MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Next season's graduating class for West Virginia helped give this year's seniors a send-off to remember.
Kevin Jones had a career-high 25 points and 16 rebounds and Truck Bryant sank two free throws with 1 second left to lift the Mountaineers to a 72-70 win over No. 11 Louisville in their Big East regular-season finale Saturday.
In the final home game for John Flowers, Joe Mazzulla, Casey Mitchell, Cam Thoroughman and Jonnie West, it was the juniors - Jones and Bryant - who solidified Bob Huggins' fourth consecutive 20-win season and the school's seventh straight overall. It also improved Huggins to 100-40 as West Virginia's coach.
"I just told Truck to take us home," Jones said of Bryant's winning free throws. "I'll put him at the line at clutch situations anytime. I know he'll make them."
West Virginia (20-10, 11-7 Big East) overcame a five-point deficit in the final 1:19 to clinch a first-round bye and will take a three-game winning streak into the conference tournament. The Mountaineers beat a ranked team for the fifth time this season.
The Mountaineers shot just 34 percent (21 of 62) from the floor, but made up for it by outrebounding Louisville 49-25.
WEST VIRGINIA 72,
No. 11 LOUISVILLE 70
Jennings 2-3 4-5 8, Knowles 5-16 3-4 15, Siva 0-3 2-4 2, C. Smith 3-8 7-8 14, Kuric 7-9 2-3 21, Goode 0-2 0-0 0, Dieng 2-2 0-2 4, Justice 0-1 1-2 1, Marra 0-3 2-2 2, Van Treese 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 20-48 22-32 70.
WEST VIRGINIA (20-10)
Thoroughman 1-1 6-6 8, Jones 11-21 3-3 25, Flowers 3-11 5-5 12, Mazzulla 0-4 5-8 5, Bryant 3-10 3-3 10, Mitchell 3-8 2-2 10, West 0-2 2-2 2, Kilicli 0-2 0-0 0, Pepper 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 21-62 26-29 72.
Halftime-West Virginia 32-30. 3-Point Goals-Louisville 8-20 (Kuric 5-6, Knowles 2-8, C. Smith 1-2, Siva 0-1, Marra 0-3), West Virginia 4-24 (Mitchell 2-5, Bryant 1-5, Flowers 1-5, Mazzulla 0-1, Pepper 0-2, West 0-2, Jones 0-4). Fouled Out-Mazzulla, Thoroughman. Rebounds-Louisville 25 (Jennings, Siva 4), West Virginia 49 (Jones 16). Assists-Louisville 14 (Siva 6), West Virginia 12 (Mazzulla 5). Total Fouls-Louisville 25, West Virginia 19. Technical-West Virginia Bench. A-15,032.
Jones had his third straight double-double and was joined by Flowers with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Bryant and Mitchell added 10 points apiece.
"There were some games where I couldn't hit anything and some games where my offense was clicking a little bit," Jones said. "But I could never seem to get it all together in one game and I think that this was the first game that I had it all together."
Kyle Kuric scored 21 points for Louisville (23-8, 12-6), which saw its four-game winning streak snapped. Preston Knowles added 15 points and Chris Smith scored 14.
Louisville, picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll, already had clinched the No. 3 seed with a double bye into Thursday's Big East quarterfinals and didn't have anything on the line Saturday.
Both games between the teams this season were decided in the final seconds.
"It seems like every time we play Rick (Pitino) it is like this," Huggins said.
On Jan. 26, Louisville came from 11 points down to beat West Virginia 55-54 at home on Peyton Siva's layup with 4.5 seconds left. Mitchell missed that game while serving a three-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Mitchell, West Virginia's leading scorer at 14.4 points per game off the bench, wasn't a factor this time until making two 3-pointers 9 seconds apart to tie the game at 70-70 with 10 seconds left.
After Knowles missed a 3-point try, Bryant got the rebound, was fouled by Knowles and made the winning free throws.
"I was just shocked that he fouled me and he really did foul me," Bryant said. "I said to him, 'What are you doing?' This game was going to overtime and they still had a chance, but that foul was crazy. The end of this game was crazy."
"It was just good seeing the seniors so happy."
It marked the second straight game that Bryant decided the outcome from the line. He made seven free throws over the final 1:19 in a 65-56 win over No. 16 Connecticut on Wednesday.
It also was a redemption of sorts for Bryant, who had missed two free throws with 25 seconds left in the earlier game at Louisville.