MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Kevin Jones gave Mountaineer fans flashbacks to 2010 Wednesday night.
Jones, now a WVU Sports Hall of Famer, sank the off-balance, game-winning shot that erupted the crowd on hand at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, and advanced Best Virginia to The Basketball Tournament quarterfinals in Dayton, Ohio.
“I’m excited, man. (I) still can’t believe we’re going to Dayton,” Jones said afterward.
Jones tied for the team lead with 10 points in the win over the Bucketneers. No two points were bigger than the final two he scored, as they came with Best Virginia trailing 62-61, and the Elam Ending target score of 63 just one made shot away for both teams.
Jones caught an entry pass from Jermaine Hailey, which led him further into the paint, where Jones could catch, turn and shoot. He released the shot with just one hand on the basketball, and the hand of an opposing player directly in his face.
“I was falling down, so I was just hoping that I got enough on it to get to the rim, or at least get a foul called, or something,” said Jones.
Jones fell to the floor. The shot only touched nylon on its way through the hoop. And celebrations immediately spilled onto the court and throughout the Charleston Coliseum in the moments that followed.
“When I saw it go in … I don’t know. Something came over me – joy, relief,” Jones added. “Those Elam Endings are no joke.”
Of course, Jones is no stranger to big shots and big games.
He is part of the Best Virginia trio – Jones, John Flowers, and Devin Ebanks – who helped lead West Virginia’s men’s basketball team to the Final Four in 2010. He scored 13 points against Kentucky in the Elite Eight. That game was played two days after Jones dropped 18 points in a Sweet 16 win over Washington.
Ebanks and Flowers were limited to six and five points, respectively, Wednesday night in the TBT’s version of the Sweet 16. It was a total team effort for Best Virginia, as 10 different players scored, and eight players scored between five and 10 points.
“It makes it extra special playing with your brothers,” Jones said of his Final Four teammates. “Obviously, we’re with a new generation of guys, and the way we blended so well in such a short amount of time, it’s been great. And it’s extra special just for that reason.”
Best Virginia will next play in the TBT quarterfinals in Dayton, Ohio against the home-standing Red Scare (Dayton Alumni).
The Basketball Tournament quarterfinal matchup between the former Mountaineers and former Flyers is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Friday, July 29. The game will be televised on ESPN.