The Times West Virginian

December 9, 2011

Big, big shots

Jones scores 30 as WVU edges KSU 85-80 in double overtime


Times West Virginian

WICHITA, Kan. — Kevin Jones hit a tying 3-point shot in regulation and scored 30 points to lead West Virginia University to an 85-80, double-overtime victory Thursday night over Kansas State, its future Big 12 foe.

Darryl “Truck” Bryant had 24 points for West Virginia (5-2). Rodney McGruder scored 20 and Will Spradling had 16 for Kansas State (5-1).

It was a career high for Jones and WVU’s first road win of the season, and coach Bob Huggins was keeping things in perspective following the game in front of more than 15.000 fans and a national television audience.

WVU returns home to face Miami on  Saturday at the Coliseum in Morgantown.

“This is great. Enjoy it,” Huggins said he told the Mountaineers in the locker room. “We’re going to go get on a plane. You can laugh, have fun, enjoy it. When you get back, get your butts to bed. Get sleep and go to class tomorrow and get in at 4 o’clock and let’s get ready for Miami.

“This one’s done. This is over with. If you don’t approach it that way ... We’ve got a bunch of young guys who can get giddy about things. There’s nothing to be giddy about. We’ve got a long, long road to go. We need to beat Miami on Saturday. That’s what we plan on doing.”

Each team scored on its first three possessions of the second overtime, and the score was tied in the final minute. The Mountaineers went back to Jones in the post, and his baby hook with 26.6 seconds on the clock made it 82-80 West Virginia.

McGruder’s jumper then rimmed out. Trailing by three 8 seconds later, McGruder missed a 3-pointer.

West Virginia’s Aaron Brown made a 3-pointer with 50.9 seconds remaining in the first overtime to break a tie. But McGruder made a floater with 6.2 seconds left to tie it at 74.

“The only thing that saved us was that they were as inept at the free-throw line as we were,” Huggins said. “We had chances to put it away. They had chances to put it away. Neither one of us could make a free throw.

“They’re good. They’re physical. They guard. We couldn’t make a pass to start the game. We were lost. They had never seen that much ball pressure. We got better. We had to get Truck out to handle the ball a little bit more to take some of the pressure off those freshmen. We got contributions from a lot of guys.”

WVU has 18-for-31 from the foul line. Kansas State was 14-of-26.

Huggins was not surprised by Jones’ heroics — particularly his game-tying 3-pointer from the right wing in regulation.

“You guys have seen KJ make big shot after big shot,” the coach said. “That’s a play where we can generally get him open for a 3.”

Jones made 12 of 17 shots from the floor, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. He also had 12 rebounds and two blocked shots and played 49 of the game’s 50 minutes.

Bryant, who made 7 of 17 shots, played 50 minutes and only had one turnover.

WVU’s Deniz Kilicli made 6 of 9 shots and scored 12 points with seven rebounds but had six turnovers.

Brown also reached double figures with 10 points.