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Forte rallies Cowboys past West Virginia 80-66

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm •  Published: January 26, 2013

The Mountaineers (9-10, 2-4) never got closer than 11 over the final 10 minutes.

"They made shots that we didn't," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "We kind of helped them. We helped them by leaving them to kind of get them started. It's a lot easier to have to make one after you've made a couple.

"We helped off the wrong people and at the wrong times."

Eron Harris scored 17 points to lead the Mountaineers, and Deniz Kilicli had 12 points before fouling out with 6:35 to play.

West Virginia's first three weeks of Big 12 play have been filled with wild swings.

The Mountaineers blew a 12-point lead in the second half of their conference debut before losing to Oklahoma, overcame a late 10-point deficit to win at Texas in overtime and rallied from an 18-point second-half hole at Iowa State only to lose on a layup in the final seconds.

This one fit right in.

Terry Henderson had a two-handed slam and a 3-pointer as West Virginia used a 20-4 run to take control early, holding the Cowboys to just two baskets over an 11-minute stretch that featured Ford discarding his suit coat while fed up after an official's call. Kilicli's driving layup stretched the Mountaineers' lead to 24-11 with 5½ minutes left in the first half before Oklahoma State switched to an effective zone defense.

A flustered Huggins struggled to explain his team's inconsistency, saying the problems are mental and not physical.

"We just let down for whatever reason," Huggins said. "I don't know. I don't understand it. I'd like to be clairvoyant so I would know what they're thinking because I have no clue."

He described drawing up a play in a timeout after Oklahoma State had deployed its 2-3 zone, instructing his players to line up in a triple stack on one side of the court. When they went out to resume play, two were together in the stack and the third was standing on the wing instead of where he was supposed to be.

"I can't get guys on the right side of the floor after a timeout," said Huggins, who has 719 career wins. "I think if you look historically at my teams, we've scored at an extremely high rate after timeouts. I can't get these guys on the right side of the floor. And they know it. They know the stuff. It's not that they don't know the stuff. I don't know what goes through their heads."