West Virginia stops Cincinnati in OT
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Kevin Jones was big, but a freshman helped West Virginia win Saturday's game.
Jones scored 26 points, but Gary Browne hit a 3-pointer to force overtime and a layup to help clinch a 77-74 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday.
Trailing, 69-66, with 24 seconds left in regulation, West Virginia (15-5, 5-2 Big East) fed Deniz Kilicli. He got the ball into the hands of Browne, who sank the shot of the game with 14 seconds left.
"Deniz set a great screen, and Gary got a great look," coach Bob Huggins said.
In overtime, Jones and Jabarie Hinds combined to go 4 for 4 from the foul line in the first 2 1/2 minutes, and the Mountaineers never trailed. Browne then had a layup, and Kilicli hit a jumper as the Mountaineers sealed the win.
"We are getting better every time they go out on the floor," Huggins said.
Jones' production helped offset the fact that guard Truck Bryant was held to six points.
"I've been feeling very confident," Jones said. "I've been working on my shooting a lot, so it just feels natural for me to go out and shoot."
Browne and Kilicli added 13 points for the Mountaineers, and Hinds had 12. Cashmere Wright was the leading scorer for Cincinnati (15-5, 5-2) with 17. He was followed by Dion Dixon and Sean Kilpatrick with 12 apiece, and Yancy Gates added 10.
West Virginia led by as many as nine points in the first half, but Cincinnati closed with a 12-2 run to head into halftime leading, 33-32. Cincinnati led by as much as 60-55 with 5:41 left, but the Mountaineers scored five straight points for the second tie of the half.
Wright scored four points in a row for a 69-66 advantage with 28 seconds to go before Browne's 3-pointer. In overtime, Gates missed two consecutive inside shots, and Hinds' free throws gave the Mountaineers a four-point lead with 2:49 left.
Kilpatrick drained a 3 to pull the Bearcats within one, but Hinds stole an errant pass on the next possession and scored when his shot was goaltended. Cincinnati scored another basket, but Kilicli hit a left-handed hook with 32.6 seconds left to ice the victory.