WACO, Texas — Because his entire season has been one aggressive move after another to the rim, Juwan Staten expected Baylor to send a second defender his way. Because he had gone 1-of-6 at the free-throw line, he even suspected Baylor might foul him early in the final possession.

Instead, the Bears allowed Staten to dribble off the most of the shot clock before he drove the lane and made the decisive reverse layup with 3.1 seconds left. It gave West Virginia an uplifting 66-64 victory and dropped Baylor deeper into the Big 12 doldrums.

BOXSCORE: West Virginia 66, Baylor 64

“They played right into our hands when they played straight man (defense),” Staten said. “I really got an easier shot than we even wanted.”

Perhaps the shot looked easier because Staten penetrated so deep beneath the basket that Baylor’s long-armed defenders half-expected him to pass the ball out to one of West Virginia’s perimeter shooters. The point guard admitted he might have been inclined to do so if not for some fatherly advice.

“My dad is always in my head, giving me stuff to think about, talking to me all the time,” Staten said. “He told me I wasn’t shooting enough reverse layups. He told me that there’s probably been 17 or 18 times this year that I drove under the basket and ended up kicking it out when I didn’t get stopped.

“Right before I (was about to) kick it out, I thought ‘Shoot the reverse layup.’ I put my eyes on the rim and no one was there to block it. I give all the props to my dad.”

MORE: Mountaineers finally win a close one

Staten finished with a game-high 15 points and nine assists, making amends for an awful night at the foul line, including back-to-back misses with 49 seconds left when West Virginia (12-9, 4-4) nursed a 64-63 lead.

Of course, Baylor (13-7, 1-6) had free-throw troubles of its own—going 14-of-23 after Rico Gathers could only make one to tie the game with 36 seconds remaining.

That left the game clock and shot clock virtually synched for West Virginia’s final possession. A possession on which coach Bob Huggins completely deferred to Staten, figuring his point guard could exploit a crack in the Baylor defense or at least facilitate a drive-and-kick for Erin Harris, Terry Henderson and Remi Dibo (a trio that had knocked down eight 3-pointers on the night).

“(Huggins) pretty much just told me the ball was going to be in my hands, so run the shot clock down and make something happen,” Staten said. “They give me a lot of freedom. They respect me and believe in me, so that gives me a lot of confidence.”

It’s a palpable trust Staten also can sense from teammates, despite those last-minute free throws that missed badly.

“To redeem himself he went and made the game-winning shot,” said Harris. “This is our guy, man.”


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Comments

  • JIM LAWS

    IN WACO LAST YEAR, TO WATCH THE EERS.I LIKE THIS EDITION, EASER TO WATCH. NEED TO LEARN TO WIN TY[HE CLOSE ONES

  • Mark

    I am so happy for our guys-especially Staten and Dibo. They have stuck together as a team. Let's put it on KState Saturday. Would love to see the students turn out big for this one.

  • OKANYDAY

    Great win on the road, and the pride of WVU to win the game down the stretch and not fall. Even in the final minute when Baylor pulled within 1 point, the Eers never flinched. Congratulations ! Keep it up, you can do it on the road or at home.

  • mad hatter

    i knew from the beginning we'd win,, baylor is having big time troubles,,, they are on the way down and we are going up,

    next win, kstate, and actually it will be easier than most people like shawn would think.
    if fact , we win by ten.

    • Shawn

      Nah player...they could win by 1 and I'm happy. Keep up the low intelligent chatter mad hatter.

    • TheFungoKnows

      I got 10 brand new benjamins that say you are way way wrong.

  • Bernie

    I enjoy reading all of the negative stuff about Huggins and his team from some regular commentors thinking all the time how lucky we are to have him. Yes he does yell, maybe too much, but if you watch carefully you can see why. Rebounds on free throws???? I would yell too! He has his point guard now and he will put the rest of it in place as the season moves on.
    Keep the faith all you true Mountaineer fans and we will be at the top sooner than many think!

  • Brian

    Man, I've got to give credit where credit is due!
    I was POSITIVE this team would fold when BU came back from our 8 point the last three minutes - but those guys held though.

    I've been as hard as anybody on Huggs mostly, and even the players to a much smaller degree - but they showed me something last night!
    I'm thinking a couple more of these in the last ten games and we may have a shot at the NIT (I'm STILL nowhere near thinking we have a shot at the NCAA - but as I'm admitting to now, I've been wrong before).

    And if being overly pessimistic/tough on Huggs and the program means I'm wrong in a good way (i.e. WINS) - I'll gladly eat crow any day!!

  • Jack

    Staten is one of the best guards in the country. He can blow past players with ease. I only wish the rest of the team would play with as much confidence as he shows.

  • Alex

    The officiating appeared to be somewhat better than it had been in the past, maybe this is a good start for them to be fair for all the games...

  • Alex

    I sure hope the team can get enough rest between now and Saturday , they're going to need it by all the missing shots coming up short on the rim several times, to me was an indication they are tired . They have been gone several days from home they need a little more rest..Great win , great effort, See you Saturday team ...

  • Charleston

    The picture says it all! Let Go Mounties! I'll see you Saturday!!!!

  • leroy jethro gibbs

    staten is a high quality player

    1000 free throws in practice this week!

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Where Mad Hater? This win is the same as Bobby Huggins picking him up by the nape of the neck and giving him a good swift kick to the behind.

  • EMac

    You don't foul during a tie game with a team in the double bonus. Baylor's coach has some explaining to do though by going man instead of zone. Film study would've told them that Staten was going to go iso with the floor spread for a drive.

  • ffejbboc

    Talent-wise, Baylor is probably the 3rd best team in the Big XII, falling only behind Kansas & Oklahoma State. So to beat those guys on the road is really quite an accomplishment.

  • shawn

    Staten needs to hit the gym today and get some foul shots up. He's a beast. We haven't had a true clutch player like that since Butler.

    • The Wisetalker

      Thank you coach Steve...I mean Shawn.

      • Shawn

        Where's the steve stuff coming from satchmo? Who's steve?