PITTSBURGH - Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant share something more in West Virginia basketball history than four consecutive NCAA Tournament trips with former teammates Cam Thoroughman, John Flowers and Jonnie West.
As the Mountaineers (19-13) face Gonzaga (25-6) tonight at 7:20 (TNT telecast) in an NCAA East Region second-round game, seniors Jones and Bryant already are the highest-scoring classmate duo in WVU hoops annals.
Jones, with 1,809 points, and Bryant, with 1,581, rank fifth and 14th, respectively, on WVU's career scoring list. Their combined 3,390 points are the most by a pair of seniors in the same exiting class.
Jones and Bryant passed the previous top twosome earlier this season with no fanfare. Greg Jones (1,797) and Russel Todd (1,350) combined for 3,147 WVU points from 1980-83.
Next on the list are the duo of P.G. Greene (1,655) and Ricky Robinson (1,373), with 3,028 from '91-94. That class had four 1,000-point scorers, with Marsalis Basey (1,168) and Mike Boyd (1,136) added to Greene and Robinson.
As for classmates of WVU career scoring leaders Jerry West (2,309) and Hot Rod Hundley (2,180), West and 1959-60 classmate Willie Akers combined for 2,978 points. Hundley and fellow 1956-57 senior Clayce Kishbaugh finished with a total of 3,013.
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WITH JONES finishing his college career as the first WVU player to reach All-America status from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association in nearly a half-century (joining West, Hundley and Rod Thorn), the 6-foot-8 senior also receives great appreciation from his coach.
"I think what K.J.'s done has really been remarkable," WVU Coach Bob Huggins said prior to the NCAA. "He's a good athlete, he's not a great athlete. He's gotten the most out of his abilities.
"He's a great kid; he works, he does everything that he's asked to do, he doesn't hock shots, he's not selfish, he's a great guy to be around.
"He's not (Huggins' former Cincinnati stars) Kenyon Martin or Nick Van Exel or those guys, but I think for maximizing his abilities, he's probably as good as I've ever had."
Jones was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 5 first team Wednesday, with Darius Johnson-Odom of Marquette, Kris Joseph of Syracuse, Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut and Maalik Wayns of Villanova.
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THE NO. 10 East Region seed West Virginia takes into tonight's game at the 19,100-seat Consol Energy Center is the lowest for the Mountaineers in their last seven NCAA appearances.
WVU was last a 10 in 1998 when Coach Gale Catlett's club romped past No. 7 seed Temple in Boise, Idaho, before upsetting Huggins' No. 2-seeded Bearcats on Jarrod West's, last-second banked 3-pointer.
WVU then fell to eventual NCAA runner-up Utah in the Sweet Sixteen in Anaheim, Calif.