Joe D talks to Asst. Coach Ollie after the game along with highlights. Plus we hear press room reaction from Head Coach Jim Calhoun.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)
Kevin Jones scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and West Virginia used a late run to beat No. 16 Connecticut 65-56 on Wednesday night. Jones had 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double. Joe Mazzulla led the Mountaineers (19-10, 10-7 Big East) with 18 points, three after halftime.
Kemba Walker led Connecticut (21-8, 9-8) with 22 points on 8-of-23 shooting. Shabazz Napier added 18. Napier’s jumper with 2:49 remaining broke a 5-minute scoring drought and brought the Huskies within 56-53, but West Virginia scored the next nine points, with Truck Bryant making seven free throws over the final 1:19. West Virginia moved into a three-way tie for sixth place in the Big East entering the conference’s final weekend. Connecticut lost for the third time in four games and dropped into a three-way tie for ninth. With a first-round bye in the conference tournament at stake, the Mountaineers host No. 11 Louisville on Saturday, while Connecticut returns home to face No. 8 Notre Dame.
Coach Bob Huggins wanted the Mountaineers to stay out of foul trouble because of a thin lineup. Backup guard Jonnie West was held out of the game due to food poisoning and West Virginia used just eight players. Connecticut attempted two free throws in the first half and was outscored 16-5 from the line for the game. Just like in a 67-59 win over Cincinnati on Sunday, Connecticut had few leads against the Mountaineers. The Huskies jumped ahead briefly just before halftime and didn’t lead again until a 3-pointer by Walker put them ahead 43-42 with 12:35 remaining. That, too, didn’t last long. The lead changed hands five more times over the next 3 minutes, with John Flowers’ hook shot with 9:36 remaining giving the Mountaineers the lead for good. Just like Sunday, when West Virginia held Rutgers to one field goal over the final 5:32 of a 65-54 win, the Mountaineers came up with another defensive stop down the stretch against Connecticut. Flowers’ basket started a 10-3 run, with Deniz Kilicli’s layup putting the Mountaineers ahead 56-51 with 3:52 left. After Napier’s basket, Bryant, who was just 1 of 9 from the field, sealed the win from the line. Connecticut shot 37 percent (22 of 59) and was outrebounded 30-23. West Virginia scored the game’s first seven points and extended the lead to 18-9 on Casey Mitchell’s 3-pointer with 9:09 left until halftime. The Mountaineers then went 4 minutes without scoring and Connecticut’s Alex Oriakhi hit a jumper to tie the score at 22-22 with 4 minutes remaining. Mazzulla hit a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left that gave the Mountaineers a 28-26 halftime lead.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)