MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Kevin Jones scored 25 points to lead three West Virginia scorers in double figures Monday night as the Mountaineers toppled Tennessee Tech 72-53.
Darryl “Truck” Bryant added 15 points and Deniz Kilicli had 12 for West Virginia (8-2), which has won a season-best four straight.
Jones notched his sixth double-double of the season, grabbing 14 rebounds.
“(Jones) gets every rebound,” said Bryant, who was second on the Mountaineers with six boards. “Kevin gets 25 points tonight, all off rebounds. He hit a couple of jump shots, of course, but all of KJ’s points come from rebounds. He gets easy shots, that’s what KJ does, (and) he’s a great rebounder.”
It was also Jones’ sixth game this season with 20 or more points.
“I’ve been working on my shots, and I’m going to keep on shooting,” said Jones, averaging 20.3 points per game. “I feel like my inside game is working for me and I’m going to keep going to what’s working for me. I’m the type of guy who is always going to be around the basket, no matter what.”
Jud Dillard led the Golden Eagles (6-5) with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Zach Bailey added 10 points.
The teams traded leads early on and Tennessee Tech pulled ahead 8-7 on a Dillard jumper. But a Jones layup sparked a 13-2 run for West Virginia and the Mountaineers never trailed again. They led the Golden Eagles by seven points at the break and outscored them 39-27 in the second half to seal it.
The Mountaineers have won four in a row, and the loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Tennessee Tech.
West Virginia’s 6-foot-2 Bryant was solid checking Tech’s Kevin Murphy, who is 6-7. The Ohio Valley Conference preseason player of the year, Murphy tallied just seven points on this night, going 2 of 11 from the floor.
“I put him on lockdown in the second half, I locked him up,” Bryant said of Murphy, “I just wanted to prove a point that he wasn’t going to have what he wanted to have tonight.”
Murphy was 1-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line, and Tennessee Tech was 1-for-15 from long range overall.
“Truck did a terrific job,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who notched all-time victory number 699. “I told him in practice that you are probably going to have to guard him and I think after the first three or four possessions, he said, `I got him.’ … Defense to Truck was like a bad word when he got here and he has progressed so far. He understands that we need him to guard.”
West Virginia made 50 percent of its second-half shots and was good on 45.5 percent for the game.
Tennessee Tech’s final lead of the game (8-7) came with 13 minutes left in the opening half.
Then, West Virginia went to work. Hitting three 3-point shots in a row, including two straight by freshman walk-on Paul Williamson, the Mountaineers outscored Tennessee Tech 13-2 and led 20-10 with 7:23 left. West Virginia owned a 10-point advantage four more times in the period.
The halftime score was 33-26.
A second-half push by West Virginia resulted in a 17-5 run that put the Mountaineers ahead by 23 with 7:20 left.