For the first time in more than a month, the West Virginia men’s basketball team emerged victorious on their home court.
Taking on the visiting Iowa State Cyclones on Wednesday night, the Mountaineers picked up their second win in three games, winning by a final score of 90-75.
“We feel good. We beat a good team,” junior forward Lamont West said. “We just went out there and I feel like we did what we had to do. We played together and I feel like we’re getting better as a team.”
West Virginia (12-18, 4-13 Big 12) was able to catch fire early and set the tone for the rest of the game.
While both teams spent the beginning of the game trading the lead back-and-forth, the Mountaineers were able to create distance from the Cyclones. After going on a 12-0 run to secure a 10-point lead, West Virginia forced an Iowa State timeout with 8:21 remaining in the first half.
The strong start was aided by junior guard Jermaine Haley, who finished the first half with 20 points, en route to hanging 28 total points on Iowa State.
Going into halftime, the Mountaineers held a 21-point advantage over the Cyclones.
Iowa State (20-10, 9-8 Big 12) started to trim the lead in the early stages of the second half but, ultimately, could not close the gap enough. What was at one point a 21-point lead for WVU, Iowa State was only able to trim the score down to a 10-point deficit.
Sophomore guard Lindell Wigginton was a strong proponent of closing the WVU scoring advantage as he picked up a team high 17 points in his 36 minutes of playing time.
Despite the team’s efforts, the Cyclones struggled to create opportunities in the second half as the Mountaineers had a slight edge in rebounding and in turnovers. West Virginia ended the night with 10 more rebounds than Iowa State and an even amount of turnovers.
The Cyclones were unable to find a way out of the hole they found themselves in as West Virginia was on top after the final buzzer.
“[I] feel great after wins — feel really good after wins,” freshman guard Jordan McCabe said. “It’s a heck of a lot different feeling after a win than a loss.”
West Virginia: The Mountaineers still remain towards the bottom of the Big 12 but the win provides them with some momentum going in to their final regular season matchup.
Iowa State: A loss to WVU allows Texas, who is directly behind the Cyclones, to close the gap in the Big 12 standings.
MOUNTAINEER YOUNGSTERS PLAYING A ROLE
Three freshmen were in Bob Huggins’ starting lineup on Wednesday night: McCabe, forward Derek Culver and forward Emmitt Matthews Jr.
McCabe ended the night with 18 points, going a near-perfect five-for-six from the three-point line.
Culver picked up a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds — his eighth this season.
Matthews Jr hauled in six rebounds while also putting forth seven points.
“We’re a different team. We’re playing guys now we didn’t play before,” Huggins said. “We’re a totally different team. We’re playing a bunch of young guys that like each other, play well together and want to win.”
West Virginia travels to Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Cowboys emerged victorious, 85-77, when the two teams met in Morgantown on Jan. 12.