PoG: WVU - Providence

Even John Flowers didn't know where his stellar performance on Thursday night against Providence came from. He, like most of the 11,052 in attendance at the Coliseum, just marveled at the fact that it was happening.


John Flowers.

In what was the easiest choice for our top honors in recent memory, Flowers earned the nod.

And how could he not after what was, in all respects, a career night for the senior? As if the career-high 24 points weren't enough, Flowers added six rebounds, five assists, five blocks and three steals.

And oh yeah -- he also did an absolutely incredible job of defending Providence's own senior star, Marshon Brooks, who came into Thursday night on an 11-game streak of scoring more than 20 points.

Flowers simply did just about whatever he wanted all night long. He made jump shots. He attacked the rim. He scored in transition. He generated his own shots in the half-court offense.

It was, simply put, the best all-around game of Flowers' career in Morgantown. And if former Mountaineer Darris Nichols (a graduate assistant under head coach Bob Huggins now) is able to convince Flowers to follow his superstitious ways, Flowers might never wear a headband again in a basketball game.


  • Kevin Jones.

    Maybe Jones won't ever be a marquee name like former Mountaineer stars Da'Sean Butler and Joe Alexander were on the national stage. Those guys took over games and produced in flashy, attention-grabbing ways.

    Jones, instead, is a silent assassin. On a night when Flowers got all the attention -- and rightfully so -- it was staggering to look down at the postgame box score and see the junior forward had quietly (if such a thing is possible) tallied 19 points and 13 rebounds to go with a block and a steal.

    Kevin Jones
    He just does all the little things that add up to big things. Jones didn't turn the ball over in his 34 minutes of play. He cleaned up on the offensive glass when his teammates missed, collecting eight offensive rebounds (a big reason WVU had 21 second-chance points).

    Perhaps the comparisons to recent West Virginia greats were unfair to Jones. That's not to say he's not on the level of players like Butler and Alexander. But his style of play is so totally different from that of those former stars.

    Jones plays within himself tremendously well, and, to use a sports cliché, "lets the game come to him."

    Maybe he won't be a first-team All-American, but that's just fine. He's still an incredibly valuable member of the WVU roster that has continued to be a huge reason for the team's success -- even if he doesn't draw huge attention to himself in the process.

  • Defending Providence's star players.

    Cut the head off the monster, and the beast dies. That's a good general rule of thumb in a lot of areas, and it apparently applies to the Friars' men's basketball team as well.

    The aforementioned Brooks failed to light up the scoreboard. Vincent Council, a sophomore guard that has been the team's next best option, fared little better. As a result, Providence floundered early and never put together a serious rally.

    Both Brooks and Council were horribly inefficient. Brooks made only five of his 15 field goal attempts, and Council was even worse, canning only four of his 16 shots from the field.

    Even still, they were the only PC players in double figures. Brooks had 13 points and Council added 11 more. That showed jut how much head coach Keno Davis struggled to find anyone to pick up the slack.

    It also showed just how pivotal the defensive effort of Flowers and others on those two star players truly was. Without the scoring punch of Brooks and Council, a young Providence team had essentially no chance in this one. As a result, a 30-point blowout ensued.

  • Playing with emotion and having fun.

    Winning and having fun in major college basketball is sort of like the age-old argument about the chicken and the egg: which comes first?

    Sure, when you win games, it's a lot easier to have fun and play loose. But isn't it hard to win games without a certain "fun factor" in your play as well?

    Regardless, West Virginia is finally playing with a little emotion, a little swagger. And it just so happens to coincide with the best stretch of basketball the team has played all season long.

    There was more fire from the team's bench than there has been at any other point this season. Fans at the Coliseum (an oddly quiet venue even still -- it was frighteningly silent during the team's pregame introduction highlight video) responded with a bit of enthusiasm of their own.

    And, yes, the players on the floor looked like they were enjoying themselves. Flowers, of course, led the way, doing a bit of a dance after slamming home a two-hand dunk while being fouled in the second half, then imploring fans to stand up and make some noise before shooting the bonus free throw.

    That sort of fire could go a long way towards helping the Mountaineers in what will be a tough non-conference game against No. 8 Purdue on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.

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