Jones, Bryant Should Play Final Game at WVU Coliseum Tonight - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Jones, Bryant Should Play Final Game at WVU Coliseum Tonight

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MORGANTOWN -

 

A pair of West Virginia University men's basketball players should play their final game inside the WVU Coliseum tonight. The only way it is not their final home game is if WVU fails to earn an invitation to the NCAA Tournament and instead plays in the NIT.

Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant appear on numerous all-time lists at WVU. Jones was recently honored before the Marquette game for pulling down his 1,000th career rebound. Jones is just the second player in school history to grab more than 1,000 rebounds and score more than 1,700 points. The only other player to achieve those marks is Jerry West.

"People put me in that company," Jones said with a smile. "I don't think I have done anything close to what he has done. Just to be mentioned in the same breath as him, he is an NBA legend, a legend at WVU and that is great. I'm glad people would mention me in the same breath as him and it's just a testament to the hard work I put in through my four years here."

Jones shattered the school record for offensive rebounds and is in the top ten in scoring, rebounds and double-doubles. Bryant is in the top 20 in scoring and the top ten in three-point field goals made, free throws made and games started. It is hard to believe that a team with those two players is still fighting to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

"That's how seasons go sometimes," Jones said. "Especially with having such a young team and them not having to go through this adversity before. It's tough, but me and Truck, we always find a way to come together and we win."

"That is something that is hard to believe," Bryant said. "But at the end of the day we are fighting and we are going to fight."

Jones has recorded 18 double-doubles this season. He has been the only consistent player on the team and is poised to become just the third player in Big East history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding. Head Coach Bob Huggins says Jones is the obvious choice for Big East Player of the Year.

"Here have been two guys and he'll be the third to lead the league in scoring and rebounding," Huggins stated. "He's taken a team of eight new guys and put them on his shoulders and carried them. We wouldn't have won a game without him. He's carried us."

Huggins grows close to his players throughout their careers. They typically leave with a great admiration for him. That relationship goes both ways and causes Huggins to get a little emotional on Senior Night.

"I've always tried not to, but I'm not very good at it," Huggins said. "You spend as much time together as what we spend together and they become very much a part of your family."

"He's kind of been like a father-figure to me," Jones said. "I've looked up to him since I've been here with all that he has went through. He has prepared me for life and the NBA and the next level and life in general. He has taught me to take responsibility for my actions and he has taught me to be a better player and I can only thank him for that."

Jones and Bryant arrived at WVU with another talented player. Devin Ebanks would have joined them on the floor tonight for his Senior Night. Those three players helped WVU play in just its second Final Four in school history. Ebanks left for the NBA following that Final Four run.

Jones and Bryant will receive framed jerseys and be joined on the floor by their families. They will walk out on that carpet one last time and embrace their head coach. It is their night and they need to beat DePaul, not just to get a win in their final home game, but to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

"We want to win," Jones said. "We want to go out on a winning note in our last time playing here. We understand the situation that we are in. We understand what we have to do to get out of it."

"I don't even look at it as Senior Day," Bryant said. "I know it's going to be my last time going out on the carpet, but at the end of the day we have to get a win. We got to win this game."

West Virginia is currently 7-9 in Big East play. Huggins said on Monday that wins this week against DePaul and South Florida should do enough to get his team into the NCAA Tournament.

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