The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

February 8, 2012

Big wins put WVU men and women in good positions

MORGANTOWN — Are you feeling better about the chances of West Virginia’s two young basketball teams qualifying for the NCAA Tournaments?

I think I am after watching what the men’s and women’s teams did defeating Providence and Louisville in Big East games last weekend.

The women upset 14th-ranked Louisville 66-50 Saturday at the WVU Coliseum. Then on Sunday, the men overcame a 15-point first-half deficit to outlast Providence in overtime on the road 87-84.

The men now are 16-8 overall and 6-5 in the Big East. The women are 17-6 and 6-3.

You can be certain that WVU’s head coaches, Bob Huggins and Mike Carey, are telling their players that both teams still must win more games to earn NCAA Tournament berths.

But I’d say both now are headed in the right direction. What’s more, they should have bolstered their confidence with last weekend’s results.

Huggins’ men, in particular, really needed their win against the Friars to snap a three-game losing streak. So that triumph couldn’t have been more timely.

It also was the eighth consecutive victory in the Providence series. The Mountaineers now have won four of this year’s five overtime contests.

Darryl “Truck” Bryant had a game-high 32 points, Deniz Kilicli a career-high 22 points, and Kevin Jones a ninth straight 20 points (or more).

West Virginia’s men return to action at home tonight with a conference game against Notre Dame (15-8, 7-3 Big East). It is catching the Fighting Irish on a four-game winning streak.

The WVU women do not play again until Sunday. They travel to South Bend, Ind., for a league clash with the Notre Dame women.

“I am very proud of our girls,” Carey said after they knocked off Louisville. “I thought we really played a smart game. We hit wide-open threes and layups.

“They followed the game plan very well. But we still have a long way to go. We need to look at the next game and take care of business.”

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