We highlighted Flowers' play off the bench as one of the key points of the game, but truth be told, the mention he received there wasn't enough. No lesser a personage than WVU head coach Bob Huggins said that Flowers might have provided his team the biggest boost of the game.
"I told those guys walking up here, I thought the MVP of the game was John Flowers. I thought in the second half [he] was terrific."
After the game, as WVU's high scorers and higher profile players were on the podium in the interview room, Flowers was in the corner of the dressing room that's typically used by visiting football teams at the Carrier Dome. Although it's a vast expanse by basketball standards, Flowers chose a locker that's somewhat tough to get to, especially when media crowd around the stalls of players such as Devin Ebanks. It's as if he's protecting the basketball side of his public face -- but that doesn't keep Huggins and others from appreciating his contribution to the game.
Flowers speaks quietly of his accomplishments on the court. The last thing you'd expect to see on one of his videos is any bragging about his skills or contributions. Still, between the lines, he's one of the most emotional of Mountaineers. Whether grabbing a big rebound, blocking a shot or cheering from the bench, he's an "energy guy" that brings a charge to the team.
He brought that electricity in both halves against the Huskies. His mid-lane jumper brought the Mountaineers to within one point at 22-21 in the first half, and he followed that up with a block of a Justin Holiday dunk attempt one trip later. But it was in the second half where he really shined. Down the stretch, he collected five rebounds, and all of them seemed to come in big situations. Two of his defensive boards came after close-in misses by the Huskies to end potential scoring threats, and both of his offensive boards helped keep alive a crucial Mountaineer possession that ended in a kick-out to Kevin Jones for a three-pointer and an 11-point lead with 4:14 to go.
Flowers' contributions outside the statbook were just as important. As part of WVU's 1-3-1 defense, which routinely takes foes out of their offense, his length, along with that of Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones, was key in stifling the Huskies down the stretch. FOllowing Isaiah Thomas' three-pointer with 7:06 to play, Washington could manage just four lay-ups/dunks, and all of those came off Mountaineer turnovers. In the halfcourt, UW was totally unable to generate any offense, and much of that was due to the defensive efforts.
As the man behind the camera, Flowers has brought some great insight into the character of this Mountaineer team. But so too has his play as a defensive stopper and fierce rebounder -- even though those don't get nearly the exposure of his Twitter videos.