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NCAA Tournament 2011: Second Half Slump Ends Mountaineers' Season

Well, the dream ends here.  Not many people would have thought the Mountaineers could win, but when you have an eight point halftime lead, you should win.  Unfortunately, today that wasn't the case.  Briefly, on the Mountaineers' 71-63 loss to Kentucky:

  • The Shooting Slump.  It has struck West Virginia repeatedly this season, and today's game was no different.  After riding a wave of momentum into the locker room with an eight point lead, West Virginia came out flat in the second half.  Over six minutes of play had gone by before the 'Eers could put a point on the board, and by that time their lead had disappeared.  Despite that slump, West Virgina hung in there and managed to take a four point lead into the next to last media timeout.  Again, the Mountaineers failure to score the ball again reared it's head as West Virgina went five more minutes without a point.  By that point, Huggins' squad was grasping at straws.  The college basketball season is long, and by March, you are who you are.  In 2010, the Mountaineers were a team that struggled to score and it ultimately cost them their season.
  • Five guys say goodbye.  Today was the last time five Mountaineer seniors would take the court.  Cam Thorougman and Joe Mazzulla had games emblematic of their time with West Virginia.  Thoroughman picked opponents into oblivion, and Mazzulla was a whirling dervish of action, particularly early in the game.  Casey Mitchell's game also matched his body of work.  He hit a couple big shots, but had a couple of equally bad misses.  Jonnie West even saw time as desperation heaves were needed in the game's waning moments. Most disappointingly, John Flowers, one of the most improved Mountaineers in recent memory, was a non-factor.  Flowers had a disappointing tournaments and was a non-entity in either game of this tournament.  For a player who turned in many of this season's highlights, it was a disappointing way to go out.

That slams the door on basketball season.  Hope your bracket is still alive, and I'll see you again at Milan Puskar Stadium this fall....

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.