Dominating Performance Downs Rutgers Again - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Dominating Performance Downs Rutgers Again

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MORGANTOWN -

This was supposed to be a different Rutgers team coming to Morgantown than the one West Virginia faced in Piscataway. But the Mountaineers proved that 10 days' time didn't make nearly the difference some thought it may.

"They were worse this game," Deniz Kilicli said after the game, which WVU won 84-60. "Last game they were better. This time they were worse because they come out so jacked up, they foul me five times in like 30 seconds."

It actually took four minutes for the Scarlet Knights to reach five team fouls, finishing the game with 31 to WVU's 16.

Perhaps it had something to do with the punching bags RU head coach Mike Rice reportedly brought out following the last meeting with the Mountaineers.

He wanted to get his team tougher so it wouldn't get pushed around without putting up a fight. Maybe they focused too much on fighting in the game and didn't place enough attention on scoring or playing defense.

"Punching bags?" Kilicli asked. "They should get the heavy bags out. They were doing the speed bags, I think."

At one point in the game, senior guard Truck Bryant had 15 points – and so did Rutgers as a team. The visitors went on to outscore Bryant 45-3, but West Virginia's team effort ensured that the lead never got to fewer than 16 in the second half.

When it did get a little too close for comfort, Bob Huggins called a timeout to make certain there wasn't another collapse like West Virginia had on the road at Connecticut earlier in the week.

"Just lack of focus by us," says Bryant. "We've got to stay focused the whole time. I know we were up 30, but that's when we try to go up 40."

The Mountaineers were able to build up a 30-point lead and go on to win by 24, the sort of cruising these players would like to experience at the end of every game.

"Yeah, but it's not realistic. You can't beat everybody by 30," says Kilicli. "Rutgers, for sure, you're going to beat them by 30."

But not everybody had. UConn lost to Rutgers. Pittsburgh only managed to score 39 total points against the Knights.

There was a reason West Virginia was warned of a trap game coming into this one, even if the players and Coach Huggins said all the right things about not taking an opponent lightly.

Apparently it was more than that, though. Something the Mountaineers heard Rice had said following their last meeting stuck with them and they used it as fuel ever since returning from Hartford.

"Their coach said that we were beating our chest and laughing at them and all that stuff," says Kilicli. "We never do that. I think that's really disrespectful to us and I think we showed them that we're kind of disappointed, so we beat them by 30. I think that's a good message to them."

Kilicli was one of four Mountaineers to score in double digits along with Bryant, Kevin Jones and Jabarie Hinds.

"When that happens, we're a very good team," says Bryant. "When more than me, K.J. and Turk are scoring, we're a pretty good team."

As much success as they found offensively, the overall effort in producing 23 points off 19 turnovers and pulling down 45 rebounds was just as big a part of the story.

"For some reason again we didn't bring that energy and they seem to bully us," Rice said after the game. "They take us out of our offense. Our guys are trying to run away from West Virginia players instead of executing. I give them tremendous credit, they are just tougher than us."

Apparently Kilicli was right about the punching bags. They did not come close to comparing to what a meeting with West Virginia presented.

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