MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia players certainly remember the Feb. 10 win over Iowa State, seeing as how they celebrated by jumping into the student section and haven’t won since.
Iowa State also remembers that night clearly, from WVU dominating the final score 102-77 to the MMA-style kick-and-hammer sequence that occurred late in the blowout.
As the teams prepared to rematch Wednesday night in Ames, the first meeting remained a spot of contention and incentive.
“Both teams have a bitter taste in their mouths about what was going on at the end of that game,” said Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim.
To recount, the chippiness started with West Virginia up by 30 in the late stages when ISU forward Dustin Hogue grabbed Eron Harris by the throat while scrapping for a rebound. Two possessions later, Hogue skied for an offensive rebound and jutted out his leg to kick WVU’s Kevin Noreen in the chest. Hogue then passed to the cutting Monte Morris, who was cracked across the shoulder and neck by Eron Harris.
Harris was ejected with a Flagrant 2 foul and Hogue received a Flagrant 1.
Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg, asked this week about the blowout result and the game’s overly physical conclusion, said his team remembers both aspects so well, “That’s something I don’t have to bring up.”
West Virginia hadn’t scored 102 points in a league game since 2006, and certainly hadn’t overpowered such a quality opponent in its brief Big 12 history. Iowa State hadn’t lost by such a wide margin since February 2011, Hoiberg’s first season as coach.
The Cyclones have responded by winning three consecutive games since.
“Whenever you lose by 25 points to an unranked team, it should definitely wake you up,” said Iowa State forward Georges Niang. “For sure you’re going to have that date circled on the calendar. Obviously we’re excited to get them in here and get things rolling.”
Added Ejim, a conference player of the year candidate who was held to six points in the first meeting: “You want to serve back what they gave you.”
As brutally ineffective as Ejim was in Morgantown—he had a bucket on the game’s first possession and then no more—Hoiberg said the debacle hung on many shoulders.
“It wasn’t just Melvin—it was our whole team,” Hoiberg said. “You’ve go to give a lot of credit to West Virginia. They played a complete game and exposed us in a lot of areas.
“I guess there’s times over the course of the season where you have games that show your guys they’re not as good as they think they are, and that was certainly one of those nights for us.”