Just The Two Of Us

Senior Night's at West Virginia have been merely that, an ode to the seniors playing in their final home game at the WVU Coliseum. Yet, on Tuesday night, a less than full crowd of gold and blue clad fans showed up to see what they'd hope would be the final home games for Truck Bryant and Kevin Jones.

This game mattered more than any before. With WVU right on the edge of the bubble for the NCAA tournament, a loss in an emotional game would've meant the end to what Bryant and Jones hoped would be a special season.

It's not over yet, as the senior duo combined for 50 points in a 92-75 blowout of lowly DePaul.

The two, who came in together as freshmen, walked off the court for the final time together, too. "I just told him, ‘I love playing with you for four years, and we've had a great career, but it's not over,'" said Jones, who had a friend cut a "Flying WV" logo in his hair.

See, Bryant and Jones have been teammates for the last four years. They're basically best friends.

When Jones had an opportunity to test the NBA draft waters, what helped bring the star forward back for his final year was the opportunity to go out on the right note with Bryant at his side.

"It's been great. I feel like we compliment each other so well. He's very outgoing and outspoken, and I'm quiet and reserved," Jones said. "I couldn't ask for a better teammate, roommate and friend."

So, the two trekked out on a tough journey – one without the likes of Da'Sean Butler or Joe Mazzulla. There wasn't even a John Flowers in sight.

After a less than impressive exhibition loss to Northern Kentucky to start the 2011-12 season, I bet Jones looked back on that decision to come back for his senior season and wondered if it was a right one.

But, then, the seven freshmen and a junior college transfer started to improve. And, with that, the wins started to show up.

The duo of Bryant and Jones should go down in the history of WVU basketball as one of the most successful. They are in the top 25 of all but six of the Mountaineers' career records (missed free throws, steals, steals per game, disqualifications, technical fouls).

"I'm so happy to help them get a win in their last home game. They came in with each other and have done so much for this program. It's remarkable the stamp that they've been able to put on this program," said freshman forward Keaton Miles. "The team just wanted to send them out the right way." The duo, and Jones in particular, epitomize what head coach Bob Huggins likes to see in his players – ones with heart and determination.

Bryant and Jones showed that toughness they had learned from Huggins on Tuesday night. They shed the nerves and anxiousness in their final game when players like former guard Alex Ruoff couldn't do the same.

The Mountaineers, behind their successful lead duo, earned a critical win to keep NCAA tournament hopes alive – and the pair's hopes of ending their careers in the right way.

What would that be, you ask?

"Win the Big East championship and win the national championship. That's the only way that I would be able to say I went out on the right note," Jones said. "Chances of anyone winning it are slim, but I still think we can do it. I have faith in us even if nobody else does."

It's going to take a lot for that to happen after the slide the Mountaineers have been on in the past month, but Bryant and Jones have proven time and time again that they are more than capable of surprising everyone.


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