The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 11, 2014

WVU blows out Cyclones

Mountaineers hand No. 11 Iowa State worst loss of the season

MORGANTOWN — It was tough to tell what Remi Dibo enjoyed more: being the centerpiece of West Virginia’s 3-point show against No. 11 Iowa State, or clamping down on Big 12 scoring leader Melvin Ejim.

Dibo scored a career-high 20 points to lead the Mountaineers to a 102-77 victory Monday night, the Cyclones’ most lopsided loss of the season.

Dibo went 6 of 8 from beyond the arc as West Virginia tied a season high with 13 3-pointers.

A native of France who finished his high school career in southern West Virginia and played last season at Wyoming’s Casper College, the 6-foot-7 Dibo made his fourth straight start and fifth overall.

“I think my teammates did a great job of finding me,” Dibo said. “I think it’s been a while. They’ve been doing a good job finding me and I was not responding. But I did today.”

Juwan Staten added 19 points and Eron Harris and Terry Henderson each had 16 points for the Mountaineers (15-10, 7-5 Big 12).

Iowa State (18-5, 6-5) had five players in double figures, led by Georges Niang’s 17 points. But Ejim, coming off a Big 12-record 48 points and a career-high 18 rebounds against TCU, was guarded by Dibo and held to six points — 12 below his average — on 1-of-9 shooting.

“We just knew we couldn’t let him score 40 points on us,” Dibo said. “We had to make an effort on him.”

The Cyclones fell behind by double digits midway through the first half and trailed by as many as 32 points late in the game.

It was the most lopsided loss for Iowa State since a 23-point setback at Texas in January 2011.

“It was pretty much, start to finish, just a poor effort on our end,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.

West Virginia shot 54 percent (35 of 65) from the field, hit a season-high for points and improved to 2-1 amid a stretch of four straight games against ranked opponents heading into a matchup Saturday at No. 19 Texas.

Iowa State’s outside scoring was virtually nonexistent until it was too late. The Cyclones were held to 37 percent shooting (26 of 71) in losing their fourth road conference game.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins called it “by far the best” defensive effort from his team this season.

Dustin Hogue added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Cyclones while Deandre Kane had 14 points, Matt Thomas 13 and Monte Morris 10.

Kane, a Pittsburgh native, had more than 50 relatives and friends in attendance. He went 1-2 against the Mountaineers while he played at instate rival Marshall and was booed and taunted whenever he touched the ball.

“Tonight we just didn’t have it,” Hoiberg said. “I don’t know what it was. This group has been very focused and given everything all year.”

West Virginia’s lack of bench scoring had stood out in a double-digit loss to No. 7 Kansas on Saturday. On Monday, the Mountaineers’ reserves outscored Iowa State’s 27-15.

“We had pretty much the same shots against Kansas, but we didn’t make them,” Huggins said. “Today, we made them.”

Trailing 52-33 at halftime, Iowa State put together its best stretch and closed the gap to 58-44 5 minutes into the second half before West Virginia again pulled away.

The Cyclones went 4 minutes between field goals after that, and West Virginia got a big boost from its bench to keep the pressure on. Freshman Nathan Adrian made two baskets and two free throws, and Kevin Noreen doubled his season scoring average with a layup and two free throws.

Dibo’s 3-pointer with 6:53 left gave the Mountaineers their largest lead, 86-54.

“We just stuck to the game plan,” Dibo said. “We couldn’t let them make a run to come back. We knew from the past every time we had a lead, we had let teams come back, and we knew we couldn’t let that happen.”

The only drama for West Virginia came when Harris was ejected for a flagrant foul with 4:25 left.

After the game, West Virginia’s players went into the student section to celebrate.

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