MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia knocked off Kansas State 81-71 despite two glaring second-half deficiencies:

• Eron Harris and Terry Henderson scoring a combined two points.

• The Wildcats shooting 61 percent from the floor (16-of-26).

Even with Juwan Staten pouring in 35 points, could Bob Huggins have envisioned the Mountaineers pulling out a game under those circumstances?

“Probably not,” he admitted. “But you’ve got to win some like this. You’ve got to win some when people don’t play their best and somebody else has to step up, and obviously Juwan did.

“Let’s be honest: Wannie’s not going to get 35 every game, but he did today.”

BOXSCORE: West Virginia 81, Kansas State 71

Even West Virginia’s porous second-half defense produced a few shining moments in late-game situations. Over the final three minutes, when WVU extended its 68-67 lead, Kansas State committed three turnovers (all forced) and made 1-of-6 shots.

Huggins thought his team’s defense was stellar, at least for that crucial stretch: “For a three- or four-possession deal, that’s the best it’s been.”

It’s nearly impossible to fathom, but before this week, West Virginia had gone 1-25 in its last 26 games against RPI top-100 teams. (The lone streakbuster in that span was a nonconference win over No. 76 Eastern Kentucky last season. Who doesn’t remember that one?)

Now, following back-to-back wins over Baylor and K-State, the Mountaineers are 2-7 against the top-100 this season.

Staten enjoyed a postgame jog through the student section, creating a roar as he ran the gauntlet of high-fives.

“They’ve been here for us and it hasn’t been perfect this year—we’ve had a lot of ups-and-downs, a lot of close games that we haven’t pulled out,” Staten said. “The fact that they’re still coming out here and supporting us and being loud, I think we need to pay them back a little bit with some wins.”

Surely there was another defensive adjustment Kansas State could have made Saturday instead of repeatedly getting killed by Staten’s drives off ball-screens.

From what seemed like the simplest of sets, Staten was able to get to the rim or draw fouls at will. Yet teammate Eron Harris contended that Staten’s quickness and decision-making stresses defenders to the point “they don’t know what’s coming,” even from a ball-screen they saw countless times Saturday.

“They just know he’s got the ball, but they don’t know what he’s going to do it,” Harris said. “He’s faster than they are, but he’s got that mid-range jumper, too. And we’ve got our guys that he can kick out to, and that makes the offense almost unstoppable.”

For versatility’s sake, Staten also sank a 3-pointer Saturday, his first since the conference opener against TCU on Jan. 4.

“If he makes a jumper, he makes a jumper,” said perplexed K-State coach Bruce Weber.

The 37 free throws West Virginia attempted were the most K-State surrendered in almost two years—a string of 65 games that dates back to Feb. 11, 2012, when Texas attempted 40.

Staten’s 18 made free throws equaled the single-game school record held by Rod Thorn in a 1963 win over George Washington.

Staten’s 21 attempts were a career-high, surpassing the 19 he shot in a 96-83 win over Duquesne on Nov. 11. Thanks partially to the crackdown on defensive contact, Staten has reached double-figure attempts in four games this season after failing to do so even once as a sophomore.

Staten’s 165 attempts lead the Big 12 and are six more than Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Eron Harris scored 11 points in the first half but was held scoreless in the final 20 minutes.
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  • Country Roads

    We got a good chance to make it to the NIT and most important the door is not closed on the NCAA yet. We are pulling for you team..

  • Mad Hatter

    WVU will never be at the same level as my Herd.

    • Cigarman

      Hope your right that's a long way down,

  • jay ziehm

    sounds like a war of words between mad hatter/Shawn might need to enter them in a future tough man contest. I'm hard on mountaineers when they need it but until Huggins shows he can develop the whole team rather than just 2 or 3 players I have my doubts for a big 12 winning season.

  • mad hatter

    where is know everything shawn,,, seems he picked kst. and doesn't want to show his face...HUMMMMMM

    • Troll

      I don't ever recall Shawn picking against the Mountaineers. Why don't you just go away like William and the rest have since the Mountaineers have had a little success.

    • shawn

      Nah son...I never pick against them. You're a joke and schmuck.

      • mad hatter

        once again you lie to try and save face, too many people know you, ,know you well,, you lie

        • shawn

          Yea everybody in here who isn't a fictional fan like you knows what kind of fan I am. You're a poor excuse for a human being who's life revolves around chat boards. It's pitiful that you use so many didn't names. You're probably some weird old man who chases young kids around. Do me a favor and don't comment on my posts because you creep me out. And you don't add anything intelligent to the posts in here.

