No. 14 Mountaineers unable to ward off two-point loss to No. 17 Cyclones
The 14th ranked West Virginia University Men’s basketball team was unable to execute a few short range looks late as they lose to the 17th ranked Iowa State Cyclones 74-72 Saturday at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, WV.
Juwan Staten and Devin Williams stepped up as catalysts for production in this one as their combined 37 points accounted for well over half of all of WVU’s scoring. Although the Mountaineers were able to force the Cyclones into an astounding amount of turnovers, the Mountaineers were unable to promptly take advantage. The team as a whole finished the game with a team shooting percentage of 32.4% from the field, while scoring just 14 points off of Iowa State’s 18 turnovers.
WVU once again opened the game without scoring a bucket in the first two minutes of the contest as Juwan Staten converted a long range, two-point jumper to tie the game at two at the 17:50 mark of the first half.
With the game tied at six a piece, Iowa State managed to pull ahead by going on a quick 8-0 run to make it 14-6 in favor of the visitors. Dustin Hogue got the run started with a lay-up bucket at the 14:12 mark, while Abdel contributed two baskets during the stretch.
The Mountaineers countered Iowa State’s run with a 8-1 scoring spurt of their own as Devin Williams opened things up with a lay-up, while Jonathan Holton drew West Virginia within one point with a put back bucket at the 9:01 mark of the period.
As the Cyclones were now just clinging to a 15-14 lead, you had to expect them to gear up for another big run in order to take back control of the contest. Iowa State did just that as George Niang and Matt Thomas hit a couple of three-point jumpers, while Dustin Hogue made two foul shots to put the Cyclones ahead 23-16.
Following the 8-2 run by Iowa State, West Virginia slowly got themselves back into the contest as Juwan Staten answered with a big two-point jump shot at the 4:15 mark to get the Mountaineers back to within five (27-22). A minute later, after WVU fell back behind by seven, Gary Browne managed to hit a three-point jumper at the 3:00 mark to make it a four-point ball game (29-25).
Juwan Staten continued his hot streak by hitting a basket from three-point land to get the Mountaineers back to within a point. After a couple of free throws by Matt Thomas on the other end of the floor, the Mountaineers were now behind the Cyclones by two points. Staten would not allow the Gold and Blue to go into the half trailing, so he drove hard through the paint on the next possession, and managed to draw a foul on his way in. The preseason Big XII Player of the Year selection finished the play by hitting both foul shots to make it 32 a piece going into the halftime break.
Eight seconds into the second stanza, Gary Browne was able to once again answer from behind the arc to give the Mountaineers their first lead since early in the first half. Georges Niang not only countered this with a game-tying three-point basket, but followed things up with a lay-up after Jonathan Holton turned the ball over on the following WVU possession.
After Devin Williams tied the game at 37 a piece with a two-point jumper at the 17:51 mark, Iowa State once again went on a short scoring spurt, this time a 7-0 run, to pull-ahead of the Mountaineers 44-37.
The Mountaineers would fall behind the Cyclones by eight points (51-43) before going on a 9-2 run to once again get back into the ball game. Devin Williams began the scoring stretch with a couple of made foul shots following a call against Geroges Niang. After Jameel McKay slammed one home at the 10:38 mark, Jaysean Paige countered with a three-pointer on the following possession to get West Virginia back to within five (53-48). Tarik Phillip and Juwan Staten both hit two foul shots a piece as the Mountaineers trailed by just one point with more than eight minutes to go in the contest.
At long last, the Mountaineers would finally tie the game again at the 7:40 mark when Jaysean Paige answered once again from behind the arc to make it 55 apiece. From there, the Mountaineers would pull ahead of the Cyclones once more as Gary Browne converted one of his two foul shots at the 6:03 mark to make it 58-57 in favor of the good guys. However, the lead would only last 19 seconds as Jameel McKay answered with a lay-in basket on the following possession to put the Cyclones ahead for good with a lead of 59-58.
In the final two minutes of the game, West Virginia was constantly on the door step of tying the game, or pulling ahead. However, their inept field goal shooting would be their downfall as they missed three key shooting opportunities in the dying seconds to lose just their second game of the season.
Other than shooting, WVU was pretty good in the other key facets of the game. The Mountaineers were slightly out rebounded by the Cyclones 40-38, but they did, however hold a significant advantage in the turnover numbers (Iowa State committed 18, WVU committed 9).
Juwan Staten finished as the game’s leading scorer with a fantastic 23 point effort. The Dayton, OH native finished 7 of 17 from the field, and 8 of 12 from the foul line. Along with the large point total, Staten finished the game with four assists, and three rebounds in 33 minutes of playing time.
Devin Williams also had a great night on Saturday as he recorded a double-double in the contest (14 points and 15 rebounds), and finished the night as the lone WVU player to shoot better than 50% from the field. Junior guard Jaysean Paige was the only other Mountaineer to reach double figures in scoring as he finished the contest with 10 before fouling out late in the second half.
The Cyclones were led in scoring by junior forward Abdel Nader. The 6’6”, 230 pound, Skokie, IL native was clutch all evening as he finished 6 of 11 from the floor, with 19 points, seven rebounds, and a blocked shot. Iowa State had two other scorers reach double-digits on the night including Georges Niang with 16, and Dustin Hogue with 11.
The Mountaineers drop to 14-2 overall, and 2-1 in Big XII conference play with Saturday night’s loss while Iowa State improves to 12-2 overall, and 2-0 in league play following the victory. WVU will look to rebound from their latest defeat on Tuesday night when they host the 16th ranked Oklahoma Sooners at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown. Tip-off is slated for 7:00PM, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN News.