PITTSBURGH – Fifty years later, a West is still making big shots in key situations for West Virginia.
Jonnie West led West Virginia's comeback from a 12-point deficit, putting the Mountaineers ahead to stay by making two free throws with 3:04 remaining and scoring all 10 of his points in the second half of a 64-61 victory over Duquesne on Sunday night.
West, the son of former NBA star Jerry West, scored eight consecutive points on a pair of 3-pointers and a 15-foot jumper as the Mountaineers (7-2) turned a 50-44 deficit into a 52-50 lead.
Duquesne (4-4), led by freshman guard by T.J. McConnell's 18 points, twice regained the lead before West hit his two free throws and Darryl Bryant followed with a 3-pointer. Bryant scored 12 points.
McConnell then hit a jumper to get Duquesne back to within two points, but B.J. Monteiro missed twice at the line with 9 seconds remaining. After John Flowers made one of two free throws with 7.5 seconds left, McConnell missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied it.
"We were fortunate to win," Bryant said. "If we play like this in the Big East, we're not going to win many games. It's a very unforgiving league."
The elder West, the greatest player in West Virginia history, finished his All-American career in 1960. His son hasn't had many games like he did, but this was definitely one in which he made a difference. Jonnie West's career high is 11, in 2009 against Long Beach State.
"We didn't get out on him and he made some really big shots for them," Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said. "Their fifth-year seniors (West and Joe Mazzulla) were excellent for them, and they kept making big plays. He (West) really made the difference for them."
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said it's evident what West brings to his team. The former walk-on planned to forego his senior season — he's already graduated — but decided in October to return to the team. Going into the season, West had a 1.7 career scoring average.
"He doesn't (mess) things up when he's on the floor," Huggins said. "He makes all the shots, he knows what he's doing. That's what I need right now, guys who won't (mess) things up."
Kevin Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds for West Virginia. Bill Clark scored all 16 of his points for Duquesne in the first half but sat out much of the second half with foul trouble.
Duquesne led 42-32 with 15:30 left in the game, but Clark got his fourth foul 90 seconds later and was held out for the next 10 minutes. By the time he returned, West Virginia led.
"I should have played better defense," Clark said. "I shouldn't have been as aggressive and fouling so much. I would have given my team a better chance to win."
Flowers had 10 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots — four that helped West Virginia during its second-half comeback.
West Virginia's Final Four team dominated the Dukes last season, winning 68-39 in Morgantown, in a game that wasn't competitive. This one was.
With McConnell scoring 10 points, the Dukes led in the first half 27-15. McConnell had four steals that led to scoring, and West Virginia — bothered by the Dukes' quickness — shot only 33 percent in the half (9 of 27).
"We didn't have any zip or energy in the first half," Jones said. "But we came out right before the start of the second half and started clapping hands and it seemed to get everybody going. We played much better in the second half, but we can't keep playing like this."
The Mountaineers shot 57.7 percent (15 of 26) in the second half to Duquesne's 34.8 percent (8 of 23).
West Virginia, with a significant height advantage, held a 35-32 rebounding edge. The Mountaineers were coming off an 82-49 victory over Robert Morris, which upset Duquesne 69-63 last month.