For the second time this season, the West Virginia Mountaineers (12-5, 5-3 Big 12) found themselves in a dogfight against the struggling Iowa State Cyclones (2-10, 0-7 Big 12) on Tuesday evening.
West Virginia opened up an early 10-2 lead in the opening three minutes before the Cyclones raced back, knotting the game up at 10-10 at the first media timeout. Iowa State continued building their lead in the following minutes, going up 24-17 with 12:03 left in the first half.
The Mountaineers caught a spark with just under nine minutes remaining, putting together a 16-2 run and opening a 36-26 lead heading into final media timeout of the half. A couple made baskets from Iowa State’s Rasir Bolton would narrow the lead to six points, before Taz Sherman knocked down a couple shots of his own to put West Virginia up 42-31 at the half.
West Virginia kept control of the game through the first 10 minutes of the second half, taking a 63-48 lead with a made three from Sherman, but Iowa State refused to go away.
A trio of threes from Tyler Harris allowed the Cyclones to close the lead to six points with 5:29 remaining, as the Mountaineers struggled to make a shot from the field. Harris would strike again on a wide-open corner three moments later, and Solomon Young followed that up with a layup to put Iowa State within one.
Despite going nearly six minutes without a made field goal, the Mountaineers were able to hold off the Cyclones thanks to Sherman going 5-of-5 from the free throw line in the closing two minutes, escaping with the 76-72 win and completing the season sweep.
Sherman led all scorers with 18 points. Derek Culver recorded another double-double, going for 13 points, 12 rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Sean McNeil and Emmitt Matthews Jr. both finished with 13 points of their own, and Miles McBride ended the night with nine points, eight rebounds.
West Virginia returns to action on Saturday at 2:00PM ET, when they’ll host the No. 23 Kansas Jayhawks at home in front of an anticipated 1,500 fans. That game will be broadcast on CBS.