Big Three Continue to Carry Load for WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Big Three Continue to Carry Load for WVU

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A lineup so full of inexperience is the perfect opportunity for those with the years under their belt to rack up the stats.

West Virginia's own version of the Big 3 – Kevin Jones, Truck Bryant and Deniz Kilicli – combined for 52 of the Mountaineers' 72 points in beating Tennessee Tech Monday.

"I think we bring it every night, so I'm kind of comfortable with it, but at some point we're going to have somebody [else] that's going to have double figures," Bryant said after the 72-53 win. "As of right now, we're fine. I think me, Turk and K.J. can do that every night."

No players outside of those three made more than two field goals in the entire game, but it wasn't so much missed shots as it was lack of attempts. Of 55 attempts, 43 came from the hands of Jones, Bryant and Kilicli.

Each of those three has scored in double digits every time he's stepped on the court this season.

Jones continues to establish his dominance early while working to get his teammates involved. After getting in foul trouble on Saturday against Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Jones didn't commit a single foul through 37 minutes against the Golden Eagles.

Finishing with 25 points and 14 rebounds, it was Jones' sixth double-double of the season. The most he's had in a single season was eight last year as a junior. Jones has nearly matched that through just 10 games in his senior campaign.

"He has a knack for rebounding the ball, so it's just great to see him rebounding and getting his easy baskets in there by the paint," says Bryant. "I turn around and have 24 and 27 [points], and now K.J. turns around and has 22 and 25. That's just something that we've got to keep up in order for this team to be successful."

Bryant wasn't especially impressive with his shot selection, connecting on just 4-of-12, but his defense was exactly what head coach Bob Huggins wanted from him.

Up against Tennessee Tech guard Kevin Murphy, Bryant held the senior to just seven point, 14 below his season average.

"Truck did a terrific job," says Huggins. "Truck's really grown up a lot. ‘Defense' to Truck was like a bad word when he got here."

Bryant didn't shy away from acknowledging the way he was able to shut down Murphy when he spoke following the game.

"I put him on lock down the second half. I locked him up," says Bryant.

Bryant finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds.

For a brief period in the first half, this column was about Paul Williamson. The freshman marksman came off the bench to provide a spark that was needed to pull WVU out of a rut in a lazy effort.

Back-to-back 3-pointers gave the Mountaineers momentum and pushed the lead out to eight points, but a few defensive lapses allowed the Golden Eagles to get two easy buckets and Williamson was yanked from the court. He only returned to the game with 1:35 left, playing a total of just 13 minutes in the contest.

And yet, his six points was the next highest output for any player not named Jones, Bryant or Kilicli.

No other player is averaging double digits scoring, but the wins continue to mount. It's not likely that they'll continue once Big East play begins in just over a week.

"We need other contributions from people and it don't have to necessarily be just scoring," says Jones. "It could be rebounding, defense, steals, assists – whatever anybody can help. We have to carry the scoring load for the most part, but just to have other people come in and take that pressure off you is kind of nice sometimes."

Huggins will continue to play only the Mountaineers who he feels comfortable having in the game, and lately there haven't been an overwhelming number of contenders for that distinction.

"We had a couple of guys who I didn't think were ready to play, so I didn't play them," says Huggins. "I put them in and they didn't work to where they were supposed to be. They weren't paying attention to the game, so I took them out. That's not going to do it."

It seems like after just about every game, Huggins discusses all the attributes that make Jones such a successful player and such a great person. He serves as an example to his younger teammates, but to this point, they haven't all quite picked up on it.

"You have a responsibility to the people in the stands. You have a responsibility to this university and this state to try," says Huggins. "You may screw things up, but try. When they don't do that, they are not going to play."

That same message goes for any player on the team, regardless of experience. It just so happens that the three veterans are the three who hear it least.

Their play on the court has shown that 10 games in, they're not only trying, but succeeding. The key is to get more contribution from the rest of the team before Big East play gets underway.

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