"It's something we can't simulate in practice," WVU point guard Juwan Staten said. "We don't have any 7-footers. It's all a learning experience for us. We can take (the Texas) game and learn from it and use it as firepower and motivation for the next game."
Baylor now leads the Big 12 in rebounding margin (plus-8.3) and trails only Texas in offensive rebounds (14.46). WVU is No. 9 in the conference in rebounding margin (minus-0.8) and has given up more offensive rebounds than everyone but TCU.
The Bears are also No. 3 in blocked shots and lead the Big 12 in 3-point shooting. WVU has the Big 12's worst field-goal percentage defense and second-worst 3-point defense and its offense has had the second-most shots blocked by opponents.
Defensive and rebounding deficiencies and problems against size aren't new to the Mountaineers. They've played through and won with them this season, but Huggins has seen occasions when WVU allows itself to be overcome by its shortcomings.
The win against the Bears in Waco, Texas, was not one of those games. WVU scored 18 points off 17 Baylor turnovers and only committed six turnovers. The Bears didn't score off any of those. Despite being outrebounded 37-27, WVU was only outscored 11-10 on second-chance points and actually had one more offensive rebound (10-9). The turnover and offensive rebound differences helped WVU take 16 more shots in a 66-64 win.
It was a different story against Texas, which badly beat the Mountaineers on the boards. WVU still had a 15-13 scoring edge off turnovers and was only outscored 12-11 on second-chance points. Texas only had 11 turnovers and had as many baskets in the paint as WVU had for the entire game. In the end, the rebounding margin and the points inside added up and helped Texas to its season-high shooting percentage against a WVU team that wore down as the game progressed.
The Mountaineers can control those things if they do better controlling themselves.
"There aren't a lot of constants in our game," Huggins said. "You don't know if they're going to play man or zone or press. You don't know if they're going to make their shots or miss their shots. You don't know if we're going to make our shots or miss our shots. The constant is you can guard. You can sit your butt down and guard and make things difficult for them. And you can rebound the ball. Those two things are very much effort related."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu.