MORGANTOWN - Late Thursday night in Wichita, Kan., Deniz Kilicli was talking almost wistfully about how nice it would be if once, just once, he and his West Virginia teammates could put together a complete game.
At the time, the Mountaineers had just finished an 85-80, double-overtime win over Kansas State, but it was a mammoth struggle. WVU had to overcome fouls, poor shooting, turnovers and almost any other ill one could imagine. It had been that way all season, too, win or lose.
Well, Saturday night at the Coliseum the Mountaineers didn't exactly put it all together, but they were close.
Truck Bryant had career highs in points (27) and 3-pointers (5) and West Virginia shot 54 percent, dominated the boards, made free throws and didn't turn the ball over until a sloppy, meaningless final few minutes and won in a second-half runaway over Miami, 77-66, at the Coliseum.
Kilicli was also a monster, scoring 18 points in the post in front of a crowd of 12,257 - by far the largest of the season - that saw the Mountaineers improve to 6-2 before a week's break from games for final exams.
"It's getting better,'' Kilicli said when asked if this was closer to what he had in mind in terms of a complete performance. "After the Kansas State game, I said it's not going to get any worse than this. It's just going to get better. And that's what's going on - everybody helping each other. And that's what good teams do.''
Indeed, there was plenty of help going on in this one, a fact that one quick look at the boxscore confirms.
While Bryant had his best scoring game ever - he has 51 points in the last two games, coinciding with his extra shooting before each of those games - he had help. Kilicli not only had 18 points (one off his career high), he had eight rebounds and a rather astounding five assists. Freshman Gary Browne came off the bench and had nine points and six assists while replacing an ineffective Jabarie Hinds.
But perhaps most telling was this: West Virginia won easily despite getting just 12 points and nine rebounds from Kevin Jones, who was averaging 21.3 and 11.7.