LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Between games in the Old Spice Classic, teams are given 20 minutes to warm up.It took West Virginia coach Bob Huggins until 15:21 remained in the first half of the second game -- Marist-Vanderbilt -- to emerge from his team's locker room.He looked drained. He looked upset. He looked frustrated.The reason: The Mountaineers had just lost 63-60 to the Southern Conference's Davidson and fallen to 1-2 overall. Their only victory so far is over the Red Foxes of Marist.
Davidson (3-2) received double-figure scoring from four players - led by Chris Czerapowicz's 15 points and a late-game 3-point dagger - to nudge WVU. The Mountaineers will play Oklahoma at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the HP Field House at Walt Disney World for third place. The game will be aired on ESPNU.Huggins shook his head after emerging. After his team uncorked a 52.9-percent shooting performance in an 87-44 victory over Marist, the Mountaineers fell to 40 percent against the Wildcats. "We go 8 for 17 from the foul line," said Huggins. "We got 60 shots, they got 41. They make six 3s, we make four. The whole thing came down to us not making any free throws."The deciding action came late in the game. Davidson led by eight with 8:53 remaining, but WVU stayed in the game. Huggins used a 1-3-1 and pressure defenses that seemed to help.Mountaineer guard Juwan Staten stole the ball and converted a lay-in to close his team's deficit to one at 58-57. But in the euphoria of the moment, WVU forgot to defend.In transition, Davidson's Nik Cochran found Czerapowicz open in the right corner. He buried a trey -- and, effectively, WVU -- with 54 seconds left to make the score 61-57."Nik found me really open there," Czerapowicz said. "[West Virginia] had just scored and they were really excited, but Nik got the ball quickly and pushed it and attacked and drew a couple guys. I was open and I wouldn't give that shot up because I was so open. I'm glad [Cochran] saw me.""We got caught in 'Yeah!'" said WVU's Deniz Kilicli. "We got excited. We didn't run back like we're supposed to run back."After Czerapowicz's shot, WVU's offense struggled before a pass went inside to Kilicli, who was tied up. The ball went to the Mountaineers, though, and they did capitalize. Freshman Terry Henderson hit a 3-point bucket with 13.6 seconds left.After a timeout, however, Davidson cleanly got the ball into steady guard Cochran. Staten was forced to foul with 10.7 seconds left.Cochran made both shots to account for the final numbers. WVU did get off one last shot, but Staten's attempt from the left wing rimmed out.
"The play was to get a high ball screen and draw Terry's man and kick it to him for a shot," said Staten, who led his team with 15 points. "But their wings denied, so I tried to get it to Terry off a brush screen. He didn't feel he was open, so he kicked it to me and I had to get a shot up. It felt good. It looked good. It just went in and out."As mentioned, poor shooting again hurt WVU, but so too did fouls. Standout center Aaric Murray picked up his third foul with 2:50 left in the first half and didn't start the second half. That's when Davidson made up a 32-30 halftime deficit and went on to lead by eight. Kilicli committed his third foul 16 seconds into the second half.Kilicli left, but returned at the 17:37 mark. Murray returned at 15:35. But the Wildcats went right after the big men and Murray got his fourth at 13:58 on a De'Mon Brooks drive. Murray fouled out at 1:56. Kevin Noreen, WVU's third big man, didn't help.Fouls proved a major factor. WVU was whistled for 22, while Davidson was called for 21. But the Mountaineers hit 47.1 percent of their free throws to the Wildcats' 77.3.Huggins and Kilicli both spoke of the officiating crew of Joe DeRosa, Mike Eades and Zelton Steed.
"Officiating is very inconsistent, and that's not an indictment on anybody today," Huggins said. "Different guys just see the game different ways. We don't adjust. And we made some really dumb plays.
"We've got three bigs. We get them in foul trouble and, all of a sudden, we're trying to play [6-7] Keaton [Miles] at [power forward] or Matt Humphrey at [power forward] and they don't know what they're doing. When we get Dom [Rutledge] and [Volodymyr Gerun] we will have some options."Rutledge, Huggins said, will be available for Sunday's game after a suspension. Gerun has to sit three more games because of an NCAA eligibility ruling.Kilicli was more blunt about the officials."The refereeing was horrible," he said. "But stuff happens like that. When I look at it, [the officials] were horrible to both sides. We shot 17 free throws; they shot 22. That's pretty close."WVU played well defensively in the first half, holding Davidson to 41.7 percent shooting, but allowed the Wildcats to hit 58.8 percent in the second half."I thought we were going to win this game," said WVU's Jabarie Hinds. "We started with great defensive intensity. I thought we'd bring it to the second half and win."Huggins and Kilicli, though, summed up WVU's loss. "We missed at least seven 1-footers that I can remember," said the Mountaineer coach. "You can't do that and beat good teams. You can't miss nine free throws.""Basketball isn't all about scoring, but it's part of it," Kilicli said. "You've got to score. We couldn't score."Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.
Davidson 63, WVU 60West Virginia (1-2) M FG FT R A PDeniz Kilicli 28 4-8 2-6 11 2 10Aaric Murray 21 3-5 0-0 8 1 6Juwan Staten 30 6-14 3-4 3 1 15Jabarie Hinds 25 4-9 0-0 2 1 8Aaron Brown 7 0-2 0-0 2 0 0Gary Browne 19 4-10 2-2 3 0 11Terry Henderson 28 2-7 0-0 1 2 6Matt Humphrey 18 1-4 1-4 2 1 4Kevin Noreen 16 0-1 0-0 2 0 0Keaton Miles 8 0-0 0-0 0 1 0Team 1 Totals 200 24-60 8-17 35 9 60Davidson (3-2) M FG FT R A PJake Cohen 13 4-6 3-4 2 0 11De'Mon Brooks 33 3-9 6-7 3 0 12Tyler Kalinoski 33 2-8 0-0 3 1 6Nik Cochran 38 1-3 4-4 3 7 6Chris Czerapowicz 33 5-10 2-4 9 0 15Jordan Barham 7 0-0 0-1 0 0 0Tom Droney 21 0-0 2-2 1 4 2Clint Mann 22 5-5 0-0 4 0 11Team 1 Totals 200 20-41 17-22 26 12 63 Halftime: WVU 32-30. 3-point goals: WVU 4-13 (Staten 0-1, Hinds 0-2, Brown 0-2, Browne 1-1, Henderson 2-4, Humphrey 1-3), Davidson 6-16 (Kalinoski 2-7, Cochran 0-1, Czerapowicz 3-7, Mann 1-1). Fouled out: WVU (Murray), Davidson (Cohen). Attendance: 2,927.