March 3, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers forward Kevin Jones (5) looks to pass while guarded by South Florida Bulls forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (32) at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Griffith-US PRESSWIRE
The West Virginia Mountaineers held off the South Florida Bulls, 50-44, for a resume-strengthening win as the Big East Tournament approaches. Kevin Jones led the way with 18 points and key free throws down the stretch.
The South Florida Bulls made a late run at the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday, but WVU held on for a 50-44 win to keep their hopes of an at-large bid in the 2012 NCAA Tournament alive. Darryl Bryant was just 2-for-11 from the field, but went 12-for-12 from the free throw line to help close out the victory.
The Mountaineers scored their final 10 points from the charity stripe, and went 18-for-21 for the game to outscore the Bulls by 10 points from the line. Kevin Jones was also perfect, making all four of his free throw attempts in the final 1:51 of the second half to lead the West Virginia with 18 points total. His 6-for-18 performance from the floor actually improved the Moutaineers anemic 28.8 shooting percentage for the game.
The Bulls shot 39.5 percent from the floor, but were outrebounded 32-27 and committed 13 turnovers to eight for the Mountaineers. The game had massive NCAA Tournament implications. With a win, South Florida could have swapped places with West Virginia as one of the last teams into the Big Dance. Now they will need a big run in the Big East Tournament next week to strengthen their resume.
For more on the Mountaineers, head over to the SB Nation blog The Smoking Musket. For more on the Bulls, check out Voodoo Five. Stay tuned to our college basketball hub for more news and results from around the country.