Rise Continues

Editor
Posted Jan 7, 2012


An up-and-down season for a young West Virginia team has a new high-water mark. The Mountaineers continued to be a thorn in the side of Georgetown, breaking the No. 9 Hoyas’ 11-game winning streak 74-62 at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

It was nothing new for WVU, which has gotten the better of its Big East Conference brethren five consecutive times under the tenure of head coach Bob Huggins.

The frustration of that streak may have worn a bit on Huggins’ Hoya counterpart, John Thompson III, who offered no opening statement to start his postgame press conference.

When immediately asked if there was anything particular about what the Mountaineers do that makes them hard for his teams to beat, Thompson III snapped “No. I don’t think so.” He didn’t elaborate.

While Huggins’ West Virginia teams have been tough for Georgetown to handle, it was Kevin Jones who was the biggest problem for Thompson III’s squad on Saturday.

The forward continued a dominant senior season, scoring 22 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. As the Hoyas looked poised to jump out to a significant first half lead, it was Jones -- just after switching from his typical No. 5 to a No. 42 jersey after the first was stained with blood -- who scored nine straight points to keep his team close.

BlueGoldNews.com
Player of the Game
Kevin Jones
22 points
16 rebounds
2 blocks
By halftime, the Mount Vernon, N.Y., native had 15 of his team’s 29 points and had led WVU to a 29-27 lead.

“K.J. is special,” Huggins said. “People need to enjoy watching him because it has been a long, long time since we’ve had a guy put up the numbers he is putting up. He isn’t selfish. He doesn’t hunt for shots. He just plays and plays to win.”

But Jones alone has not been enough for the Mountaineers. Fellow senior Darryl “Truck” Bryant has been at his best lately, and again put up a solid offensive outing to keep the Hoyas at arm’s length.

Bryant scored 25 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field. It was the guard’s third game with 20 or more points in the team’s last four outings. Overall, West Virginia was 50 percent from the field -- including a 12-of-20 (60 percent) performance in the decisive second half.

“For large stretches this year, I think we’ve been a very good defensive team,” Thompson III said. “We were not a good defensive team today.”

Despite that production, it wasn’t easy for WVU (12-4, 3-1) to earn a win on Wednesday. The hosts built a lead of as many as 13 points with 4:36 to play when Bryant made a pair of free throws, but Georgetown answered with a 9-0 run to get back within four.

But Gary Browne made a fast break layup, part of a 12 point outing from the freshman, and Bryant added another pair of free throws to built the lead back to 66-58 entering the final two minutes. The Hoyas (13-2, 3-1) never seriously threatened afterward.

Forward Hollis Thompson did his best to keep Georgetown close. He finished with 20 points. But guard Jason Clark was limited by foul trouble and finished with only 10. Ditto for center Henry Sims, who fouled out after registering 10 points, six assists and five boards.

The win finishes a strong week for WVU, which answered a shaky performance in a loss at Seton Hall with wins against Rutgers and the No. 9 Hoyas.

“The start of the game, we just came out with lots of energy,” guard Jabarie Hinds said. “The Seton Hall game, we came out very sluggish. They just attacked us from the start. The last two games, we came out with better preparation and lots of energy.”

Once again, West Virginia will get precious little time to enjoy its win. It faces No. 8 UConn on the road on Monday.

“It’s a win against a heck of a team that’s really well coached,” Huggins said of the Georgetown victory. “The good and the bad thing about this league is that we have one day to get ready for Connecticut.”



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