HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Thanks to an uptick in rebounding and the cumulative effect of West Virginia’s press taking the oomph out of Northern Kentucky’s upset bid, coach Bob Huggins saw the kind of second half he wanted.
“We tend to wear people down—the pressure wears on people after a while,” he said. “And I think after the Knute Rockne speech, we decided to play a little harder.”
As for the contents of that halftime speech, Huggins said “You couldn’t play it for your grandchildren,” but its motivational properties apparently worked. West Virginia turned a close game into a 67-42 runaway, improving its record to 8-1.
“I thought (Jonathan) Holton really gave us a huge lift in the second half, keeping balls alive and tipping balls in,” Huggins said.
In the final half the Mountaineers outscored Northern Kentucky 47-25 and outrebounded their Atlantic Sun hosts 27-16, resulting in a beating similar to the one Wisconsin put on the Norse in Madison last month (62-31).
Listen to Huggins complete postgame news conference above. Below is reaction from Devin Williams, Juwan Staten and Holton—West Virginia’s three double-digit scorers on Sunday night.