Jones carries WVU in win over Marshall
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2012 00:01
Following last season's disappointing result against Marshall, West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones knew what it felt like to lose to his in-state rival.
It was a feeling he didn't want to experience again.
"It was just a total team effort. We were able to get it done," Jones said after the Mountaineers' 78-62 win. "We knew what happened last year with the big lead they had and we just didn't want that same feeling (this season)."
West Virginia quickly erased a seven-point deficit and went into the half tied with the Thundering Herd.
"We were making shots," Jones said. "Truck hit a big shot going into halftime and I think that gave us a lot of momentum.
In the second half, when the Mountaineers needed somebody to step in and carry the load, Jones did just that.
After scoring seven points and pulling down two rebounds in the first half, the 6-foot-8 senior was able to do most of his damage in the game's final 20 minutes.
He made five of his seven shot attempts from the field - including two momentum-shifting three-pointers - and scored 18 points with five rebounds.
"I just wanted to keep doing what I normally do," Jones said. "My shots started falling in the second half once we started running offense and getting into our stuff, that's when we're at our best.
"I was in a trance. I was just stuck in the game."
Jones admitted he got a little frustrated in the first half when Marshall was sending different guys to guard him in hopes of containing the Big East Conference's leading scorer.
But he said what happened in the second half was a tribute to the player that he has become over his time at WVU.
"I matured, and I know where my game is," he said. "I know where to get my shots at. That's the difference from last year's Kevin. I think I was just letting the game come to me."
Behind Jones' strong performance in the second half, the Mountaineers were able to beat Marshall without junior forward Deniz Kilicli.
Jones had to do most of his damage while being guarded by Marshall junior forward Dennis Tinnon, one of the nation's leading rebounders.
"He's a great player, he's a great rebounder," Jones said. "I told him after the game to just keep playing well. He's very aggressive and he's going to be a real good player for them coming down the stretch."
While the win was nice, and he said he was happy with the way he played, the way that the Mountaineers were able to handle adversity and
continue battling in a
hard-fought, emotional game against their in-state rival was what Jones was the most proud of Wednesday night.
"We wanted to come out with passion and fire, which I don't think we did last year," he said. "We took this game for granted and we definitely didn't do that this year.
"We knew the importance of it, we heard the talking and everything and we just focused on our game plan and we came out and executed."