The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 9, 2012

West Virginia hands Hokies 1st loss

Staten hits game-winner in Mountaineers’ 68-67 victory

MORGANTOWN — After leading most of the afternoon, West Virginia couldn’t let its upset bid over an undefeated rival come up short on a banked 3-pointer.

So after Virginia Tech’s Robert Brown got help from the glass to give the Hokies (7-1) a 67-66 lead with 18 seconds to play Saturday at the WVU Coliseum, Mountaineer sophomore guard Juwan Staten decided he was going to score — no matter what.

The Dayton transfer took the ball out of the timeout and drove into a lane that cleared faster than a playground after recess. Staten rose to the rim and layed the ball off the glass for his sixth point, and only field goal, of the game to put the Mountaineers (4-3) in front 68-67 with five ticks on the clock.

He then got a hand in the face of Virginia Tech’s Erick Green on a jumper as time expired. The final prayer clanged off the rim, and a sellout crowd of 11,631 celebrated WVU’s biggest win of the season, while first-year Hokies coach James Johnson saw his honeymoon end with his first loss.

“I saw my man turn his head and look for the screen, and that put me in a 2-on-1 with Eron in the corner and Green guarding him,” said Staten of the game-winning sequence. “(Green) had to make a decision, and the paint came open. I just took it in and scored.”

The WVU point guard, though, would have never had a chance to be the hero if not for the efforts of sophomore forward Kevin Noreen. The 6-foot-10 Minnesota native came off the bench to play the game of his career, scoring 14 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking two shots. Against a sagging Virginia Tech defense, more than willing to give the Mountaineer big-man the outside look, Noreen nailed down 2 of 3 attempts from 3-point land. That forced Tech to extend its defense, opening up the paint for the Mountaineers’ slashing guards late in the game.

“It was just one of those days,” said Noreen, who had scored just eight points all year coming into Saturday’s game. “I don’t want to be a liability out there. If they’re not going to guard me out there, I have to knock it down. If they give it to me, I’m going to take it.”

WVU held the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top scoring offense to just 24 points in the opening half, but the Hokies made a game of it, erasing a 12-point first-half Mountaineer lead to have a chance down the stretch.

After shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes, Tech made nearly 50 percent of its attempts in the second half as the ACC’s leading scorer, Green, began to heat up. The senior guard finished with 23 points and 10 assists, and he helped the Hokies to a lead as large as five points, 46-41, midway through the second half.

“We have got to be more consistent,” said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. “I thought, defensively, we did a pretty good job in the first half, and we were just awful at the beginning of the second half.”

The difference in the final outcome for WVU, aside from the 10 3-pointers it knocked home — freshman guard Eron Harris was also an unlikely contributer with a pair of 3-balls and 10 points — was the rebounding differential. WVU won the battle of the boards 49-38, and its 23 offensive rebounds led to 10 second-chance points.

“That was the game plan,” said Johnson of leaving WVU’s big men open on the perimeter. “We weren’t going to let them drive to the basket. They got 23 offensive rebounds anyway, so we weren’t going to let them post up on us. Those guys shot the ball with confidence and made shots they haven’t been making all year.”

The Hokies, coming off wins against Iowa and No. 15 Oklahoma State in back-to-back games, had won the last two in the series with WVU, but the teams hadn’t played since 2004.

The Mountaineers took a 47-29 advantage in the all-time series between the two former Southern Conference and Big East rivals. The Mountaineers and Hokies are scheduled to meet again next year in Blacksburg.

Up next for WVU, which has now won three straight, is a trip to face Duquesne on Tuesday, before traveling to New York City to meet up with No. 3 Michigan, led by former Mountaineer coach John Beilein, Saturday.

The Hokies will return to action Monday night at home against Mississippi Valley State.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

Text Only
College Sports
  • Miners stop Lorain County 5-1

    The West Virginia Miners received a strong outing from starting pitcher Patrick LaGanke, and scored one run in each of the final five innings to defeat the Lorain County Ironmen 5-1 Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Some topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers

    July 25, 2014

  • 072514 WVU Replacing Sims a challenge for WVU

    Every year, almost every college football preview publication available lists one key statistic that most use to evaluate the prospects for any given football team — returning starters.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU's Fleming signs with Yankees

    Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVU to kickoff 2018 season against Tennessee in Charlotte

    The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) announced Tuesday morning that it has secured a regular season college football game for the city of Charlotte pitting the University of Tennessee against West Virginia University.

    July 22, 2014

  • Can summit of bigwigs really solve college athletics issues?

    I see where the Big 12 Conference is going to host in New York City what will be titled “A State of College Athletics Forum.”

    July 22, 2014

Saints Training Camp