Mountaineers Slide In Second Half, Now Wait Until Sunday - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers Slide In Second Half, Now Wait Until Sunday

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NEW YORK -

Mountaineer fans who were hoping they could completely secure their NCAA tournament fortunes will have to wait a little longer until Selection Sunday to find out for sure if their team will make the Big Dance.

All signs are pointing to WVU being one of the 68 teams selected for the tournament, but a 71-67 loss today against Connecticut could have some fans sweating it out the final hours.

Head Coach Bob Huggins, however, will not be one of those people.

"We've played more games against top 100 people than anyone in the country," he explained.  "We've done everything they've asked us to do except maybe win a couple of games."

It looked as if WVU would have no problem securing that NCAA bid this afternoon as they lead by double-digits multiple times in the second half.  Unfortunately for them, the Huskies had other plans.

Connecticut slowly found their way on the offensive end and continued cutting the lead behind the three-point shooting of Shabazz Napier, who finished with 26 points before fouling out in overtime.  Jeremy Lamb was also his normal self throughout, scoring 22 on 9-of-16 shooting.

Once Napier fouled out, freshman Ryan Boatright picked up the slack and eventually sealed the win with a free throw which gave the Huskies a comfortable four-point lead. 

It wasn't until then, however, that the Huskies could feel comfortable about anything in this contest.

The Mountaineers held the lead the majority of the game, mainly because of their dominance on the glass.  They out-rebounded the Huskies 47-31, including 10 from their star Kevin Jones (25 points) and 11 from bench player Dominique Rutledge, who logged 27 minutes and scored six points.

Jones finished this game with his 21st double-double of the regular season and remains the only player in the country averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds.

And even though he wasn't chosen as the conference's Player of the Year, chants of "M-V-P" reigned down from the stands in the Garden all game long from Mountaineer fans.

Jones only wishes he could have gone out on a better note in his last regular season game of his career.

"Disbelief.  Disappointment," a clearly dejected Jones explained.  "My team played their hardest.  We didn't make the correct decisions in the end.  It's tough because me and Truck (Bryant) really wanted to go out winners of the Big East Tournament our senior year and it's tough.  But it's the past now.  Hopefully we can make it into the tournament and try to make a run."

All eyes in West Virginia will now be glued to the television this weekend when the NCAA Tournament brackets are revealed live on CBS. 

Be sure to stay tuned to West Virginia Illustrated as we'll be with the team live when the selections are announced Sunday evening.

Notes:  WVU played its sixth overtime game of the year (4-2 record) this afternoon…They finish their tenure in the Big East with a 12-15 all-time record in the Big East Tournament…The Mountaineers entered today's contest with an RPI of 42 and SOS of 12…Connecticut has now won 13 straight postseason games, dating back to last year's Big East Tournament.

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