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Displaying a lack of fundamentals that would embarrass an average high school team, WVU fell to 1-8 in the Big East conference with a 76-64 loss to Syracuse on Big Monday.

The Mountaineers once again dug a crater with a horrendous opening 20 minutes. They turned the ball over 17 times, went without a basket for nearly eight minutes, and scored only 21 points in the entire period.

The makings of this terrible display were almost too painful to watch. WVU tried to dribble through zones. They threw lazy lob passes that were easily defended or intercepted. They launched a variety of ill-advised shots.

"We were lethargic," said returned head coach Gale Catlett. "That's the first time Schifino, Hargett, Sally and Briggs have played in here."

Despite the carnage, West Virginia managed to keep it within 17 points at the half. It should have been 40.

Again following form, WVU opened the second half with a run to make it interesting. Suddenly, WVU was playing intelligently on defense. They made the easy and smart pass. They hit a few shots. And before you knew it, the game was tied at 58.

And then, the bubble burst. The first half play reared its head again. Bad reads, worse passes and ill-timed shots allowed Syracuse to finish the game with an 18-6 run and record the victory. WVU rang up another ten turnovers in the second half to finish with 27 for the game.

Two other stats define the game and WVU's lack of fundamental skills. Syracuse, which had been outrebounded by more than 50 boards in their past five games, clubbed WVU on the glass by a 43-38 margin. That number included a staggering 22 offensive rebounds.

"That's unbelievable," Catlett said of that number after the loss.

The second stat, which arises directly from the first, was that Syracuse got 30 more shots from the field than the Mountaineers. That's not a typo. Thirty.

With those numbers, it's not hard to figure out. Syracuse shot only 38% from the field, but with the shot margin the Orangemen could have shot 30% and still won the game.

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