Driven West Virginia streaks to 85-70 triumph over undermanned Iowa State

Coach Bob Huggins and West Virginia were intent on gaining revenge Saturday against old rival Iowa  State.

It helped that the undermanned Cyclones were down to a seven-man rotation. The No. 21 Mountaineers took advantage of the limited numbers in a 85-70 triumph at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.

It provided a modicum of payback after Iowa State’s 16-point victory in Ames on Jan. 31 that was their largest conference loss of the season.

West Virginia improves to 21-8 and 10-6 in Big 12 play with the triumph. Iowa State falls to 13-15, 4-12.

3 Who Mattered

  • Esa Ahmad: Another strong effort for Ahmad, who notched 18 points and 11 rebounds. It was his second career double-double.
  • Sagaba Konate: It was a dominant all-around performance inside for Konate, who produced 14 points,  9 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. It marked his sixth game this season where Konate notched at least 6 blocks.
  • Jevon Carter: The Mountaineers’ senior point guard filled the stat sheet with 21 points, 7  rebounds and 2 assists. In the process, he made history as the first player at a Power 5 school to produce 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals in a career. He also became only fifth player in college basketball history to achieve that feat.

Turning Point

West Virginia took advantage of Iowa State’s weakened condition to erupt on an 11-2 run in the final  4:35 of the first half. It sparked them to a 39-30 halftime lead.

It was part of an overall 24-6 Mountaineer run where their defense was on display. Iowa State missed 15 of 16 shots during a  10-minute stretch midway in the game enabling the Mountaineers to blow the game open.

3 observations

  • Iowa State played like a tired team, understandable because they were playing with a 7-man rotation because of injuries and the death of second-leading scorer Donovan Jackson’s father.  The attrition wore on the Cyclones, who missed their final six shots and were held scoreless over the final 4:35 of the first half.
  • Konate completely outplayed Cameron Lard throughout the game. Lard was limited to 8 points and didn’t get his first shot until the first minute of the second half.
  • West Virginia sixth man James “Beetle” Bolden made a mental mistake early in the game when he committed a foul on an Iowa State fast break attempt. It earned him a quick seat in Huggins’ doghouse for the rest of the first half. Bolden didn’t resurface until more than 5 minutes expired in the second half.

The number

West Virginia came up with a strong defensive effort, limiting the Cyclones to 42.9 percent from the field. It was a marked contrast from the first game, where Iowa State shot a season-best 62.1 percent from the field. Since then, no opponent has shot better than 47 percent from the field against the Cyclones.

What’s next for West Virginia basketball

The Mountaineers return to action for a Big Monday showdown against Texas Tech at the WVU Coliseum. Tip-off will be at 9 p.m. ET. It will be shown on ESPN2.

West Virginia will be aiming for revenge after a 72-71 loss to the Red Raiders on Jan. 13. It was the loss that snapped the Mountaineers’ 15-game winning streak that pushed them to No. 2 in the nation.

West Virginia coughed up a 11-point lead in the final 13 minutes in the earlier loss this season. Texas Tech shot 58.3 percent in the second half to spur the comeback, sparked by 20 points by Keenan Evans.

Carter led West Virginia with a game-high 28  points in the earlier game.

The post Driven West Virginia streaks to 85-70 triumph over undermanned Iowa State appeared first on Diehards.

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