Their antics were a little underwhelming. There were some funny lines and a few red-faced moments, most of which I cannot print, but mostly it was a much different night at Allstate Arena.
Surely that was because their team was in the game, they were captivated by the two freshmen (Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin) and their attention was devoted to what would have qualified as a nice little upset.
I’m happy for them.
Nevertheless, WVU survived WVU as well as DePaul and managed a win it really had to have.
A 14-point lead with 10:08 remaining the game was down to five with 5:04 to go and then again with 2:08 left, but the Mountaineers answered DePaul’s punches and dodged a haymaker at the end to take a 67-65 victory before 8,189 at Allstate Arena.
“We’re not consistent,” forward Deniz Kilicli said. “We’re not playing the whole game. We get up 10, 14 points like this and we start taking stupid shots and making bad decisions.”
For a second straight game, the Mountaineers had issues with late execution. After giving up a dunk on an offensive rebound, throwing the ball away and finally wasting a possession by missing a layup when down by three points late in Saturday’s loss against Marquette, WVU had another frantic finish.
On their final possession, the Mountaineers couldn’t get open after a timeout and Darryl “Truck” Bryant shot in the lane and came up short. They gave the Blue Demons a potential game-winning possession, but Brandon Young missed a jumper down by one and WVU survived.
“We went 1-3-1 because we hadn’t played it and hoped we could try to make them run a little more clock than they wanted,” WVU Coach Bob Huggins said. “If they make it, we lose.”
It doesn’t automatically translate into great things, but there are some things to keep an eye on, namely John Flowers doing everything, Casey and the Turk scoring in tandem, Kevin Jones spinning balls off the glass with aplomb and Joe Mazzulla plotting against himself to pick his moments.
As for the students, they had their moments, and it begins with pregame propoganda.
Sixteen seconds in: “Put Tony in!”
Twenty seconds in, with Krys Faber at the line, Tony Freeland is in: “Put Tony at the line!”
Random moments in first half: “It is a Tuesday night!”
Beginning of second half: “We’re going to states!”
Early in second half: “Jerry West’s son is on the bench.”
“Yeah, he’s the NBA logo.”
“His son’s a (noun).”
“You can’t say that about Jerry West’s son.”
“I just did.”
During rally: “We need to finish this beer so we can clap.”
Not as good as last year. Certainly nothing as memorable as the “I’m gonna google you and find nothing” directed at Casey, who remembered that well Tuesday night.
“They were asking me why I wasn’t in the game, screaming, ‘Why aren’t you going into the game?’” he said of last year’s experience, before stating it didn’t matter this year. “I wasn’t too much worried about that. I was worried about winning. We were already two games down. I didn’t want anything else on my mind but winning.”