’s reverse layup with three seconds left lifted West Virginia to a 66-64 victory over Baylor Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
Staten’s basket came after he missed three critical free throws inside of two minutes remaining when the Mountaineers were protecting their lead. Two huge Staten misses with 49 seconds left kept it a one-point game, 64-63, and Baylor eventually tied it with 36 seconds to go when Rico Gathers knocked down the second of two from the line.
Staten then dribbled the ball out at midcourt before finally making his move to the basket with seven seconds left.
“Juanny makes a heck of a play after going 1 for 6 from the foul line,” said West Virginia coach Huggins. “He’s really the guy that you want with the ball there. I know it would have crushed him had we not won.”
After Staten’s score, Baylor (13-7, 1-6) called a pair of timeouts in an attempt to get the right play called. When the game eventually resumed, the Bears got the ball into the hands of guard Kenny Chery, whose 3-point prayer from the wing actually banked in, but replay confirmed that the ball had not left his hand when time had expired.
“That just happens to us, a guy banks in a shot, and they almost won,” said Huggins.
In a game both teams desperately needed, West Virginia (12-9, 4-4) ended up on the plus side of the scoreboard despite being badly out-rebounded (37-27) and out-shot (45.5 percent to 40.0 percent). But the Mountaineers made up for it by getting off 16 more shot attempts than the Bears, converting 24 to Baylor’s 20.
“For us we didn’t shoot it very well,” said Huggins. “I was watching what was going on the floor, but of course (assistant to the head coach) Billy (Hahn), who hasn’t missed a call in the seven years that we’ve been together, said ‘it’s no good, don’t worry about it.’”
WVU led for the majority of the game, including an eight-point margin with 4:55 remaining after a pair of Harris free throws, but a scoreless spell that also included Staten’s missed free throws almost enabled Baylor to come back.
“That’s the most upset I’ve been at halftime all year,” said Huggins. “We had opportunities and we just wouldn’t grind. We’d stand there and let them rebound the ball at the foul line and we got tired and just stood behind the guy and fouled him.”
Staten led everyone with 15 points and nine assists while Remi Dibo came off the bench to score 13, including hitting 3 of 7 from 3. Harris contributed 12 and Terry Henderson
Brady Heslip was Baylor’s top point producer with 13.
Baylor, which showed early season wins over Colorado, South Carolina and Kentucky, has now dropped five in a row and has dropped to ninth place in the league standings.
“Hopefully this helps us because that’s a very talented basketball that that we beat tonight,” said Huggins.
West Virginia, once again back at .500 in league play, is in sixth place in the conference standings and will face Kansas State, the team immediately ahead of it in the standings, on Saturday at the Coliseum.
Earlier this year the Wildcats blew out the Mountaineers 78-56 in Manhattan.
Saturday’s game will tip off at 1:30 p.m. and will be televised on the Big 12 Network. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by logging onto WVUGAME.com.