The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

February 4, 2014

West Virginia win is very timely

Mountaineers to host Oklahoma Wednesday night

MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia University men’s basketball team couldn’t have picked a better time for its biggest bounce-back of this season.

That hard-fought 81-71 triumph against Kansas State before a crowd of 10,121 fans at the WVU Coliseum — thanks mostly to Juwan Staten’s 35-point outmost — avenged the Mountaineers’ worst defeat of the year.

And that had come at the hands of those same K- State Wildcats on Jan. 18 by 78-56 in Manhattan, Kan.

So, counting the 66-64 win at Baylor on Jan. 28, that victory puts West Virginia in position for what could be only its second set of three consective wins in conference play since joining the Big 12 in 2012.

The first such successive stint came a year ago against Texas Tech, Texas and TCU on Feb. 2,4 and 9, respectively, in 2013.

WVU’s opportunity now for a third straight win comes up Wednesday when Oklahoma (17-5, 6-3 Big 12) visits the Coliseum. Tip-off time is 7 p.m.

The Sooners are nationally ranked and a large crowd is expected.

Staten, who scored 23 of his career-high 35 points in the decisive second half, was phenomenal at the foul line.

He cashed an unusually high 18 of 21 free throws. His 18 conversions tied the all-time school record set by Rod Thorn against George Washington in 1963.

That number by Staten of 18 made the most damaging difference in the contest’s outcome. In all, the Mountaineers (13-9, 5-4 Big 12) made 29 of 37 foul shots (78.4 percent).

Kansas State made only 8 of 19 for an unusually low number of free throws in both attempts and conversions (42.1 percentage).

Rebounding was comparatively very close. WVU had 33 to 36 by the Wildcats, who now are 15-7 overall and 5-4 in the conference.

Staten, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound guard, is a junior who transferred from Dayton in June 2011. He has been an outstanding point guard in his second season as a leader for WVU.

But he obviously reached a peak pitch in production in what probably is the most significant and most timely win since the school joined the Big 12.

Just how this young team fares the remainder of 2013-14 could determine its chances of a postseason bid.

Besides topping all scores by far, Staten was 8-of-13 sharp from the field, pulled down four rebounds, dished out four assists, made only two turnovers and he played 38 of the 40 minutes.

“I just wanted to win,” Staten said after the game. “It felt great!

“It was a packed house. Last year we had so many games where people were leaving at halftime.

“They were here and cheering for us today.

It gave us a lot of motivation.”

WVU coach Bob Huggins obviously was happy.

He said afterward, “You have to win games like this sometimes. You’ve got to win some when some people don’t play their best and someone else has to step up.

“Obviously, Juwan Staten did that.”

For his previous 21 games this season, Staten averaged 17.2 points per contest. He made 52.2 percent of his shots from the field and 101 of 144 free throws (70.1 percent).

Text Only
College Sports
  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like and stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014

  • Paul Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Hiring an interim while waiting on D’Antoni would be an injustice

    The search for Marshall’s new men’s basketball coach remained in a holding pattern over the Easter weekend while the Los Angeles Lakers put off their decision on coach Mike D’Antoni’s future until this week.

    April 21, 2014

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Turnbull’s tenure dominates WVU wrestling history

    Did Oliver Luck really do a thorough job in deeply evaluating Craig Turnbull’s 36-year career as wrestling coach before firing him?

    April 17, 2014

  • WVU’s top football prospects working out for NFL teams

    As we draw ever closer to the NFL Draft, the prospect workouts for teams are picking up steam for former Mountaineers. Both running back Charles Sims and defensive end Will Clarke have a busy road ahead.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 millard Kickoff time set for WVU-Alabama

    West Virginia football fans can now start counting down to the exact minute, instead of just the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo