (29 of 61) from the floor.
Those numbers are only going to worsen a West Virginia defense that was already the worst in the Big 12 in those two categories.
“Early, we had some good looks, but we weren’t making them,” Harler said. “While we weren’t making them, TCU was hitting shots. You can trade buckets, but if you’re not scoring, the hole only gets deeper. That’s kind of what happened.”
TCU, which played without injured starting guards Jaylen Fisher and RJ Nembhard, scored 50 points in the second half, matching the same effort the Mountaineers gave up last week against Kansas State, when the Wildcats erased a 21-point deficit to win.
West Virginia’s largest lead in this one was only three points and it did not last very long.
Desmond Bane stepped in and went for 26 points and TCU point guard Alex Robinson had a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. In all, six TCU players scored in double figures.
“We beat ourselves, honestly,” Bolden said. “Our coaches did a fantastic job of preparing us for each and every game, just like they did tonight. We didn’t execute. We were late with our communications and that led to TCU getting a lot of easy baskets at the rim.”
Wesley Harris, fresh off getting benched last week against Oklahoma State, finished with 13 points, but the Mountaineers were held to just 38 percent shooting (23 of 60).

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