102-77. The score says it all. Normally, I try to give a lot of play-by-plays in my recaps for those who may have missed the game. This is one of those games that all I would have done is share every single possession, because it was an awesome game from the start. When your team leads the #11 team in the country by 19 at halftime, and 30 for most of the second, you tend to revel in a potential win more than analyze each play.
For anyone who missed this game, you have my sympathies. The first half of this game served as a reminder to WVU fans everywhere what many have been saying all year: This team is young, but will be better in the second half of the season and next year. The Mountaineers were determined to show everyone what they were capable of and opened with 52 first half points. Even more impressive was they were able to contain Iowa State to 33 during the same time frame. The fun didn't stop there as WVU went on to route the Cyclones while Juwan Staten cemented himself in the conversation for Big 12 player of the year.
Prior to the third meeting between the Mountaineers and Cyclones, the game was billed as Battle of the Point Guards. By the end of the night, only one name would be remembered. Juwan Staten and DeAndre Kane are the only PGs in country with 15-5-5 average. However, the Mountaineer faithful got into Kane's head early and often, rendering him largely ineffective. The reason? Kane hails from sPittsburgh and played for Marshall, a double whammy sure to draw the ire of WVU fans everywhere. After Kane's parents, relatives and friends who made the trip to Morgantown decided to boo the WVU dance team, I'm hoping they have a cold ride home to sPittsburgh.
Iowa State Forward Melvin Ejim was also expected to have a big night after scoring 48 in his last outing. In the first half, WVU held him to 4. That's right, 4 points. Mid-way through the second half, he had 6, where he would finish the game. It cannot be overstated how drastically improved WVU's defense looked Monday night. It was impressive. They forced turnover after turnover and rebounded well all night. WVU, for the vast majority of the game, played smart, physical defense (a sentence no one has been able to write this season). Even more surprising was that the refs let both teams play more than most Mountaineer fans are accustomed to seeing this year.
The end of the game could serve as a little added fuel to future RiotBalls after Dustin Hogue pulled his best Cobra Kai impression, kicking Kevin Noreen in the chest while "jumping" for a rebound. Shortly thereafter, Eron Harris annihilated the next Iowa State player to attempt a shot. Hogue was charged with a Flagrant 1, while Harris was ejected (and rightly so) for a Flagrant 2. I'm of the opinion that Hogue's play was just as deserving of a Flagrant 2 as Harris', but the refs must watch a little too much MMA to consider a kick to the chest in a basketball game an attempt to injure.
There are so many things I can say about this game, but the end result speaks for itself. It was a total team effort. For a large part of the second half, WVU was up by 30. We simply couldn't do anything wrong. Nathan Adrian looked like a man possessed, snagging rebounds, blocking shots, collecting a steal and taking it down the court for a layup. Kevin Noreen ended with more points than fouls for probably the first time ever. Remi Dibo continued to hit 3 after 3. Juwan Staten was Juwan Staten. Henderson played a lights out game. Gary Browne filled his role Everyone contributed.
Instead of continuing to gush over every player on our team, I'm just going to post the stats and go soak in this huge win. Folks, if any of you had doubts about this team and if we could play with good teams down the stretch, tonight should serve to dispel those negative thoughts. For all the close losses this season, this more than makes up for it.
102 points. Enough said.
|Iowa State Cyclones|
|Melvin Ejim, F||1-9||0-4||4-4||3||9||12||1||1||1||1||1||6|
|Dustin Hogue, F||6-10||0-1||3-5||6||4||10||1||0||0||0||4||15|
|Georges Niang, G||6-12||2-4||3-3||1||2||3||2||0||0||6||5||17|
|Monte Morris, G||3-12||0-3||4-7||4||2||6||6||3||0||0||1||10|
|DeAndre Kane, G||6-15||0-3||2-6||3||3||6||2||0||0||5||2||14|
|Percy Gibson, C||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Daniel Edozie, F||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Matt Thomas, G||4-6||2-4||3-3||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||3||13|
|Naz Long, G||0-3||0-3||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Sherron Dorsey-Walker, G||0-3||0-1||2-2||1||1||2||1||0||0||1||3||2|
|West Virginia Mountaineers|
|Devin Williams, F||2-4||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||2||2||4|
|Remi Dibo, F||7-10||6-8||0-0||0||4||4||1||0||1||1||5||20|
|Juwan Staten, G||7-15||0-0||5-7||1||6||7||9||0||0||1||0||19|
|Eron Harris, G||6-12||2-5||2-2||0||1||1||3||2||0||0||2||16|
|Terry Henderson, G||5-11||4-7||2-2||1||2||3||4||2||1||1||1||16|
|Kevin Noreen, F||2-2||0-0||4-4||1||2||3||0||1||0||1||3||8|
|Nathan Adrian, F||3-4||1-2||2-2||2||2||4||0||3||1||0||5||9|
|Brandon Watkins, F||0-1||0-0||0-0||1||4||5||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|Chase Connor, G||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tyrone Hughes, G||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||2|
|Gary Browne, G||2-5||0-0||4-4||1||2||3||0||1||0||0||1||8|
|Richard Romeo, G||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
WVU takes on Texas Saturday 2/15 at the Longhorns' house.
Here's to hoping the momentum from this game carries over until then.