West Virginia overcame a double-digit second-half deficit and Bob Huggins became the 20th Division-1 basketball coach to win 700 career games, as West Virginia defeated Missouri State 70-68 in overtime on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
It was West Virginia's third game in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
The Mountaineers trailed 55-45 with eight minutes left to play.
West Virginia freshman guard Gary Browne hit a three-pointer with two seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, and the Mountaineers outscored the Bears 7-5 in the overtime frame to earn their ninth victory of the season.
"We did it for coach," Browne said. "When we knew coach had 699 wins, we came out and played hard in the second half."
Two of the Mountaineers' nine victories this season have come in overtime.
"We put ourselves in that situation sometimes," Huggins said. "We have to stay competitive. We can't have the lapses that we had."
The Bears hit four of their first five shots from three-point range and raced out to an early 14-11 advantage.
West Virginia then responded with a 10-0 run fueled by inspired play from junior forward Deniz Kilicli.
However, sloppy play by the Mountaineers ensued. Senior guard Truck Bryant committed five of West Virginia's 10 first-half turnovers, and Missouri State's defense seemed to prevent West Virginia from establishing any rhythm offensively.
The games was tied 32-32 at the half.
Missouri State used a balance offensive attack while shooting more than 50 percent from the field in the first half.
The Bears continued to shoot well from the floor to begin the second half, and held a 44-39 advantage with 13 minutes remaining.
West Virginia struggled offensively in the second half, much like it did in the first. The Bears had their largest lead of the game, 55-45, with nine minutes remaining after the Mountaineers committed their 15th turnover.
Then, Truck Bryant hit back-to-back threes and West Virginia only trailed by four with six minutes left to play.
Gary Browne got a steal and layup to cut the deficit to three, 61-58, with 2:43 remaining.
And, Browne wasn't finished yet.
He hit a three with 1.6 seconds left in regulation with the Mountaineers down three to send the game to overtime.
Both teams led multiple times in overtime, but Missouri State missed a layup attempt to tie the game as time expired.
Jones finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season.
Freshman guard Aaron Brown finished with 14 points off the bench on four three-pointers.
Freshmen Gary Browne and Aaron Brown combined for 27 points.
"You can see the freshmen getting better and better every day," Jones said. "I'm glad that they're fighting through it and becoming big contributors to the team."
The contributions from the younger players make West Virginia a difficult team to prepare for.
"It just shows how versatile we are and how anyone can make a big play on any given night," Jones said.
The Mountaineers have now won five straight games, but Huggins feels the inexperience doesn't make his job any easier.
"It's hard with that many young guys, but we are getting better," Huggins said.
Kilicli was injured late in the first half and played sparingly. He is listed as day-to-day with a hip pointer.