West Virginia point guard Truck Bryant propelled an early Mountaineer spurt and finished with 22 points to earn player of the game honors in the Mountaineers' 84-70 win over Davidson.
Darryl Bryant hit seven of his 14 shots from the field, including two of four from 3-point range, as WVU took the opening game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The junior point guard played 32 minutes in the contest and made six of his eight free throw attempts.
On a day in which offensive continuity was at a premium, Bryant created effectively on that end of the floor. He drove the lane to draw fouls and handed out a team-high four assists -- a number that would have been much higher were it not for the Wildcats' hack-and-grab strategy, which sent the Mountaineers to the free throw line a whopping 49 times.
Bryant also contributed four rebounds and three steals while handling the lion's share of duties at the point.
West Virginia will likely suffer growing pains as it continues to develop its inside game, and that was clearly demonstrated in this contest. While Dan Jennings came off the bench to contribute eight points and ten rebounds against an overmatched Davidson front line, fellow big Deniz Kilicli struggled mightily. He failed to score or grab a rebound, and fouled out in just six minutes of action. This, after a 12-point, ten-rebound effort just one week ago against Oakland.
The whistle-happy officiating style certainly had something to do with Kilicli's line, but Jennings, a similarly physical player, was able to adjust and play 22 minutes while committing just three fouls. His also contributed two blocked shots.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see those results reversed as the early season progresses, as both Kilicli and Jennings go through the learning process most newcomers to the lineup must weather.
Despite a less-than-stellar performance from the free throw line (31-49, 63%), WVU still managed to score 80 points in the game. The Mountaineers shot the ball reasonably well overall (43%) and very well from 3-point range (44%) in getting to a point total that should win most games. WVU is getting scoring across the board, and again put five players in double figures in a balanced offensive effort. The good news for future games is that West Virginia hasn't been dependent so far on one or two players to provide a basketful of points. If Jennings can provide two or three buckets per game, there won't be many players that foes can ignore on defense.
For the second consecutive game, Dalton Pepper came off the bench to provide scoring punch in limited action. "Pep" hit two field goals and canned all five of this free throw attempts to record ten points -- duplicating the total he recorded in the season opener against Oakland.
So far this year, the Pennsylvania native looks much more comfortable on the offensive end, and as he continues to grow into the Mountaineer offense, he gives WVU another scoring weapon with which to attack opposing defenses.