"That's what we worked on all week,'' Kilicli said. "I was off balance all the time.''
And an on-balance Kilicli is a site to behold. Against Providence he had 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. His nine field goals were two dunks, a tip-in, one prayer when he was being fouled, four of those hook shots and a take-that post move to the basket that tied the game near the end of regulation.
He also had four offensive rebounds and none of that escaped the attention of Bob Huggins.
"He had four offensive rebounds in the second half,'' Huggins said, actually exaggerating by one. "There was a while there I didn't know if he'd get that in a season.
"But this is also as competitive as Deniz has been. Deniz is pretty laid back, but this is as competitive as he's been all season.''
And that's exactly what West Virginia needs. A big post presence takes pressure off of Jones, whether he's around the basket or on the perimeter. It gives WVU's best lineup - three guards (Bryant, Gary Browne and Jabarie Hinds) along with Kilicli and Jones - someone else to throw the ball into. It even helps on defense, where although he didn't get credit in the boxscore for it, it was Kilicli who blocked a Providence shot with a minute left in overtime that would have given the Friars the lead.
Oh, and he also was part of the funniest play of the year, guarding PC's Bilal Dixon and waving a hand in his face while Dixon had his back to the basket. Dixon was so preoccupied with Kilicli that Bryant all but walked up and took the ball from him and went unimpeded down the floor for what he says was the third dunk of his career.
All of that added up to a team performance that wasn't exactly overwhelming, but enabled the Mountaineers to snap a three-game losing skid and perhaps get back on track. And it was in great part due to Kilicli providing the ingredient Huggins hoped to have with him all along but has seen only in spurts.
Hopefully Kilicli understands the importance of his contributions and continues to play the same way. If nothing else, he certainly understood the gravity of Sunday's win.
"If we lose this one, we're in the NIT,'' he said after the win at Providence.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.