After starting slow and looking like a repeat of the Florida game was in the works, #14 West Virginia (18-4, 7-2) overcame the odds and a fifteen point deficit on Tuesday night to beat #13 Iowa State (16-6, 5-4) in Ames by a score of 81-76.
The Mountaineers dug themselves a huge hole early, trailing 25-10 twelve minutes in. An 18-5 run capped off by two Jaysean Paige layups, though, put them right back in it and cut the lead to 30-28. The Cyclones took a 37-33 lead into the break, but the foul prone Mountaineers committed only 7 fouls in the first half.
With Iowa State leading 45-42 early in the second half, Devin Williams found Esa Ahmad on the baseline for a thunderous slam:
Immediately following that dunk, Tarik Phillip stole the inbound which led to a Daxter Miles tip-in to give West Virginia their first lead of the game at 46-45.
After only committing 7 fouls in the first half, West Virginia had Iowa State in the bonus by the 12:00 mark in the second half. The Cyclones failed to take advantage of their opportunities at the line, making only three of their first ten to start the half.
The game was back-and-forth the entire half. Iowa State grabbed a five point lead at 70-65 after a Monte Morris layup with 3:21 to go, but Nathan Adrian countered with a three on the next possession to pull West Virginia back within two.
With the game tied at 72 with under two minutes to go, Monte Morris found Abdel Nader in transition for a layup to put Iowa State up two. Again, though, the Mountaineers countered with a three. This time it was from Jaysean Paige, and West Virginia took a 75-74 lead.
After two Devin Williams free throws, Georges Niang missed on a drive to the basket, and Iowa State was forced to foul Tarik Phillip. Phillip missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Devin Williams tipped the rebound to Phillip who was fouled again.This time, he sank both free throws. Iowa State missed another attempt at the rim, and Devin Williams grabbed the rebound to close out the game.
Williams was a monster in this game, scoring 17 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. For a large portion of the game, Williams had as many rebounds as the entire Iowa State TEAM. Williams also went 7-7 from the line, including several at the end to seal the win. Jaysean Paige had another dominant offensive performance, scoring 23 off the bench on 10-17 shooting. Daxter Miles added 11.
Teyvon Myers played really well off the bench. He scored 5 points on 2-2 shooting and got significant minutes in the second half. This was also probably Esa Ahmad's best game as a Mountaineer to date. He finished with 9.
Iowa State was led by Georges Niang with 20. Abdel Nader added 19. You can view the full boxscore here.
West Virginia shot 48% overall and an impressive 77% from the line. Iowa State made only 11 of their 19 free throws.
The Mountaineers dominated the boards, outrebounding Iowa State 43-26.
Up next for the Mountaineers is a home contest against Baylor on Saturday. West Virginia is an abysmal 1-7 all-time against the Bears and have lost their last four. Baylor also eliminated West Virginia in last year's Big 12 tournament. The game tips at 8:00 PM and will be televised on ESPN2 and streamed on WatchESPN.