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AthleticHub Blog

West Virginia's week

A lot happened in about 10 seconds. Last Monday, West Virginia was down 61-60 to No. 8 Kansas with 8.3 on the clock, inbounding from the other end of the floor. The pass found Juwan Staten, who went the length of the floor for the go-ahead layup at the 3.9-second mark. Perry Ellis caught the ensuing inbounds pass at the opposite foul line and had a lay-in opportunity to win the game, but it rimmed out and West Virginia fans flooded the floor in celebration of the top-10 upset. Those 10 seconds were the most memorable 10 seconds of West Virginia’s week. But there was much more to take away from what the Mountaineers accomplished, with two top-25 wins to get back on track in the Big 12, after losing three of its previous four games. In need of consistency, West Virginia may be finding some at the right time. It now sits at 9-5 in the Big 12, good for fourth place and just two games behind the Jayhawks, and 21-6 overall. As of Monday, it is 24th in the RPI. Against the Jayhawks, Staten (see below) led the way with 20 points despite dealing with leg cramps during the game. Jevon Carter came off the bench to add 13 points and six rebounds as the Mountaineers won 62-61. It’s a signature win for West Virginia, which is seeking to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time in three seasons. Kansas has been around the AP top 10 all season, but is sitting in the top spot of the RPI. Staten again led the team in scoring on Saturday, netting 22 and dishing out seven assists to carry his team to a 73-63 win against No. 22 Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers won the second half -- something they had not done in their previous five games -- to pull away after going into the locker rooms tied. Gary Browne was the only other WVU player in double figures, with 18 points. West Virginia relies on its defense and rebounding to win games. The Mountaineers are tops in the country in steals per game and turnover margin, averaging 11.6 takeaways and an 8.0 margin. Against Kansas, they got 22 offensive rebounds, another category they are leading the nation in. If they can score more consistently -- they shooting at a 5 percent worse clip than opponents -- they could become a serious threat in March. The next test for West Virginia is a home matchup with Texas, then they’ll finish out the season at Baylor and Kansas, then rematch against Oklahoma State.

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