NCAA: West Virgina Press Conference

Comments from West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and players Dalton Pepper, Joe Mazzulla, Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant following the Mountaineers' 84-76 win over Clemson in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Q. Dalton, can you talk about the three plays at the end, the three turnovers, the steals that basically you converted and basically iced the game away?

Dalton Pepper: We were mixing up defenses and we were getting in the passing lanes and stuff, so they were -- I don't think they were ready for it, and we just caught them off guard and got a few steals.

Q. Kevin, the stretch at the end of the first half and that three in particular, what significance do you think that had in you guys winning the game?

Kevin Jones: I mean, we were on an 11 to 1 streak I think at that point, and I think it just gave us a lot of momentum going into the second half where we were down basically the whole first half, and it gave us a lot of confidence coming out of that locker room.

Q. Kevin, early in the game it looked like it took you guys a few minutes to sort of settle into the flow of the game. How quickly did you feel like you guys really got into your rhythm? KEVIN JONES: I mean, they were doing a good job of pushing us. We started our offense basically at half court, and we couldn't really pound people in our half court offense. Once we settled down and we started making hard cuts and getting guys open and setting good screens, I think we were fine after that point.

Q. Joe, does Dalton do this kind of stuff in practice?

Joe Mazzulla: Actually the total opposite. When things are going bad and we need a basket, we usually just attack Dalton (laughter). He's perfect for the top of that one-three-one because of his length and his athleticism. Once we got him to understand what that position is and how you're supposed to play it, you know, he almost played it to perfection today. He's great for the top of that one-three-one, just not man to man.

Q. Dalton, are you going to put up with that?

DALTON PEPPER: Well, on our team we usually have the gold team, we usually just attack Joe on that team. Joe or Truck, depends which one.

Q. I know the game is not finished, but you may end up playing Kentucky. Those of you that played against them last year, what do you remember about that game? It's a different team this year, but what do you think about potentially playing them?

Darryl Bryant: I don't know, I didn't play, but I watched it from the sideline. They're a talented team, but at the end of the day, we're going to take them off what they want to do, and from there on out we'll see what happens.

But I think we'll be very ready to play, and I know our coaching staff is going to get after the scouting reports and we're going to go back to the hotel, rest, and just get ready to play that game on Saturday.

Q. For Dalton, right before you made those three steals they cut a 12-point lead down to about three. What was going through your mind at that point as that lead was starting to shrink a little bit?

DALTON PEPPER: I mean, we just had to stay focused and just keep our heads, and Chuck was attacking the rim real well and scoring. They really couldn't contain him. Same with Joe, they were kicking out, and K.J. was knocking down shots all day, so...

Q. Could you talk about the three plays that Dalton made at the end and what you did defensively to make those happen?

COACH HUGGINS: I didn't do anything. We went one-three-one to burn clock. They were attacking us off the bounce, and we didn't do a very good job of containing penetration. And we just thought, you know, when you go to one-three-one late, it takes more time to get a good shot, and we just wanted to burn some clock. I've been kind of talking to Pep (Pepper), and he's never played on the top until, whatever it was, three weeks ago maybe. He was always playing on the wing before. We're just trying to get him to stay between the ball and the next guy. I honestly didn't even see what happened the first time. I was looking at what they were doing on the baseline, I wasn't watching the ball. But no, those were big for us. That's kind of what Devin did a year ago for us. Devin made a bunch of plays at the top of it for us.

Q. That run to end the first half, what happened there, and what happened early in the half, as well?

COACH HUGGINS: Well, they're extremely well coached and they had great ball pressure. We had to run some things to alleviate some of their ball pressure. I mean, I think we had guys where we wanted them, but we just couldn't get them the ball because of their ball pressure, and that's good coaching.

And then we finally -- they were stringing out ball screens, and we just started ball screening with K.J. because he can step back and make those shots, and he's more of a pick-and-pop guy than a pick-and-roll guy, so we picked and popped more than we picked and rolled.

Q. You switched to the one-three-one I think for a few possessions in the second half and then you had to get out of it for a couple trips and went back into it. Why did you have to get out of it and did you want to get back into it for any reason other than burning clock?

COACH HUGGINS: We got out of it because of personnel. And then when we went back with the same personnel, we went back to it.

Q. If it were to come to pass, you might play Kentucky. Can you just talk about that game last year and what you remember and how they're different this year since they did lose so many different players?

COACH HUGGINS: Well, last year we were sitting -- I was sitting by Cam Thoroughman, and we were waiting for a show to come on, and Cal calls me, and he says, you know we're going to play. We're going to be in the same region. I said, we're not going to be in the same region. He goes, I'm telling you, we're going to be in the same region. This year I'm sitting there at one minute after 6:00, I get a text from Cal that says, "You know we're going to play again." And I texted him back, "No way." And he says, "I'm telling you we're going to play again." So either Cal has got somebody on the inside or he's clairvoyant. I'm not sure which.

We just couldn't guard them man to man last year, and we were pretty good one-three-one team with Devin on the top and actually we had a bunch of guys that had played it a lot when John was there, and John coaches it a whole lot better than what I do. And they played it a lot more. They missed some shots, and you know how it is; you start missing shots, the cumulative effect, you start maybe aiming it instead of shooting it, and they just missed a whole bunch of shots. We kept them on the perimeter, which is what we wanted to do.

Q. Everybody is going to talk about the defense and the one-three-one and Dalton's steals and all that, but you guys score, whatever it is, 84 points, you get to the free-throw line 31 times. How did that happen? That's not something you guys have done regularly this year.

COACH HUGGINS: Well, when you pressure the way they pressure, you're going to get some back-cuts and you're going to get some of those kind of things. And we made some shots finally. We made some shots. But you get to the free-throw line, Joe and Truck got to the free-throw line, and Joe has been shooting free throws really well for us, and Truck has shot free throws all year for us. I was shocked we scored 40 the first half. I told Larry coming in, you know, we've got to hold them to less than 40 the second half or we can't win. I thought we did a better job initially defensively. We just weren't in very good position. And then the one-three-one is just to slow people down. It's not to steal the ball, it's just to slow people down, and we were fortunate that Pep made a couple steals.

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