West Virginia looks to end losing streak when it travels to Providence
Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012 07:02
The West Virginia men's basketball team will try to end its skid Sunday afternoon when it travels to Providence.
The Mountaineers have lost three straight games – at St. John's, at Syracuse and at home against rival Pittsburgh. The Friars recently snapped a four-game skid with a win against Rutgers.
"It's hard, especially when we have younger guys," said senior Kevin Jones. "They automatically want to put their head down and give up. You just have to keep their spirits up high and try to bounce back."
Jones leads the Big East with 20.9 points per game and 11.5 rebounds.
Freshman point guard Jabarie Hinds, who is scoring 8.2 points per game, said someone on the team needs to step up to give Jones support if West Virginia is going to get back to its winning ways.
"We don't care who it is," Hinds said. "Somebody else has got to step up and help him."
Normally, senior Truck Bryant would be the ideal candidate, but the senior has struggled in the last four games.
Bryant is scoring 17 points per game for the season, but in the past four games, is just 12-of-47 from the field with just 9.5 points.
Jones said following Monday's loss to Pittsburgh, much of the team – especially the younger players – had their heads down in the locker room, and he knows that mentality must change before Sunday's game against the Friars.
"We're playing a tough Providence team, so we definitely have to bounce back," he said. "We might not have the most talented team every night, but we control how hard we play every night."
The Friars have played well at home inside the Dunkin' Donuts Center going 10-3, including a 90-59 win over then-No. 15 Louisville.
"There is something magical about the Dunk," said Providence head coach Ed Cooley. "I always think we're going to win in this place."
Providence won 11 of its first 13 games before losing eight of nine. Two of those losses were to No. 1 Syracuse, one to No. 12 Georgetown and one to No. 22 Marquette.
Junior Vincent Council is the leading scorer for the Friars with 16.1 points and 7.6 assists per game.
"I think we have the best point guard in the league," Cooley said. "Every night, their best defender is trying to guard him, and he just continues to play at a really high level."
Council is supported by three other double-figure scorers. Bryce Cotton scores 15.2 points, LaDontae Henton scores 13.7 points and Gerard Coleman 13.5 points.
Henton is the leading rebounder with 8.9 boards per game.
Tip-off is scheduled for noon.