The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 28, 2011

WVU opens Big East play tonight vs. Villanova

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia (9-3) begins conference play tonight when the Mountaineers host Villanova (7-5) at the WVU Coliseum.

The game tips off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live regionally on ROOT Sports.

Kevin Jones, the reigning Big East Conference player of the week, leads the league in scoring (21.0 ppg) and rebounding (11.9).

Coach Bob Huggins expects conference foes to turn up the heat on Jones.

“He’s going to get a lot more focus,” said Huggins. “Everybody is going to come in and their game plan is to keep KJ off the glass.”

Jones had his eighth double-double against nationally-ranked Baylor in an overtime loss Friday.

Truck Bryant is averaging 16.3 points per game and Deniz Kilicli, hampered by a hip pointer, is averaging 11.2 points and six rebounds per game.

West Virginia averages 72 points per game and is beating opponents by an average of 10.9 per game.

Villanova has struggled scoring this season, shooting just 42 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range. However, the Wildcats are 6-1 when they score 70.

“When they shoot it well they’re really good,” said Huggins.

Maalik Wayns is the Wildcats’ leading scorer, averaging 17.4 points per game. But he is hitting just 27 percent of his 3s. Dominic Cheek (11.5 ppg) and James Bell have 19 3s each.

Villanova has struggled away from home, going 1-5 on the road this season.

The Wildcats lead the all-time series 22-19, and won the most recent matchup in Morgantown 82-75.

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