Without matching a single number on his Powerball ticket, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins got $25,000 richer in an instant Saturday.
The Mountaineers (17-4, 9-9 Big 12) built up a 25-point lead and held on down the stretch, knocking off No. 8 Kansas 92-86, allowing the veteran coach to collect on an incentive in his contract that awards him a bonus for beating the Jayhawks (23-8, 14-4 Big 12), who recently clinched their 10th straight Big 12 regular season title.
“It ends up being more like 10 (thousand),” joked Huggins, who said he never even read his contract and wasn’t sure w hy his lawyer added such a bonus.
Huggins certainly wasn’t concerned about the money. His bigger reward was getting a win in the regular season finale and adding to his team’s NCAA Tournament resumé.
Trying to avoid missing “The Big Dance” for the second straight year for the first time in his career, Huggins believes his team is still alive as it heads to Kansas City this week for the Big 12 tournament. A win over the country’s No. 2 RPI team couldn’t have hurt.
“We’re going to have more opportunities to increase our RPI,” said Huggins. “We’ll have opportunities to get quality wins. We’ve just got to go win some games.”
If the NCAA would allow it, Devin Williams would surely be asking for a cut of Huggins’ bonus. The freshman forward had a career day, collecting his second straight double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds. He was 8 for 10 from the field, including several long jumpers. Perhaps more importantly, he was 6 for 7 from the free-throw line, where he struggled early in the year.
“I’ve just been trying to prepare the best I could,” said Williams. “All I could do is come out and play as hard as I could. It was a big game. This is one of the best conferences in the country.”