In the non-conference part of the WVU schedule, there were a couple of close games that saw the Mountaineers have a lead, trail and then find a way to claw back and win. During those times most fans thought this team had it figured out. They found a drive and a confidence to win. They had some moxie and some swagger.
Since they last faced Iowa State on February 5, the Mountaineers have had put together a streak where they successfully lost six out of seven games and looked really bad doing it.
In the first half on Tuesday, the Mountaineers looked to have found their missing drive and energy. The hustle and swagger seemed to be back.
It was senior night for Iowa State which is always emotionally daunting. The Mountaineers were able to deflect the energy from the crowd and play the Cyclones even though 15 points without much separation.
With 9:09 to go in the first half a Mile McBride dunk helped spark a 12-2 run by WVU that would include eight points by Taz Sherman.
The Mountaineers would extend their lead 44-31 going into the half.
In the second half the greatest fears of everyone connected to the flying WV were realized. All of the swagger, all of the moxie seemed to be left in the locker room.
Iowa State started the second stanza on an 11 point run. West Virginia wouldn’t score for the first 5:44 of the second half when Taz Sherman made a pair of free throws to make the score 45-42.
Iowa State would go up by as many as four points before we saw some of the early season battle mentality return for the Mountaineers. West Virginia fought their way back into the game and eventually would go up as many as 10 points.
Despite a late run by the Cyclones, West Virginia would hold on to win, 77-71.
Stats That Matter
West Virginia shot 44% from the field and a whopping 78% from the free throw line.
The Mountaineers out-rebounded Iowa State 38-30 overall and 15-9 on the offensive glass.
Taz Sherman did his best Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson impression (google it) scoring 12 points off the bench.
West Virginia returns to action at the Coliseum Saturday against Baylor.