|Juwan Staten scored 20 in the last meeting against Oklahoma State 13 days ago in Morgantown on Jan. 11.
|Dale Sparks/All-Pro Photography photo
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia players have a little more bounce in their step following Wednesday night’s 87-81 victory over Texas Tech at the WVU Coliseum.
Now, the Mountaineers (11-8, 3-3) will try and parlay that good Mo Jo into a little more bounce when they travel to Stillwater, Okla. to face 11th-ranked Oklahoma State Saturday afternoon in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
“We’ve struggled shooting the ball, really, for three games and I think with our guys making shots you guard a little better and you play with some more enthusiasm,” noted West Virginia coach Bob Huggins following Wednesday night’s victory that snapped a season long three-game losing streak.
WVU got a career-high 28 points from Terry Henderson
and 10 key points off the bench from freshman forward Nathan Adrian
against the Red Raiders on Wednesday night.
“Hopefully with Nate making some shots he’ll continue to do that. When he makes shots that spreads the floor and enables Juwan Staten
to penetrate and get the ball to the rim,” said Huggins. “Hopefully a lot of good things came out of it.”
Henderson was 10-of-13 from the floor, including 5-of-6 from 3, to snap an 8-for-25 shooting performance over his prior two games against Texas and Kansas State. Henderson’s 28 against Texas Tech boosted his season average to 12.5 points per game.
Staten had another outstanding all-around performance against Tech, scoring 16, handing out seven assists and pulling down five rebounds in 40 minutes of work. Staten shows averages of 17.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game and is making a strong case for all-Big 12 consideration.
Sophomore guard Eron Harris
contributed 15 points in Wednesday night’s win and remains the team leader in scoring with an average of 17.4 points per game.
Thirteen days ago against the Cowboys in Morgantown, Staten had 20 points and eight assists and in West Virginia’s near-defeat. Freshman forward Devin Williams
added 12 points and 13 rebounds, but it was Markel Brown’s 3-point field goal with 11.9 seconds left that did in the Mountaineers, 73-72. Brown finished the game with 12 points - 10 behind team leader Marcus Smart’s 22.
It was Smart who alertly knocked the ball away from Williams on his stick-back attempt of Staten’s miss in the waning seconds that preserved the victory for Oklahoma State.
“Marcus Smart, to me, may have made the play of the year,” noted Huggins. “From where he came from to break up the rebound attempt from Devin Williams
… that’s a player. That’s a guy who continues to play.”
Smart is one of the top players in the country and comes into Saturday’s game with averages of 17.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Brown is averaging 16.6 points and 5.1 boards per contest while 6-foot-7 forward Le’Bryan Nash is contributing 13.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per outing. Nash scored 18 in the win at West Virginia back on Jan. 11.
Since defeating West Virginia, the Cowboys (15-3, 3-2) won at home against TCU, 82-50, and most recently lost by two at Kansas, 80-78, on. Jan. 18.
Oklahoma State has had a week to rest before facing the Mountaineers.
“We’re going to try and fix some things,” said Huggins. “I thought we had some success with the zone and we’re going to try and fix some things in the zone to try and stop some things that hurt us the last time we played.”
Following Saturday’s game, West Virginia will travel on to Waco, Texas to face Baylor on Tuesday night.
Tipoff for Saturday’s Oklahoma State game is set for 2 p.m.