– Joe Mazzulla came out and hit his career high on us again and then Brandon Knight answered. Brandon notched his own, much more impressive, career high of 30 and looked like a guy who didn’t want to have his freshman season come to an end without spending some time in New Jersey. He hit his threes early and his free throws late.
– Knight stole the headlines with his scoring, but Harrellson might have been the game’s MVP. He came out and delivered the performance that we’ve come to expect from him with 15 points and eight strong rebounds. Harrellson brings passion to every game. He just starting playing this year, he’s not ready for it to end.
– Speaking of stat stuffers, neither reached their scoring average but Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins provided some great hustle plays. Terrence finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, including some man-sized rips, and DeAndre notched nine rebounds, four assists and solid defense for 39 minutes. Eloy Vargas also had a dunk and our only offensive rebound of the first half! That’s about as stuffed as his stat sheet gets.
– Darius Miller didn’t bring the scoring that he has provided of late but he did hit a big three in the second half to put the Cats up five. He’ll need to step up in the next game, but his lack of scoring today was covered by Knight’s outburst.
– Say what you want about the officiating. I’m going to say that it was absolutely atrocious. That 20 second stretch at the end of the first half was about as bad a sequence as I’ve ever seen.
– It didn’t look good at halftime but Charles Barkley never doubted the Cats and the 16-point turnaround in the second half was enough to dispel those Cal can’t coach worries. Calipari out coached Huggins in the second half by attacking the middle of his defense and better handling the many screens that West Virginia utilized so well in the first half. Cal definitely deserves some love for that.
– Two NCAA tournament games and two gritty comeback wins. We started last season’s run with three blowouts. These close games are building valuable character that the young Cats will need as their quest for the Final Four continues.
– Brandon Knight might draw some Hamlet comparisons, but it feels good to beat West Virginia. Last year’s loss was tough. Revenge feels good.
Newark, here we come.