|Field Goal %||43.8||47.8|
|Three Point %||29.2||40.7|
|Free Throw %||60.0||72.2|
The West Virginia Mountaineers (12-18, 4-13) overwhelmed the Iowa State Cyclones (20-10, 9-8) with a big first half Wednesday night. WVU has now won back-to-back home games for the first time since the start of conference play with the 90-75 win over ISU.
To open the game, West Virginia freshman point guard Jordan McCabe drilled his first of five threes on the night in the left corner on an assist from Emmitt Mathews Jr kicking it out from the lane.
Jermaine Haley got going early and was unstoppable driving the ballot the basket, highlighted by a drive down the left side, between two defenders, for an unbelievable scoop and score with his right hand. between.
Haley was leading the Mountaineers midway through the first half with 8 points, but Iowa State was keeping pace and the game was tied at 20. Haley would finish the first half going 9-11 from the field, 2-3 from three, with 3 assists and a steal.
“(Assistant coach) Erik (Martin) did the scouting report and did a great job with it. He kept emphasizing to them in practice that he thought if we pushed the ball, we could score in transition. Jermaine did a great job pushing the ball.” Explained West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins after the game.
Then, freshmen Emmitt Mathews Jr sparked a 17-2 run with his hustle on the boards, particularly on the offensive end with two put-backs and a three from the top of the key.
“He’s been terrific. We were waiting on him to get his first one there for a long time. He’s been really active, he’s bouncy and he’s long.” Commented Huggins on Mathew. “He helps Derek (Culver) a bunch. Then, I thought the second half he started rebounding the way he’s capable of rebounding it. (If) we get those three guys rebounding it, we’ll be a tough out.
Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton ended the run with a three and battled to get within 12, but the Cyclones had no answers on how to slow down the Mountaineers in the first half.
West Virginia added to their lead in the final minutes of the half behind threes from Brandon Knapper, Chase Harler and Haley as WVU was ahead at halftime 54-33.
The Mountaineers were looking to capitalize off a 57.5% first half shooting performance, but the Cyclones were trying to get into the top four of the Big 12 standing and weren’t going away quietly in the night.
Iowa State outscored WVU 13-6 in the first three minutes of the second half but Lamont West stopped any run hitting his first three of the game from the left corner.
The Cyclones fought their way back into the game cutting the Mountaineer lead to within 10 but McCabe buried a three in the face Lindell Wigginton that seemingly took the air out of ISU.
Zoran Talley Jr got an easy basket from the right block cutting the Mountaineer lead to 12 and West Virginia Bob Huggins would take a timeout.
The Mountaineers quickly executed as McCabe dribbled to the right side feeding it to a cutting Haley, towards the basket, for the easy lay-in.
After a tough fade-away look for McCabe as the shot clock was winding down, Huggins again would call a timeout and again the Mountaineers executed, this time on a jump-shot from Lamont West from just inside the top of the key.
West put the game away on the following possession after getting fouled on a three and made all three free throws to put the Mountaineers up 17 with a little over three minutes to go in the game.
Derek Culver put a ribbon on the game with a nice spin move towards the baseline on the left side and laid it in as the Mountaineers hold off Iowa State.
This game was a complete turnaround from the 25-point loss in late January at the Hilton Coliseum. There’s no question that the dismissals of Esa Ahmad and Wes Harris has rallied this team.
“We’re a different team.” Said Huggins. “We’re playing guys now that we didn’t play before. We’re a totally different team. We play a bunch of young guys that like each other and play well together and want to win.”
The Mountaineers out-rebounded the Cyclones 44-34 and that always been trademark of West Virginia’s success.
“Honestly, in all the years I’ve been doing it, I think that has been the key.” Stated Huggins. “It’s about getting more possessions. I think the turnovers were even, so we got 10 more possessions. That’s what you try to do. That’s what we try to do with the press is just get more possessions.”
West Virginia looks to get their first true road win in the season finale at Oklahoma State this Saturday at 4:00 pm est.