MORGANTOWN -- The boxscore shows that West Virginia didn't need Deniz Kilicli for more than 15 minutes Saturday night in a 20-point win against a 1-7 Division I team.
He started. He made all four of his shots and scored 13 points. He grabbed seven rebounds. The Mountaineers shot 54.5 percent and outrebounded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by 11 in an 84-64 win.
In short, Kilicli pretty much personified the team in the first game of the Las Vegas Classic - and that's not a good thing.
"I didn't like what I did," he said. "I could have done that for the whole game."
He did not, though, because he was allowed to play five minutes in the first half before Coach Bob Huggins sat Kilicli on the bench and later told him he was not getting back in the game.
Huggins would relent and Kilicli made the most of the good tidings by going 3-for-3, dunking once and rebounding four missed shots after halftime. Kilicli was nothing in the second half that he was in the first.
"Deniz was awful," Huggins said. "It's one thing when you miss shots or do this or do that, but Deniz didn't give us any effort. But I gave him another chance because up until that point, other than a couple bad days early on, he's been pretty good. (Saturday) he wasn't good. His mind wasn't there."
Huggins would extend that to cover other parts of his team, which won a third straight game to start preliminary play in the Las Vegas Classic.
The Mountaineers (7-2) play host to Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. tonight at the WVU Coliseum before traveling to Las Vegas to play Missouri State on Thursday and No. 6 Baylor on Friday (9 p.m., ESPN).
In addition to Kilicli's two turnovers to precede his early exit, senior Kevin Jones played six minutes in the first half before taking a seat with two fouls. Senior Truck Bryant was 2-for-7. Huggins used five freshmen together for stretches and the halftime lead was just 32-28.
Huggins was making a point to the regulars who were to be reminded their playing time isn't guaranteed - and to the reserves who discovered there were reasons they don't play too often.
"I'm a big believer that you get what you earn," Huggins said.
Although he said he was unaware, Kilicli had learned actually what earned his seat. Following last week's win against Miami, the 6-foot-9, 260-pound junior from Istanbul, Turkey, was asked about one animated conversation he and Huggins had in the first half.
Kilicli said he wasn't sure what was said and then explained why.
"It comes to a point that I know what I'm doing most of the time and I know I screwed up," he said. "So I mute it because the stuff that's going to come out, I don't take it very well."
That made its way to Huggins during finals week at WVU and Kilicli said that was part of the ire Huggins aimed at him in the first half.