KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – What started as a glimpse of hope quickly became another setback for West Virginia.
During the first nine minutes of Saturday's 83-66 loss against No. 1 Tennessee, mountaineers led 19-7 and gave a glimpse of optimism that ravaged his rebellion against Kansas one week earlier.
It was the next 9 1/2 minutes that spelled their last death in the annual SEC / Big 12 Challenge. 19659002] To be precise it was 9:31, when the mountain climbers missed 12 consecutive shots and sounded two free throws that kept them 19 years longer than Zac Efron.
"We came out strong and fell apart," West Virginia guard Chase Harler said. "We went through a small scoring drought."
There really was nothing about it. Three of the missions were lay-ups, four were 3-point attempts, and all looked like a number of other offensive droughts, which the mountaineers (9-1
"I thought defensively we played as good as we have all year in the first half," said Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. "We just sat at the offensive end. We did nothing but shoot the ball. We had no concept of what we were trying to do."
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who fell to 1-5 as the climber's coach in The challenge looked a little different.
"We ran an out-of-bounds game and had a guy open and we hit him in the foot," he said. "It hurts. We ran a curl and I think we had a guy open that I probably could have passed where I stood and we didn't throw him the ball. I think a lot of it was us. [Tennessee] I have always had great respect for Rick, but when you are open, you should probably throw him the ball where he can catch it. We created many of our own problems. "
And they are problems that essentially been there since day 1 with this team. After taking the early 12-point lead, Volunteers (18-1, 6-0 SEC) exceeded West Virginia 24-2 over the last 11 minutes of the first half to take a 31-21 lead.
It only got worse in the second half as Tennessee continued to build its lead up to as many as 21 – the second straight game WVU has faced at least a 20-point deficit.
When all was said and said, volunteers were 52 Second half points were the most scored against climbers this season. It was the third time WVU allowed 50 or more in half.
"They began to get what they wanted," West Virginia told Esa Ahmad, who ended with 16 points and seven rebounds. "We took nothing away. They are No. 1 for a reason."
Held to 34.5 percent shot in the first half, Tennessee shot 59.4 percent (19 of 32) in the second half, which took away thoughts about another half run by Mountaineers.
There has also been a trend. In the 11 games since the center of Sagaba Konate has been out with his knee injury, opponents shoot 46 percent against West Virginia and score 76 points per game.
"During this scoring, we didn't play defense," Harler said. "For the first two years here, when we had [Jevon Carter] and [Daxter Miles Jr.] and Tarik [Phillip]we had to dry, but we kept other teams from scoring.
" It's hard enough when you don't score, But we can't just let the teams continue to score as they have. "
West Virginia's 24 sales did not help and volunteers scored 20 points from them. It was the fifth time this season that the climbers ended up with 20 or more in a game.
" We fought for to pass the ball, "said Harler, adding nine points." We tried to run certain things. We tried to get into one of our offenses, which is a reading. We wanted to see how the defense would play it and we didn't get the right reading. We had 24 sales, which is just unacceptable. "
Ahmad was a plus in the second half, who was freshman ahead Derek Culver, who ended with 15 points and six rebounds. It was his basket of paint that ended the mountaineer's scoring wipe with 1:34 back in half.  At that time, Tennessee had turned 12-point deficit into a 24-21 lead, Tennessee scored the next 10 points and WVU never came as close to nine points in the second half.
Made his first start since 2017 SEC Tournament led Lamonte Turner Tennessee with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting and reigning SEC player of the year Grant Williams added 19 points and four assists. Admiral Schofield had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"We are generally proud to be able to protect, "Huggins said." This group has pretty much made me a liar. "