Men's Basketball: WVU vs. Oral Roberts Game Recap - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Men's Basketball: WVU vs. Oral Roberts Game Recap

Nick Arthur, Morgantown -

Kevin Jones led the way with 20 points and the West Virginia Mountaineers defeated Oral Roberts 78-71 Friday Night at the Coliseum.

It's a way better feeling than last week," Jones said. "But we still have a lot of work to do."

The West Virginia defense was very aggressive on Friday night. The Mountaineers forced the Golden Eagles into 11 first-half turnovers, and many led to easy fast-break layups.

Freshmen guards Gary Browne and Jabarie Hinds provided a first-half spark for the home team. Even though Hinds got the nod as the starting guard, Browne played early and often.

West Virginia jumped out to an early 22-10 lead behind solid play from senior forward Kevin Jones.

However, the Golden Eagles scrapped their way back into the game behind sharp outside shooting from junior guard Warren Niles.

West Virginia took a 39-35 advantage into the locker room.

"The guys are improving," Jones said. "We're going in the right direction, but we still need guys to play with a lot of urgency."

The Mountaineers shot nearly 60 percent from the floor in the first half and were led by Kevin Jones' 12 points.

Foul trouble forced West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins to use many inexperienced players more than he had planned. Senior guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant and junior forward Deniz Kilicli both had three fouls early in the second half.

But, freshman forward Keaton Miles and Jabarie Hinds helped the Mountaineers maintain their lead.

Kevin Jones thought the freshmen were inconsistent.

"The freshmen played well for us at times," Jones said. "We need that effort for forty minutes."

 West Virginia held a 50-43 advantage with 13:37 left to play.

Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant made back-to-back layups, and the Mountaineers led 54-43.

Redshirt freshman forward Kevin Noreen played significantly with Kilicli on the bench in foul trouble.

The Mountaineers slowly added to their lead and led 56-45 with 11 minutes left to play, after a bucket by Jabarie Hinds.

West Virginia was unable to put away Oral Roberts throughout the second half. The Golden Eagles were able to force two straight turnovers and had the lead cut to seven, 59-52 with just under 10 minutes remaining.

Freshman guard Aaron Brown hit a three pointer with seven minutes left in the second half and West Virginia led 68-56.

Oral Roberts senior forward Dominique Morrison anchored the Golden Eagles' offense all night. Morrison was able to cut the West Virginia lead to four, 70-66 with 4:36 left to play.

The Golden Eagles nailed a three and only trailed 72-71 with just under three minutes remaining in the game.

And, the West Virginia lead was three, 74-71, with 54 seconds left to play.

Truck Bryant made two free throws and West Virginia held a 76-71 advantage. The free throws proved to be the difference as West Virginia forced another Oral Roberts turnover to put the game away,

Many of the younger players made critical mistakes down the stretch.

"They played like freshman," Huggins said. "They played really well at times, but they took plays off and weren't really assertive. They got careless with the ball, but forgot their assignments."

Deniz Kilicli, who didn't play in the exhibition game last week, started the game.

Even though Kilicli's minutes were limited, Truck Bryant believe Kilicli's impact can't be underestimated.

"It's huge," Bryant said. "Deniz is a veteran, knows what he's doing and he's definitely a threat in the paint.

Kilicli finished with 11 points in only 23 minutes played.  

It won't get any easier for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia has one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country.

"The good thing is I think we'll have one of the top five schedules in the country," Huggins said. "The bad thing is we're going to have one of the top five schedules in the country."

The West Virginia defense forced 22 Golden Eagle turnovers.

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