West Virginia sends off Jones, Bryant with dominating 92-75 victory over DePaul
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 08:02
It's been a struggle as of late for the West Virginia men's basketball team.
But, on Senior Night for Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant, the Mountaineers put together a performance good enough for a 92-75 win against DePaul.
It was a win that was all but necessary to keep the team's NCAA tournament hopes alive.
"I don't know if we need anymore (wins)," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "I think we're in pretty good shape."
As important as the win was for the team's NCAA hopes, it was the two seniors who stole the show.
Bryant led all scorers with 28 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He was 12-of-16 from the free throw line. Jones scored 22 points and collected a game-high 16 rebounds.
"I was very emotional knowing this was my last time playing here," Jones said. "I couldn't be more grateful for my four years here. I envisioned it to go like this, so I'm glad it went how I envisioned it."
Jones said he hopes his career isn't over for a while, though.
"Hopefully it's not over for another month or so," Jones said. "That would be real good."
Bryant's scoring performances marked the first time since early January that he has strung together two 20-point scoring performances.
"Once I make the first couple, then I get in a groove," Bryant said. "When both of us are clicking, the whole team is clicking. That's a good feeling."
West Virginia jumped out to an 11-0 lead through the first 3:22, with nine of those points coming from either Jones or freshman guard Jabarie Hinds.
The Mountaineers just continued to pile it on early, jumping out to a 24-10 lead just six minutes later.
The Blue Demons caught fire midway through the first half going on a 10-3 run to cut the deficit in half. A Huggins technical foul at the 3:52 mark allowed DePaul to hit two free throws and pull within six, 33-27.
But that's the closest DePaul would get.
The Mountaineers went into the half with 47-31 lead. West Virginia shot 50 percent from the field, including a 4-of-6 mark from 3-point range, while DePaul struggled shooting just 37.9 percent from the field.
West Virginia kept it up in the second half maintaining a 14-point lead until the 10:38 mark when DePaul went on a 9-4 run to pull within 12.
"We didn't play with the same sort of enthusiasm to start the second half," Huggins said. "But then we made some plays defensively that we haven't been making."
Just like in the first half,
however, West Virginia was able to find a way to put the Blue Demons away – this time for good.
Hinds finished with 14 points, four assists and three steals.
Huggins said it was the best game freshman forward Keaton Miles has played this season. Miles, who played for 25 minutes, recorded seven rebounds and had four assists.
Junior forward Dominique Rutledge finished with eight points and eight assists.
DePaul was led by Melvin Cleveland and Brandon Young each scoring 21 points. Cleveland also had eight rebounds. Moses Morgan scored 15 points for the Blue Demons.