For a game that was so physical, and quite ugly at times, it's hard to imagine such a disparity in fouls. More importantly, such a disparity in foul shots. Marquette ended the game 24-27 from the line while WVU was 6-10. It would be real easy to cry foul or some other frustrated gut reaction, but WVU didn't get screwed by the refs. They got screwed by bad decisions and not moving their feet.
Truck Bryant running headlong into defenders for two charging fouls took him out of the game early and forced the Mountaineers to run the offense with Alex Ruoff and Da'Sean Butler handling the ball. West Virginia can do that, but it changes responsibilities for those two and keeps them from their primary role, which is moving without the ball and scoring. It also forces them to defend smaller, faster guards. Over the course of a game that will take a toll.
Having said that, I don't mean to imply that this loss is all on Bryant. I'm just pointing out the precarious situation the Mountaineers are in with only one true point guard.
This was compounded by West Virginia failing to capitalize on the cold shooting of Marquette in the first half. Instead of playing smart basketball, we committed pointless fouls and poor shooting decisions that allowed Marquette to stay in the game. Also of note, Marquette kept West Virginia from second chance points that have helped the Mountaineers to this point in the season.
Unlike the UConn game that was frustrating but you could see how easily we could have won, there is no silver lining in this loss. It's time to regroup and focus on the things that work and the things that don't. West Virginia has games against Marshall in Charleston and South Florida in Morgantown this week. West Virginia needs to regain the confidence that brought them to this point and focus on making good decisions.
photo from Blue Gold News