MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Juwan Staten
scored a career-high 35 points and matched a 51-year school record with his 18 made free throws in West Virginia’s 81-71 victory over Kansas State Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum.
“Staten is hard to guard,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “What do you say? But he’s worked and worked at his game.”
He finished the game 18 of 21 from the line, matching guard All-America guard Rod Thorn’s 18 free throws converted against George Washington at old Uline Arena in Washington, D.C. back on Jan. 12, 1963.
This afternoon, Staten was virtually unstoppable no matter who Kansas State coach Bruce Weber put on him. Staten made 8-of-13 from the floor and also banged in a 3 – just his fifth of the season – in one of the best scoring performances of the year by a Big 12 player.
The game’s biggest 3, however, came from forward Remi Dibo with 2:09 left and the Mountaineers leading by just one, 68-67. West Virginia had watched its eight-point lead nearly vanish during a three-minute stretch when Dibo knocked down a wide-open triple from the wing.
“Remi hit a big, big shot for us and it was because they were trying to protect Gipson from Devin driving the ball at him and Devin (Williams) made a nice decision to kick it out to him.”
added two free throws, and two more free throws by Staten pushed the lead back out to seven. Staten later iced the game with a breakaway dunk with 24 seconds remaining.
“We got what we wanted, I think,” said Huggins. “They are so help conscious and they do such a great job with help defense and we have a tendency when we run offense to creep in and creep in, and we went back to just trying to spread them.”
For the second consecutive game, West Virginia won despite being out-shot and out-rebounded by its opponent. Today, the Wildcats made 50.8 percent of their field goal attempts to West Virginia’s 43.9 percent, and K-State also had a 36-33 edge on the glass. On Tuesday night, it was Baylor who out-shot and out-rebounded the Mountaineers in WVU’s two-point road victory.
Furthermore, the Wildcats had a 48-26 advantage in the paint, but they couldn’t knock down their free throws (8 of 19), including a key stretch in the second half when they missed four in the row when West Virginia couldn’t find the basket.
Dibo was a big boost for the Mountaineers coming off the bench, scoring all 10 of his points in the second half when Eron Harris
and Terry Henderson
went cold, neither player hitting a second half field goal for West Virginia.
Henderson finished with 13 and Harris added 11.
The first time these two teams played in Manhattan back on Jan. 18, Thomas Gipson and Shane Southwell had their way, combining for 40 points and 15-of-21 shooting.
Today, Gipson showed up but Southwell didn’t. Gipson scored 19 on 8-of-11 shooting while Southwell was just 2 of 7 from the floor for 5 points.
Guard Marcus Foster led K-State (15-7, 5-4) with 23 points.
An announced crowd of 10,121 showed up for today’s game.
West Virginia’s 81 points scored today against the Wildcats ties Iowa State for the third most points Kansas State has allowed this season. K-State came into this week ranked 19th in the country in scoring defense giving up just 61.1 points per game.
West Virginia (13-9, 5-4), once again above .500 in Big 12 play, is tied with Kansas State for fourth place in the league standings. The Mountaineers have also matched last season’s win total with a full month and a half left in the regular season.
West Virginia remains at home to face 23rd-ranked Oklahoma Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum. The Sooners are on the road at Iowa State today. After the Sooners, the Mountaineers have Kansas, Iowa State and Texas in succession. All four teams are ranked.
“What we’re going to do is look at that as an opportunity,” said Huggins. “Let’s just keep on winning. Let’s worry about Oklahoma on Wednesday night and let’s get all those people out there to get back here on Wednesday and help us.”
A special $10 ticket, courtesy of WVU Healthcare, is available for Wednesday night’s Oklahoma game and can be purchased by logging on to WVUGAME.com