It was the first true road test of the season for WVU, and the Mountaineers failed against an athletic Bulldogs squad.
Mississippi State went on a 23-10 run and shot just 2-of-15 from the 3-point line in the loss.
Honestly, it wasn't the young freshmen that were the issue. WVU loss mainly because Jones was in foul trouble throughout the game, and he and fellow senior point guard Truck Bryant couldn't hit a big jump shot in the second half.
Inconsistency has been a key in Bryant's career. At times, he's one of the best guards in the Big East. At others, he struggles to score and defend like a senior.
On Saturday night, he and Jones struggled and that costs the Mountaineers.
Still, MSU is one of the better teams in the nation, and WVU made it a game.
It was going to be a true early season test, and even though it was a loss it was a learning experience.
WVU must learn from this otherwise get ready for a long Big East season.
The West Virginia men's basketball team started off slow against Mississippi State, and two early fouls from senior leader Kevin Jones made the first even tougher.
The Mountaineers need Jones on the floor for some consistency, rebounding, leadership – and everything else that he gives WVU.
Without him on the floor, the Bulldogs went on a 6-2 run and took a 25-15 lead in which the Mountaineers were basically unable to make a shot.
At halftime, the Mountaineers are down 34-32.
Jones came back into the game with under eight minutes to go, and Bob Huggins' team looked so much better. WVU went on an 11-3 run behind four points from Jones and four from freshman forward Pat Forsythe to make it 28-26 Mississippi State.
Jones, however, picked up his third foul with 3:10 to play in the half, and the Mountaineers went down from there.
Without Jones, WVU is average at best. With him, the team has the ability to beat just about any team in the country.
It's too early to tell how this game will turn out, but Jones has to be on the floor for the Mountaineers to have a chance.
The first half proved that.
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