Against the Irish he never came out.
"It's hard when teams are keying on you,'' said teammate Kevin Jones, who knows the feeling while leading the Big East in scoring and rebounding. "It's a sign of respect, but it's hard to play your game.''
Indeed, Notre Dame was doing everything it could to deny Bryant shots, unwilling to suffer the fate of Providence. Bryant could have forced the issue, but for one of the few times in his career he did not, which was fine with Huggins.
"He's never made shots forcing them,'' Huggins said. "We were up three with him getting the ball to other people. He didn't have any [shots]. They did a really good job on him.''
Or at least the Mountaineers were up three until it all fell apart. Leading 45-42, West Virginia gave up a contested 3-pointer to Eric Atkins to tie the game. Bryant then made his only turnover of the game trying to get the ball inside and the Irish scored another 3 by Jerian Grant. When Bryant finally shot the ball for the first time in almost 25 game minutes, he missed on a drive toward the basket and Notre Dame eventually got another 3 by Scott Martin to put it away.
All of which puts the Mountaineers (16-9, 6-6 Big East) into a tough situation. They host a hot No. 24 Louisville team at noon Saturday, then face two teams on the road that have already beaten them at home - Pitt next Thursday and Notre Dame the following Wednesday. Then comes a home game with No. 18 Marquette before closing the regular season at home with DePaul and on the road at South Florida.
The only positive in there is that after Saturday's game with Louisville, West Virginia has just one game in the ensuing 11 days. For a team that relies so heavily on just three players - Bryant, Jones and Kilicli - that's another necessary break this late in the year.
"Truck just had a bad scoring night. It doesn't mean he didn't play,'' Jones said. "But this team depends on the three of us to do a lot, and when we don't do it, it can get ugly.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.