TAMPA, Fla. - Mark Twain wrote of "lies, damned lies and statistics,'' the not-so-subtle meaning of which is that statistics are often vastly overrated and so easy to manipulate as to render them useless.
West Virginia's performance Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum is a case in point.
After all, didn't the Mountaineers, at least statistically, do almost everything wrong during a pressure-packed 50-44 win over South Florida?
The fact is, WVU pretty much duplicated most of the same flaws that have plagued it the past two months and should have been, by all rights, forced to toss this one onto the scrap heap of lost opportunities.
Yet somehow, some way, there was Jones afterward sounding for all the world like Bill Pullman in Independence Day: "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!''
"We're not going to give up. I won't allow this team to give up,'' Jones said. "Truck won't allow this team to give up. Deniz won't allow this team to give up. We will not. If we go down, we go down fighting no matter who we play against.''
OK, so maybe it's not all just effort and resolve. On Saturday there might have been a little bit of good fortune involved, too, like when Bryant managed to make his only two field goals in a 40-second span on an off-balance prayer in the lane and then an absolute blind heave on a drive to the basket.