WVU Has Way With Rutgers
MORGANTOWN – There were tons of fouls and missed shots on one side and mountains of free throws on the other. On paper, it looked like Rutgers played exactly as it did 10 days earlier in a similar-looking loss to West Virginia.
But West Virginia’s Deniz Kilicli says that’s not the case.
”They were worse this game,” Kilicli said of the Scarlet Knights, who were beaten soundly, 84-60, by the Mountaineers on Saturday, their second 20-plus point loss to WVU in less than two weeks.
Kilicli didn’t stop there, as he usually doesn’t.
”It was boring,” he said. ”It was a horrible game. We beat them by 30.”
OK, so the Turkish math doesn’t translate, but the point does. Rutgers (10-8 overall, 2-3 Big East), which was coming off handing Pitt its fifth home loss of the season, did next to nothing against the Mountaineers (13-5, 4-2).
In two games, the Scarlet Knights have sent West Virginia to the free-throw line 66 times (of which it has made 35). Kevin Jones, the Big East’s leading scorer and rebounder who upped those numbers with 24 points and 14 rebounds on Saturday, has 28 rebounds against Rutgers this season.
”We just had to come out and do the same thing we did at Rutgers,” Jones said. ”I think they got rattled by the pressure and the trapping. Just like it happens to us sometimes.”
Rutgers led this game for about 2 seconds during the first minute, and, with 4:29 left, trailed by as many as 30. WVU led 48-22 at halftime, when it feted basketball-playing alumni from the last 60 years.
The categories in which the Scarlet Knights led were turnovers (19-13), blocks (5-2), and personal fouls (31-16). West Virginia dominated everything else. The minutes played were even.
”If we don’t dribble the ball off of stuff and give them the ball off our unwillingness to pass, we’d have been better than that,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said.
West Virginia’s lead reached 20 with 6:18 remaining in the first half and dipped under only briefly when the Scarlet Knights hit two of their three 3-pointers with 11 minutes remaining.
”We kinda took them out of what they wanted to do,” Huggins said. ”We forced them further out. The weave is not quite as effective when you push them out.”
The last thing Rutgers needs is to be pushed out further. In two games against the Mountaineers, the Scarlet Knights are 7 of 30 from beyond the 3-point line (23 percent).
Jones did record his 12th double-double of the season, but he didn’t really have to sweat to get it. And he wasn’t alone. Kilicli added 14 points, Truck Bryant finished with 18, and Jabarie Hinds added 11. Keaton Miles scored a career-high six points and showed off some passing skills with seven assists.
”That’s the best I’ve seen Keaton Miles play,” Jones said.
Miles, a 6-foot-6 Texan who profiles as a rebounding machine and defensive wizard down the road, brushed away some of that chatter.
”I just go in and focus,” he said. ”It’s not about me; I just want to contribute to the ‘W.’ ”
Leading the way for Rutgers was Myles Mack with 15 points. Dane Miller added 13. No one else had more than seven.