Bryant Leads WVU Past Villanova in Big East Opener - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Bryant Leads WVU Past Villanova in Big East Opener

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Nick Arthur, Morgantown -

Truck Bryant scored a career-high 34 points and Kevin Jones added 13 as West Virginia defeated Villanova 83-69 Wednesday night at the Coliseum in the Big East Conference opener for both teams.

West Virginia improved to 10-3 on the season and 1-0 in Big East play.

"That's a pretty good 7-6 team," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "I keep telling them, ‘Just 17 more guys, just 17 more.'"

It was the first game for the Mountaineers since a two-point loss to No. 6 Baylor in the Las Vegas Classic. 

Huggins has been working with Bryant on his shooting posture.

"He took better shots. I thought his balance was a lot better," Huggins said. "We've been on him about his balance and I thought he stepped into his shots better (tonight) He went more straight up and down."

West Virginia forced 15 Villanova turnovers, while only committing seven.

West Virginia missed its first eight shots from the floor before settling down on the offensive end. Senior guard Truck Bryant scored nine quick points to give the Mountaineers a 16-12 advantage midway through the first half.

Freshman guard Aaron Brown provided a spark off the bench in first half, while scoring eight points.

West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones had 11 points at the half, and the Mountaineers took a 40-36 lead into the locker room.

Jones suffered an eye injury early in the second half and was forced to leave the floor. With Jones in the locker room, Villanova outscored the Mountaineers 7-3 and led 45-43 early in the second half.

The game went back and forth for most of the second half. Great guard play by Villanova's Dominic Cheek and Maalik Wayns took the Coliseum crowd out of the game midway through the second half.

"We've just got to stop taking plays off," Huggins said. "We've got guys standing around – this isn't high school anymore."

But, Bryant hit a three-pointer for the Mountaineers to give the home team a 55-53 advantage with 11 minutes left to play.

West Virginia freshman guard Jabarie Hinds had another impressive game. Hinds ignited the home crowd with six straight points to give the Mountaineers their largest lead of the second half, 61-55, with less than eight minutes left to play.

"Jabarie Hinds had a big game and made a big three for us," Huggins said. "He didn't shoot as well as he did the last game but he made the big three when Kevin Jones wasn't there."

However, much like the case all night, West Virginia couldn't shake the Wildcats.

Villanova tied the game once again at 63 apiece, before the Mountaineers took control.

Bryant continued to make outside shots and West Virginia ended to game on a 20-6 run to earn an 83-69 victory.

Kevin Jones finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.

Freshman guard Gary Browne chipped in 11 points.

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