West Virginia continued their surge as one of the most surprising teams in the Big 12 on Monday night as they mollywhopped No. 11 Iowa State, 102-77.
Remi Dibo led the way for the Mountaineers, scoring 20 points and hitting six of West Virginia’s 13 threes, but it was Terry Henderson who got hot in the first half and sparked an early West Virginia run. The ‘Eers used a 14-2 run and jumped out to a 30-16 lead that they would never look back from.
All in all, it was a truly dominating performance for Bob Huggins’ club, one that further vaults them into the NCAA tournament conversation. They may be just 15-10 on the season and 7-5 in the league, but they can now claim wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor and the Cyclones with their only truly bad loss coming at Virginia Tech in the second game of the season.
It’s worth noting that this group certainly does have the talent to make the Big Dance.
While tonight was a bit of a fluke — I’ll get into that in a second, but I think even Bob Huggins would agree with me — the bottom line is that Juwan Staten has a legitimate shot at winning the Big 12 Player of the Year award. A devastatingly quick point guard, he’s second in the conference in scoring and has become as good as anyone in the league at getting into the lane and finding the multitude of shooters that surround him. Throw in Eron Harris and Henderson, and this team can put up points in a hurry.
But, like I said, this performance was a bit of a fluke. West Virginia caught fire early and were tremendous on the defensive end of the floor. They overwhelmed the Cyclones, a team that is notorious for struggling to win games on the road. This was a statement win, one that will generate plenty of attention across the country, but that does not mean West Virginia is good enough to show up and blow out everyone in the conference.