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Providence Vs. West Virginia: Mountaineers Manhandle Friars, Coast To 93-63 Victory

Tonight in the West Virgina Coliseum, everything went right for the Mountaineers.  Well, not everything.  John Flowers didn't have his head band.  What he had instead, was the single best all around game of his Mountaineer career. The Mountaineers coasted to a 26 point halftime lead and a 30 point  victory.  In a lot of ways, it was a boring uncompetitive game and the Coliseum yawned through a sloppy second half.  However, there are so many things to be excited about.  Take, for instance:

  • J! Flow!  John Flowers went for 24 points tonight, far and away his career high.  In addition, he tallied 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals.  Good lord.  Oh yeah, he also held the Big East's second leading scorer to ten points under their average, stole an inbounds pass for an easy basket, and threw home a dunk that had him dancing afterwords in the lane.  Needless to say, John Flowers had a hell of a night.  I don't want to say it, but the phrase "whirling dervish" comes to mind.  Flow was everywhere tonight.  Including the jumbotron where, early in the second half, he taught "the Dougie" to the crowd.  What a performance. If Flowers can average half of this production the rest of the way, he'll be more than doing his job. I gotta say, I love this kid.  He's a great player, and fun to watch.  Not to mention the most entertaining tweeter on the team.  I'd love to see him make the league.  He doesn't seem quite good enough, but if there's one guy who can work his way in, I hope it's him.
  • The big men played, well, big.  While Flowers was doing everything that can possibly be done on a basketball court, his cohorts in the front court were going to the glass hard.  Kevin Jones had a double double, dropping 19 points and hauling in 13 boards.  Danny Jennings got the start over Deniz Kilicli tonight, and to pay back his coach for the opportunity he literally attacked basketballs as they came off of the glass.  He has begun to show flashes of the tough rebounder we'd hoped he'd grow into this season. The Turk had a good showing as well, both on the glass and in the paint, getting fourteen points with his European-style shooting touch.  Sometimes I wonder if he knows how big he is because he seems to be so averse to putting his shoulder into his defender.  Despite that, his touch is incredible and he seems to have a variety of moves to get himself free, I just don't get why they all go away from the basket.
  • The offense's engine purred.  The Mountaineers tallied an assist on 22 of their 35 baskets tonight, and many of them looked downright easy.  They never fell into the lazy jumpshot trap, despite the game being out of hand for the entire second half.  Truck only had a couple of moments late in the game where he looked like he'd turned his brain off, and by that point it didn't matter. Since this team lacks a single player who can take a game over, it's important to run plays and work for good looks. Whenever it falls apart into a scrum, it just doesn't favor the Mountaineers.

Three wins in a row after dropping the first two Big East games.  It's a good place to be.  There are better places, but there are worse too, and right now this team will take it.  Despite playing a game tonight that was never even in question, there won't be a lot of those in the Big East.  The Mountaineers took advantage of a bad Providence team tonight, and played with confidence and swagger.  Sunday afternoon a top ten Purdue team comes to Morgantown, and the Mountaineers are faced with the rare opportunity to pick up a true signature win.  If the Mountaineers play like they did tonight, it should be an exciting one this weekend.  If there's one thing that can be said about this installment of the West Virginia Mountaineers,  it is: stay tuned, anything can happen.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.