PITTSBURGH - West Virginia's eight-game winning streak against Duquesne came to an end Tuesday night with a second straight ugly loss in the Consol Energy Center.
Nobody who participated in this 60-56 defeat before a crowd of 6,244 mostly interested in the Mountaineers was around for the 2002 loss to the Dukes, but WVU sure has a familiar feeling.
"It seems like right now we're having the same season we had last year when we said from the beginning of this season it was not going to happen," sophomore guard Gary Browne said.
Naturally, not everyone agrees with Browne.
"Last year we were in better position," senior forward Deniz Kilicli said.
WVU is now 4-4, the worst start since a 4-4 beginning to the 1998-99 season, but this funk is fresher in the minds of most Mountaineers. Last season, WVU had the worst 3-point shooting percentage in school history (29.8 percent) and shot just 43.8 percent for the season.
That team was also 6-2 at this point, didn't lose its fourth game until Dec. 30 and won 19 games in the regular season to reach a fifth straight NCAA Tournament. That ended, though, with a 77-54 loss to Gonzaga in this building.
"The bottom line is it's my fault and I'm going to fix it," Coach Bob Huggins said.
These Mountaineers are now a little worried after blowing a 15-point second half lead and taking their first loss in the series since John Beilein's first road game as WVU's coach in 2002. WVU shot 33.3 percent and 22.2 percent from 3-point range and was outscored 37-20 in the second half.
"Complacent," senior guard Matt Humphrey said. "You can't be up 13 at the half and lose a game like that in college basketball."
WVU reunites with Beilein and his third-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday at the Barclays Center. Michigan moved to 10-0 with a 67-39 home win against Binghamton on Tuesday. Beilein has his team off to its best start since the 1988-89 season, when the Wolverines won a national championship.
Duquesne's Jerry Jones was 7-for-9 from the floor and led all scorers with 16 points and Derrick Colter scored five of his 12 points in the final two minutes. They combined for 24 points after halftime. Marvin Binney made all four of his shots and had 10 points for the Dukes (6-4), who shot 53.6 percent in the second half and wound up outrebounding WVU 43-39.
Juwan Staten led WVU with 13 points, but missed 11 of his 16 shots and scored just three points after halftime. Browne had 10 points, all in the first half, and Humphrey, who had been bothered by a shoulder injury and missed two of the previous four games and played a total of four minutes in the other two, had 10 points.
The Mountaineers were 9-for-32 in the second half, when they also missed 6 of 7 free throws and 7 of 8 3-pointers.