Mountaineers Now 7-0
By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
December 12, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Kevin Jones scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead No. 6 West Virginia to a 69-43 victory over Coppin State Saturday evening at the WVU Coliseum.
Just as they did on Wednesday night against Duquesne, the Mountaineers once again needed smothering defense to compensate for poor shooting.
“I’m glad we got this one over with,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “We didn’t shoot it very well today. We had the same shots we’ve been making (in practice) and we didn’t make them.”
West Virginia was 4 of 26 from 3-point distance, hit just 19 of 34 from the free throw line and finished the game shooting 39.7 percent overall from the floor.
Jones’ 22 points came on 7 of 16 shooting.
“He seemingly just gets better every game,” said Huggins of Jones. “KJ really works at it. He listens, he tries to do what you ask him to do and he works really hard in practice.”
Da’Sean Butler, who scored 16 points, did so on 5 of 12 shooting. Truck Bryant was 3 of 9 from the floor for 11 points.
“If it was a shooting contest we would have won this one tonight,” said Huggins.
Freshman Dalton Pepper scored 8 points, hitting 3 of 6 from the floor off the bench.
“I thought Pep came in and gave us a lift,” said Huggins. “He came in and made some shots and I thought defensively he did a pretty good job.”
Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell chose to hold the ball and run the shot clock to limit West Virginia’s possessions. The Eagles were leading 13-11 before the Mountaineers made a 12-0 run over a four-minute span to take a 23-13 lead with 6:01 remaining in the first half.
“We used to play Temple all of the time and (holding the ball) is what John (Chaney) did,” said Huggins. “This is great for us. Everybody talks about having offensive patience you have to have defensive patience, too.”
Two technical fouls called on Lenny Young and the Coppin State bench led to four Da’Sean Butler free throws to give West Virginia at 19-13 lead. The Mountaineers led 33-19 at halftime.
Vince Goldberry came off the bench to score a team-high 12 points for Coppin State, now 5-4 this season.
“I told them at halftime, ‘This is why I tell you everyday that we’ve got to guard and we’ve got to rebound because we’re not going to make shots all of the time. But if we guard and we rebound it will keep us in the game.’ And rebounding and guarding kept us in the game,” said Huggins.
In the second half, West Virginia used a little 1-3-1 defense and it really bothered Coppin State, which committed 20 turnovers.
“I think it can be effective because of our length,” said Huggins.
West Virginia had a 40-26 advantage on the glass, including a 24-7 edge on the offensive boards.
“That’s what won the game for us,” said Huggins.
Butler’s 16 points moved him past Mark Workman and Warren Baker into 12th place on the WVU career scoring list with 1,557 points.
West Virginia boosted its record to 7-0 without regulars Devin Ebanks (hand) and Casey Mitchell (knee) in the lineup. Both players were rested tonight because of nagging ailments.
Both players will have another week of rest before the Mountaineers’ next game at Cleveland State on Saturday night.
“We’re going to go Monday at 11 o’clock in the morning and then they will have finals,” said Huggins. “I think we go at 12:30 or 1:30 on Tuesday and then we’re taking Wednesday off. We practice early on Friday but we can’t leave because guys have finals.”
Big 12 Tournament Behind the Scenes
Rifle visits the White House
Big 12 Tournament Recap: Baylor
Bob Huggins: Big 12 Tournament Preview
Big 12 Tournament Preview: Baylor
Big 12 Tournament Recap: Texas