Jones: I’m going to question everybody

Junior guard Dominique Jones said he’ll have no problem lighting a fire under the men’s basketball team today in practice.

USF’s star did his part Wednesday night — scoring 28 points in 36 minutes — but the rest of his team could only muster 22 points as No. 10 West Virginia (13-2,4-1) pulled away in the second half to down the Bulls (10-6, 0-4) 69-50 at the Sun Dome.

“If it’s putting pressure on my teammates, then that’s just what I have to do,” said Jones, who had a team-high seven rebounds. “We have to get in the gym more or something.  Somebody has to hit shots.  I’m going to question everybody tomorrow.  We can’t go the whole year with just me (as) the only offensive threat.”

USF started the game bidding for a huge upset, pulling out to a 23-12 lead midway through the first half. Jones scored 11 points in the first eight minutes, and the Bulls had plenty of momentum behind a crowd of 6,110.

West Virginia, however, fought its way back, using a 34-9 run at one point to shatter USF’s momentum.

“It was us,” Jones said. “Everybody got a little excited and wanted to do their own thing. That just took us out of our flow. They got some momentum and just went off.”

USF coach Stan Heath saw a tale of two USF halves Wednesday.

“The first half team guarded real well and tried to make simpler plays,” Heath said.  “The second half team didn’t play team basketball. We were very individualistic. We were trying to go one on five and force a lot of our offense.”

“When your offense starts struggling, you really have some breakdowns on the defensive end.”

The Bulls only made one of its 17 three-point attempts and couldn’t keep the Mountaineers off the glass. West Virginia had 17 offensive rebounds to USF’s 12.

“If we were to have any chance at all, we would have to rebound,” Heath said. “Every time there was a 50-50 play with the ball, they’d come up with it.”

WVU forward Devin Ebanks had 17 points and 11 rebounds and forward Da’Sean Butler had 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists to carry the Mountaineers.

Jones’ 19 points in the first half marked the most in a half by a Bull this season, but Heath said Jones can’t single-handedly carry the Bulls.

“We do have to have a second or third option to pick up the scoring slack,” Heath said.  “It’s too good of a league to try to beat people of this caliber with one player. Early in the season, when we got out of the gate strong, that’s what was happening — we were getting four or five guys in double figures.”

Jones said he sees the talent but not the results, as USF has dropped four straight games.

“It comes to every player on the team looking themselves in the mirror and asking themselves: Am I really putting in enough work to be a Big East player?” he said. “Am I really putting in enough work to compete with the Da’Sean Butlers, the Scottie Reynolds (Villanova guard) of the league?  We have talent, but it’s up to us. It’s how bad we want it.”