WVU's Not-So-Perfect Storm

Staff Writer
Posted Jan 25, 2012


West Virginia freshman Tommie McCune started the second half – wearing his shorts on backwards. It was that type of a night for the Mountaineers – everything seemed wrong for the team that nearly snuck into the top 25 this week.

WVU was blown out 78-62 by St. John’s on Wednesday. The Mountaineers have now won only one game on the road this season. It was the first loss in Madison Square Garden to the Red Storm since 2002 for West Virginia.

WVU (15-6, 5-3), which came into the game as a three-seed in the NCAA tournament by one national media outlet, didn’t look like the team that had won three straight games and took down Cincinnati just five days ago.

Outside of senior leader Kevin Jones, the Mountaineers were out of sorts. Jones, who finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds – his 14th of the year, was the only player to score effectively in the game.

Fellow senior guard Truck Bryant didn’t score from the field in the first half and finished 4-of-13 for 16 points.

The Mountaineers shot just 35.4 percent, while the Red Storm (8-12, 2-7) dominated inside shooting 48.4 percent. A total of 50 of St. John’s points came in the paint.

WVU is now in a tie for fourth place with Cincinnati and South Florida in Big East play after the loss. St. John’s, which starts five freshmen and is by far the youngest team in the Big East Conference, was led by forward Moe Harkless who scored 23 points.

WVU was trailing by 16 points at halftime, and that quickly grew to 21 in the first few minutes of the second half, as the Mountaineers just couldn’t get stops on defense.

The Mountaineers would cut that lead to 14 points at one point in the second half, but the Red Storm always responded in this game.

BlueGoldNews.com
Player of the Game
Kevin Jones
26 points
10-of-21 FGs
14 rebounds
3 assists
2 blocks
Both WVU and St. John’s struggled in the first four minutes of the game. After a myriad of turnovers, both teams went into the first media timeout tied at 4-4.

St. John’s , however, stepped it up as the Mountaineers’ defense lacked for much of the first half. The Red Storm went on a 17-2 run to take a 21-6 lead as WVU head coach Bob Huggins tried to find a lineup that was more successful against the 2-3 zone.

Huggins went with junior college transfer forward Dominique Rutledge and walk-on guard Paul Williamson, which allowed the Mountaineers to get back within seven behind a 10-2 run of their own.

The team ended the half on a 13-4 run to head into the half up by the largest margin of the game at that point at 36-20.

Similarly to the first half of the Seton Hall, the Mountaineers shot poorly from the field. They were 7-of-28 from the field and 2-of-10 from 3-point range.

St. John’s shot 16-of-35 from the field and 28 of its 36 points were from the paint. The Red Storm out-rebounded WVU by seven in the first half.

Bryant had just two points on 0-of-6 shooting in the first 20 minutes.

WVU turned the ball over 14 times.

No other WVU player outside of Bryant and Jones scored in double-figures. Junior forward Deniz Kilicli played just 25 minutes and scored just four points.

St. John's had four players in double-figures.



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