          • mad hatter

            go back to huntington where you came from,,, we really don't like idiots like you on this blog

  • mad hatter

    i am happy to say i calledthis win, but dibo is very disappointing at times,,,as for adrian ,and williams,, they are young ,and have a lot to learn , i just wish adrian would wear a nose mask, i've never seen anyone get busted in the nose like he does.

    huge test wed, nite,, but we could win if the guards get some help from dibo, williams, adrian, and watkins....three of four are freshmen.
    If we can land just a few top notch recruits, we will be tuff to handle in two yrs.. hoping stays for next yr,

    • mad hatter

      hoping staten stays after this yr,, know he will have used up his eligibility after next yr.

  • pghmountaineer

    This was a nice win.I just wish we could get more production out of our bigs. That's alot to ask from 2 guys to score the majority of the points on a consistent basis.
    Hope Williams and Dibo can step up against OU.

  • William101

    You would think the naysayers would come out despite our win, just so we don't think they duck their heads in the sand.

    Great win, now if we can make it 3 in a row, this time against a top 25 club, that would be sweet.

    I gotta admit that I look forward to the OU game. I want to see how OU game plans Staten and what Huggs' answers are. The opposition HAS to account for Staten, and that should provide other opportunities.

    • mad hatter

      what in the world makes this a great win...beating kansas, iowa st. or texas would be great wins,,,,kstate is on a 3 games slide if memory serves me.

      • shawn

        A great win would be for you to wake up with your face glued to the carpet.

        • mad hatter

          i see you on blogs where you're cheering on marsha,,, how's it feel to be two faced... go back to huntington

    • tw eagle

      staten's most visible defect is his lack of "touch" putting the ball through the hoop when driving the left side of the lane and having to use his left hand to "shoot" . . .

      push staten to the left & cut off the pass lane to the WVU forward on the left side . . . staten will be trapped in the lane & have nowhere to go & no one to dish off to while peering through those Okie trees they call BB players . . .

      • tw eagle

        Huggins answer should be to have the screen man "sneak" down the right side of lane to the hoop & get bounce pass through the trees and have an easy lay-in . . .

  • Pat

    Fun game to watch. Staten is a basketball player that's for certain. Keep it going!

  • Allan

    We will see how OK prepares for Juwan, we may see a zone defense at the very beginning..we seem to have problems with it.
    Someone may have to step up Wednesday, I'm sure they will put there best defensive player on him or try to double up when the ball is in his hands.

    • mad hatter

      henderson and harris have to be ready.

  • leroy j gibbs

    Hope we get in the post season. It's valuable experience

  • wvajoker

    "Diarhea Mouth" william just wants to sit around and instigate and with WVU winning he can not instigate. He is sitting back trying to think up a new nickname for Huggs to show his own stupidity.

    • mad hatter

      marsha got thumped , and we won, so what can he say now..

  • tw eagle

    since the K St debacle , the Mountaineers have played some excellent TEAM ball . . .
    coach Huggins is moving his guys in and out , keeping them fresh , and using them in the situations that fit their limited(as yet) abilities to help the TEAM succeed . . .

    if they can only eliminate the "lapses" that seem to haunt them . . . I can't as yet decide if this is due to lack of focus , or getting a "little tight" and trying too hard to make the perfect play . . . it's only a game , and nothing to get uptight about - BUT , it sure is a lot more fun when you are executing well at both ends and WINNING . . .

  • Jay

    I'm so proud of this team for showing up and playing hard every game. After close loss upon close loss, they could have packed it in. They continually choose to play hard. Regardless of what happens this basketball season, that type of persistence and toughness will serve these young men well in life.

    Go Mountaineers!

  • Jed

    Hey! Anybody seen William?
    Oh wait ... never mind. He doesn't like it when WVU wins, and besides, he already made this prediction.

    "The streak start tomorrow -
    0 - 9
    I'm Lovin' It
    January 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm"


    • Charleston

      How do you know that he hasn't changed his name and still posting????
      ......Just sayin

    • squad

      to think the crap this guy slings and then goes into hiding if we win.. it figures he has a small you know what..and ill bet his gut is out past his feet as well....just a guess

      • Mike in Teays Valley

        William is probably out buying a signature "Huggs Sweatsuit" to throw darts at since he cannot stand WVU winning.

        • Steve

          He's actually just waiting for WVU to lose again so he can get on here and say how bad coach Huggins is or how bad WVU is.

          He plays the little brother role extremely well.

    • Dave

      LOL at William !!!!!!!!!!!!