NORMAN, Okla. -- Out of patience and nearly out of time as a college basketball player at West Virginia University, Deniz Kilicli confessed after Wednesday night's 83-70 loss to Oklahoma he was also running out of ways to sum up the way his senior year has unfolded.
"I can't find anything positive to say after all these games this year," he said.
Kilicli wasn't being dramatic. He was being literal. A moment later, he abruptly ended a post-game interview and disappeared behind the team's locker room doors, no longer able to stifle his frustrations. It was an uncharacteristic cession to emotions from the normally elaborative Kilicli, but one best understood with the emotion that preceded the conclusion.
"It's been rough on everybody," he said. "Personally, it's been rough on me. I'm not healthy, you know? I'm not healthy. I can't sleep. I can't eat."
The only way the Mountaineers make any postseason appearance for a 10th consecutive season is to win the Big 12 Tournament next week.
"Yeah, we have a chance," Kilicli said. "We can go to the NCAA Tournament. Yeah, we can go do that, but if we keep doing this, our season will end next week. We already made history. This group of guys, us, we made history already."
The loss to the Sooners was the fifth in a row, the longest losing streak since the 2004-05 season that ended in the Elite Eight. A losing season is virtually guaranteed and that hasn't happened since the 2003-04 season.
The 17 losses are already the most in Coach Bob Huggins' 31-year career as a college coach. The losing streak is a first at the Division I level, too. He hadn't lost five straight games since the 1980-81 season at the NAIA's Walsh College, that against Heidelberg, Wooster, Bethany, Fairmont State and Urbana. That team won its next game and finished 14-16.
Huggins had only lost four straight games once in 28 years as a Division I coach, the 1984-85 season at Akron, his first at this level. The Zips finished 12-14.
WVU also lost to the Sooners for the third time in as many games this season. The 1998-99 Villanova team was the last to go 3-0 against the Mountaineers in one season.
"I don't know, man," Kilicli said. "I feel like we just don't have that -- I don't know what it is. Somebody calls it toughness. Some people call it having heart. Whatever. We just don't have that, I feel like."
Kilicli had 20 points in 9-for-13 shooting. Freshman Eron Harris added 23 points and five 3-point baskets. Aaric Murray scored 10 points off the bench and each would key a few rallies to get as close as three points in the second half after trailing by 17 points in the first half.