Niang’s layup hands West Virginia second-straight Big 12 loss
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 00:01
For the first time since 2002, the West Virginia men’s basketball team does not have a winning record through its first 16 games.
The Mountaineers’ unexpected second-half comeback fell short as WVU (8-8, 1-3) lost on the road to Iowa State (12-4, 2-1) 69-67 Wednesday night in front of 13,140 in Ames, Iowa.
"Let’s be honest – we’re a call or two away from being 3-1 in the league, instead of 1-3," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins on his postgame radio show. "We just continue to shoot ourselves in the foot by not making rotations … But I’m proud of our guys."
West Virginia trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half and missed its first 12 3-point attempts, before storming back to tie the game with 12 seconds remaining after making nine of its final 12 3-point attempts.
Iowa State’s Georges Niang made a layup with three seconds remaining, and the Mountaineers were unable to get a shot before time expired.
West Virginia sophomore guard Jabarie Hinds led the Mountaineers with 20 points on 8-of-22 shooting, while freshman guard Eron Harris chipped in 17 points.
The Mountaineers were able to jump out to an 11-3 lead early in the game, but poor shooting and defensive lapses in which they were beaten backdoor by the Cyclones led to the sudden turnaround.
Iowa State led by three at the half and opened the second half on an 18-4 run.
Huggins’ team was able to rally back with an 11-0 run. Senior guard Matt Humphrey, who made his first appearance since the Radford game Dec. 22 provided the Mountaineers with quality minutes off the bench while draining 3-pointers.
With Humphrey on the floor, West Virginia used a four-guard look to penetrate and kick to generate open looks. A formula that not only put the Mountaineers in a position to win, but also one Huggins will be forced to use in future games.
"The truth of the matter is the team was built to play in the Big East (Conference)," Huggins said. "This is not a big, physical league. Everyone is playing smaller and quicker guys … We’re going to switch everything. We’re going to play one big and switch everything."
West Virginia and Iowa State both shot 41 percent from the field. Melvin Ejim paced four Cyclones in double figures with 16 points.
The Mountaineers have now lost two-straight Big 12 Conference games and three of their last four. Huggins said he feels his team will learn from games like this, but as far as moral victories go, "We’re long past that now," he said.