Northern Kentucky stuns West Virginia at the buzzer in exhibition
Published: Sunday, November 6, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 7, 2011 00:11
West Virginia senior guard Truck Bryant hit a game-tying 3-point shot with 6.3 seconds left in the game.
But, Northern Kentucky junior Eshaunte Jones hit a 3-point shot of his own with 1.1 seconds remaining to give the Norse a 77-74 win to shock the Mountaineers in their only exhibition game of the season.
Jones' 3-point shot was one of 13 3-point shots Northern Kentucky hit on the evening. It finished 13-for-25. The last time the Mountaineers allowed an opponent to hit that many 3-point shots at home was against Notre Dame in 2006 when the Irish hit 14.
Northern Kentucky held a 42-29 advantage at halftime after it held the Mountaineers to just 33 percent shooting.
"I thought we would be shaky in the first half, but I thought we would pick it up in the second half," Bryant said. "I didn't see this coming. I mean losing to a D-II school, not to take anything away from them, that's embarrassing."
The Norse held its largest lead of the game at the 2:30 mark in the first half after a Tony Rack 3-point shot when it led 42-25. They took a 42-29 lead into halftime.
Rack led Northern Kentucky with 21 points and was 6 of 7 from range.
"I don't remember when the last time we gave up 40 points in the first half was," Bryant said. "Any school you give open looks, they're going to hit them. We have to get to the ball."
The Norse shot a blazing 54 percent in the game from the field.
The Mountaineers improved offensively in the second half shooting 58.6 percent from the field, but weren't able to complete the comeback.
West Virginia cut the Northern Kentucky lead to 64-60 at the 7:05 mark in the second half, but two consecutive turnovers by West Virginia allowed the Norse to stay in front.
Head coach Bob Huggins said the biggest problem for his team on the offensive side of the ball was the lack of movement – a product of inexperience and youth.
"All of the freshmen are used to having the ball come to them – that's the way it was in high school," Huggins said. "It's hard to run a motion offense when you don't move the ball."
The second half comeback was led by seniors Bryant and Kevin Jones, who both played for 40 minutes. Bryant led the Mountaineers with 24 points, while Jones had 22 points and a team-leading seven rebounds.
Huggins said of the seven newcomers that played in Friday's exhibition loss, it was Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne who stood out.
Browne played 27 minutes, scoring 11 points to go along with four assists to zero turnovers. Hinds, who also played for 27 minutes, scored ten points.
"They all did some, they just don't do enough," Huggins said. "Jabarai made plays for us, but he gave up a bunch of plays. Gary Browne made plays, but he gave up a bunch of plays."
Junior Deniz Kilicli was held out of Friday's game due to a knee injury, but Huggins said the Turkey native will be ready to go for Friday's season-opener against Oral Roberts.