It's getting to be an old, familiar story for the Mountaineers, who fell behind early then roared back to beat No. 25 Ohio state on Jan. 23.
"It was a tale of two halves," guard Joe Mazzulla said.
This time the deficit grew to 14 points before WVU turned to its defense to dig out of the hole.
The Mountaineers are flirting with disaster.
"It was nice that we could come back," senior forward Da'Sean Butler said. "But we shouldn't have to do that in the second half all the time. I don't even know where our heads were at the beginning of the game. We just sat there and took it. We let them drive on us and shoot open shots."
As they get into the heart and the heat of the Big East season, rallies are not going to come so easily.
ON THE SPOT: F Devin Ebanks continues to struggle offensively. When he scored only 7 points against Ohio State it marked three consecutive games without scoring in double figures and four of his last five. In fact, over his last seven games he has averaged less than 8 points a game. His defense, however, has not suffered as he shut down Ohio State star Evan Turner in the second half of that victory, holding him without a field goal.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "(Ohio State is) a Top 50 RPI team. I think we've only beaten two of them before this, so it helps our resume. I think it helps prove we're able to play with the best of the best. That's a great Top 50 win for us. And we've got a lot more coming up, so we have to take advantage of those as well.'" -- WVU G Joe Mazzulla.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: After going through a spell in which they lost three of six games -- two of them to Top 10 teams Purdue and Syracuse and one at Notre Dame, where few outsiders win -- the Mountaineers seem to have things back together. Their victory over Ohio State on Jan. 23 was built on an impressive defensive performance in the second half, and if this WVU team is going to win it will be with defense. WVU now owns two victories this year over ranked teams -- the No. 25 Buckeyes and the then No. 9 Ole Miss Rebels.
Notre Dame 70, West Virginia 68
West Virginia 68, Marshall 62
West Virginia 71, Ohio State 65
at DePaul, Tuesday, Jan. 26
vs. Louisville, Saturday, Jan. 30
vs. Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Feb. 3
at St. John's, Saturday, Feb. 6
vs. Villanova, Monday, Feb. 8
IN FOCUS: WVU begins to gear up for the month of February, which will start with a bang as the Mountaineers play at home against two of the nation's top teams in Pitt and Villanova. The Pitt rivalry game is always a slamming affair, and the matchup with Villanova pits the preseason Nos. 1 and 2 Big East teams.