"We stopped playing hard and stopped playing defense and they kept coming," freshman Gary Browne said. "It's more mental than physical with us. We come out and play hard, but we need to keep that going. We put ourselves in a hole and we need to these games coming up."
Symbolic of what Browne said was Pitt's significant edge in loose balls that could have gone to either team, but went mostly to the Panthers. The Mountaineers are normally a team that does well in that area and sometimes makes a living off of it whether on offense or defense or rebounding on either end.
That didn't happen against Pitt and WVU was noticeably passive against the Panthers.
"We don't converge on the ball," Huggins said. "Yeah, sure, they got some bounces. You always get some bounces. I thought we did, too, but I thought our center had the ball to start the second half and they just snatched it out of his hands and scored a layup.
"I thought that's what happened. Maybe it didn't. Maybe they beat us to the ball. We stand around and watch too much."
That can't happen for the Mountaineers, who don't like the idea they were beaten the way they beat others.
"At the end of the day, how those loose balls went to them and how they got them doesn't matter," forward Kevin Jones said. "They were the tougher team and did what it needed to do to win."
When things are working right for WVU, the defense crowds the ball and discourages passes. Teammates pass the ball and move around on offense. Players go hard after rebounds and loose balls.
The main reason Jones leads the conference in rebounding is because he battles for every ball. The main reason Browne leads the team in steals and rebounds as well as he does is because he has followed Jones' example.
It has to be that way for the Mountaineers to be successful.
"K.J. plays great, but we haven't have a player since Da'Sean (Butler) who creates his own shot," Kilicli said. "K.J. gets a lot of rebounds. That's how he scores a lot of points. He gets a lot of loose balls and he hustles a lot. That's what we have to do to beat teams. When we don't it hurts. You put more people around the ball, the better chance you have to get it."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142.