Seniors Shine in Regular Season Finale - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Seniors Shine in Regular Season Finale

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The roar of a sell-out crowd while the starting five make their way down the carpet is just a usual night at WVU Coliseum.

But for the West Virginia starting line up on Friday night, that trip down the carpet meant just a little more as it was the last one they would ever make as a Mountaineer.

As Nathan Adrian, Brandon Watkins, Teyvon Myers, Tarik Phillip and James Long made their way on the court with  seconds left until tip-off, the entire Coliseum was on its feet, letting the players know their hard work over the years hasn't been unnoticed.

Charleston native and fan favorite, James Long, started the game off with a three-pointer on WVU’s first possession, sending the 14-thousand plus fans into a frenzy.

“Exactly how we drew it up,” laughed Nate Adrian after the game. “Kid makes a ton of shots every day, so I knew that thing was going in as soon as he shot it.”

From that first basket, it was apparent it was going to be a great night for the seniors.

“It was an awesome feeling to see it go through. It felt great to be out there,” said Long of his first career start.

Tarik Phillip was responsible for setting up that shot for Long, and he continued that themed all night. The Brooklyn native dished out 10 assists in the win, and added seven points and eight rebounds.

“Coach said we are much better when we pass the ball. I just tried to think that if we came out moving, I could try to find people,” Phillip said.

Hometown hero, Nathan Adrian, was a big contributor in the regular season finale. Adrian tallied 16 points, seven rebounds and, of course, countless hair flips.

A group of WU students even wore white head bands with "Nate's Mates" written across them in honor of the Morgantown native.

Mr. Smiles, Teyvon Myers, only finished with four points and three rebounds, but he did his job of getting the fans on their feet when the Mountaineers started to pull away in the second half.

It was Sagaba Kontae dunk and block followed up with a Lamont West slam that was the turning point for the Mountaineers, putting them up double digits with just over eight minutes to go. After the West dunk, the fans cranked up the volume when Myers walked up by the student section and pumped his arms with his huge smile, begging for more noise.

And he got exactly what he asked for.

Decatur, Georgia native Brandon Watkins didn’t contribute in terms of numbers, but instead, in motivating his team from the sideline.

Junior Daxter Miles Jr. had his best performance of the season, tallying 23 points, seven rebounds and going five of six from the charity stripe, but the Mountaineers all agreed the win was all about their five leaders.

 “It was just for the seniors tonight,” Jevon Carter said. “They mean a lot. This night was based on them, we did it for them. They just carry us.”

In one way or another, much like they have through their career, all five seniors helped carry this team to the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, and they hope that is just beginning.

“We want to hang a banner,” Long said. “We aren’t worried about who we play, we are worried about us. If we do what we do, we know we can beat anyone in the conference if we play hard.”

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