Harler Is Solid In WVU Loss

Mountaineers have week to prepare for rematch with Kansas

MORGANTOWN — The first time West Virginia took on Texas, Moundsville native Chase Harler saw six minutes of action, going 0-for-1 from the floor and failing to score.

That was not the case for the Wheeling Central Catholic standout and two-time West Virginia Gatorade Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year in Saturday night’s rematch as he not only more than doubled his minutes on the floor, but went 2-for-2 from the field, including a 3-pointer, in the first half as WVU stayed within range of their Lone Star State rivals, 34-28.

The junior finished with seven points (3-for-5 shooting), two rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in 24 minutes of action. But it would not be nearly enough as Texas improved to 14-10 overall and 6-5 in Big 12 play with their 75-53 win.

“Yea, I kind of got into a rhythm on offense,” Harler said. “That was probably the biggest difference in this game and the one at their place.

“But we didn’t get the job done on defense (Saturday) so it’s kind of hard to see the good things we did. It’s like one thing leads to another. For us to turn this thing around we have to buy into what the coaches want us to do on defense.”

West Virginia, which takes the week off before traveling to No. 15 Kansas next Saturday afternoon, dropped to 10-14 overall and 2-9 in league play.

“Depends on how you look at it (having a week off),” Harler said. “It gives us a week to prepare for a Kansas team that we’ve beaten, but it also gives us a week to think about this loss.”

Senior Esa Ahmad was the only Mountaineer to reach double figures, scoring 14 points while hauling down six rebounds and blocking two shots. The next highest point totals for the Mountaineers came from Harler and freshman Derek Culver, who had a team-high 11 boards, with seven apiece.

Texas received a game-high 19 points from Courtney Ramey, who connected on 5-of-6 from long range, while Kerwin Roach II chipped in 14 and Jaxson Hayes nine.

“You know it was a six-point game at the half,” Harler said. “Then things just got away from us. We’re all frustrated. We (the returning players) aren’t used to this. Heck, we played in the Sweet 16 my freshman and sophomore years.

“You just can’t feel sorry for yourselves. Nobody in this conference is going to feel sorry for us so we’ve got to get back into the gym and figure it out.”

Cameron native Logan Routt, who was suspended for the first half of the game for receiving a flagrant two foul and being ejected in the game at Texas Tech, saw action during the final two minutes of the game, tipping in a missed shot for his only points in the game.

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