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

  • Wow

    Nice win, another notch for team growth. Nice to see the grit it takes to win a close game on the road. Also nice to not fear fom all the
    "expert" haters.

  • John

    Happy for the win, however, your point guard has to shoot at least 70% from the line or you will lose a majority of these type of games. No excuses for his horrible free throw shooting.

    • jowettusmc

      Staten is playing 40 min ,he might have been a little tired. Simper Fi Great game!!!

      • Alex

        I had a good filling about the game from the get go ... Tuff going we pulled it out like we should have all the other nail biters. Great job team .. Knowing the team was tired from all the shots missed hitting the front of the rim ... I lost count after 4 ... Great win hope there will be much more before the season ends....

      • jfk

        good point

      • jfk

        Staten playing 40 minutes and maybe being tired was the good point

  • Protechcpa

    Every good team needs a "go to" guy, Mr. Clutch. WVU has enjoyed having one most years and we had a few years without. Great to see Staten grow into that "go to" status. In my eyes, Huggins has proven himself a great coach, especially regarding player development, all over again this year (not that he had to). We are fortunate he came home.

  • In da stickes

    I predict a win in the Coliseum against K State on Saturday. Time for some payback.
    Staten doesn't look anything like the player of last year and for that, we should all be grateful.

  • justin

    great win. staten is the man, unless he is out the foul line.

    go mountaineers!

  • WVcoal

    Staten is emerging as the team leader and "go to" offensive option -- this is good because my sense before this game was that when WVU needed a basket they just played it by ear with no real plan or solid scoring options. Additionally, I saw Williams grow up a little more tonight. He appears to have great potential as he continues to improve.

    • mad hatter

      emerging,,? where have you been,,, watching marsha? he is the leader, been the leader all season

      • WVcoal

        Mad -- You are a dope if you think that there are any "set in stone" leaders on this team. This WVU team has yet to develop a guy that can score the ball when we need points. Staten could be that guy -- he is emerging -- he showed last night that he could do it, but can he do it regularly like Dasean Butler? That is yet to be seen. Yes Mad -- emerging. I don't know what WVU team you've been watching -- you're a complete and utter idiot to come on here and criticize me. I know more basketball in my little finger than you will ever know.

    • jfk

      yes he has emerged and we are all glad!!
      now if we can get bigs to emerge without fouling out!

  • Grant

    They are far from perfect, but this team keeps fighting hard. Considering they are two good post players short, you can't ask for much more out of them. Hopefully next season when Macon and Holton eligible along with a couple new guys, our aspirations can be a bit higher.

  • jay ziehm

    they finally did something right. I thought Baylor would foul on the last possession with about 20 seconds left lets face it would of been smart thing to do Staten was having foul line trouble and had he made one or two Baylor would still would of had a chance to win or lose on the final shot, dumb call on Baylors part. just another note the turn overs by Baylor and the points off won the game for the mountaineers. otherwise had they not had all those turnovers WVU would of been sucking rocks

    • Steve

      Your right but that is like saying if it wasn't cold it would be a nice day. If they give it you take it. That is one of the things a fan says when they can't find something good to say. This young team is beginning to take advantage of these opportunities.

    • J the C

      Good defense produces turnovers, and good offenses capitalize on them. That was evident last night. Good job, Huggs. Good play Mounties.

  • Alum

    Fantastic win!!!!

    LET'S GOOOO MOUNTAINEERS!!!!!

    (And where's Lil' Billy and Lil' Larry?)

    • shawn

      He's Mad Hatter

      • GoEers

        Correct...Mad Hatter is the consolidation of William, Big Larry, and the Wise Talker...it's usually the jealous ones that make the most noise.

        • mad hatter

          great win, especially against a team on a 5 game slide,,, now we need to win at morgantown against kstate, it would be nice,,, we need it for confidence,a nd to start a roll for the remainder of the season... we are playing better ball, passing is so important,,, we need to get williams' head into the game sometimes he just acts like he's in cin. in high school

      • OverhypedHuggs

        Mr. 9-3 shawn. How's the predicting going? Tell us how great WVU is and how Thuggins takes this team to the sweet-16 round.

        • Shawn

          Its going pretty good thanks. How are you? Yea I did predict a 9-3 football season. Should've only lost to Maryland, Baylor and Kansas St. The basketball team is exactly where I thought they would be. I did however think they would be about 3 games better at this time. I'm feeling good about our teams and the rebuilding is going just the way it should. Enjoy your day.

  • squad

    this is the start. watch out.

  • mad hatter

    i can't imagine where we would be without staten, ,,,, and what a huge turnaround from last yr,,,,, it's really hard to imagine that this is the same player..
    congrats to staten for making a great impression on all wvu fans.

  • Matt

    Staten is the quickest guard off the bounce in D-1.

  • Steve

    Very nice win. Big game Saturday!

  • Dave

    Thanks Mr. Staten and Mr. Staten.

  • GoEers

    Congrats on the road victory! Now time for a little payback on Saturday against KSU.

    Let's go mountaineers!!