MORGANTOWN -- West Virginia's season didn't reach its end Friday night -- though the figurative definition may now challenge the literal one -- but Bob Huggins seemed close to edge.
A seventh loss in nine games, this one 61-60 at home to No. 10 Marquette after leading by 15 points in the second half, was followed by a candid and critical press conference. The Mountaineers coach targeted just about everyone not named Kevin Jones.
"This is as frustrated as I've been since my first year at Walsh College when I went home and asked my wife, 'Do you think I can sell insurance? Because I can't do this.'
"I can't lose like this. It eats me up. I can't do it. These guys, it doesn't seem to bother them much."
On national television, before a sold out Coliseum crowd of 12,087 and in their last regular-season game against a ranked team, WVU's bid for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid took a hit as it allowed the Golden Eagles to shoot 50 percent from the floor for the game, erase an 11-point halftime deficit and win despite benching three starters for the first half and a fourth player for the second half for violating team rules.
Marquette (24-5, 13-3 Big East) has won five straight games and 12 of 13 and dominated the Mountaineers (17-12, 7-9) in the second half. The Golden Eagles shot 53.6 percent and scored 26 of their 40 points in the paint. The only jump shots Marquette made were a pair of 3-point baskets.
WVU, which is 4-6 in games decided by six or fewer points, turned the ball over 10 times in the second half for 15 Marquette points. Marquette had seven steals in the second half and nine second-chance points on six offensive rebounds -- and that followed having none of either in the first half.
The Golden Eagles did enough despite committing 14 turnovers and missing 10 of 20 free-throw attempts, including two to give WVU a chance to win at the buzzer.
"I've been doing this 30 years, man, and people who have seen my teams play, we never got outmanned like we got outmanned (Friday)," Huggins said. "We never got outmanned. Never."
WVU was 11-for-30 in the second half and sprinkled its turnovers and other bad and bizarre decisions in critical situations. It bothered Huggins deeply.
He called one player a coward for refusing to take a charge. He suggested taking money out of some scholarships and charging those players for season tickets because they'd been spectators throughout the season. He threatened to not renew scholarships for next season.
Huggins called a timeout when the lead was slipping away and stomped out onto the floor to admonish freshman Aaron Brown for a turnover and then not getting back on defense. Marquette missed the run-out layup, but dunked the rebound since it was a 2-on-1 fast break.