Freshman guard Gary Browne has started the past three games with mixed results. Senior Truck Bryant came off the bench for the first time in 81 games in a win at Pitt, but started Wednesday.
Keaton Miles started 26 of the first 27 games, but didn't play against the Irish. Fellow freshman Aaron Brown, who had played in every game, also did not play Wednesday.
Huggins said he couldn't rely on them to play defense the way the Mountaineers needed against the Fighting Irish and was done giving them opportunities they hadn't earned.
"The way we were going to play ball screens, you have to get off the help (defense)," Huggins said. "They've refused all year to get off the help. They've refused to get off the help in practice. I didn't think they'd do us any good.
"When you put a line on the floor and say, 'Run to the line,' it's really not hard. When you continue to not do it, at some point enough is enough."
Huggins raced through timeouts as the game got away from him Wednesday night. He was so fed up with the defense that he asked his players to tell him who they thought they could guard so he could let them try.
He played walk-on Paul Williamson 15 minutes and freshman Tommie McCune 10 minutes - and McCune was suspended for the Pitt game.
Browne and freshman Jabarie Hinds combined to shoot 3-for-13 for nine points, five assists and five turnovers.
"We've got two guys playing point guard who have never played point guard in their lives," Huggins said. "Some days they're OK. Other days they're not OK. I was going to leave Jabarie in there to see how many he could miss."
Three of their turnovers led to transition and eight points for the Irish in a momentous run. After the third turnover, Hinds airballed a 3 and Notre Dame answered with another 3-pointer.
Huggins had no other options, though, and afterward he sounded like a coach resigned to an unpleasant fate.
"We're probably the most non-athletic team in the league," Huggins said. "When you're not athletic, you take quick shots and all of a sudden they're running at you and you've got problems."
He has two seniors and one junior to go with five freshmen and a junior college player who still keep the team from doing a lot of what it wants to do.
"The younger guys, they're shocked about everything that happened," Jones said. "When you get beat like this, they kind of worry and get down on themselves, but just like always, we've got to band together.
"We've got three more games left in the regular season and we've got to find a way to win them. That's what this is all about now."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142.