MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Andrew Wiggins playing inside the WVU Coliseum was a one-time event that became an all-time treat.

Yet his magnificent 41-point outburst also became a footnote for No. 8 Kansas, overshadowed by the trio of Juwan Staten, Eron Harris and Devin Williams hoisting West Virginia to a 92-86 upset.

Said coach Bill Self after the ambush: “Their Big Three scored 74 on us and our Big One had 41.”

Said the Big One about breaking the Kansas freshman single-game scoring mark: “I’d rather score five points and win than 40 and lose.”

BOXSCORE: West Virginia 92, Kansas 86

The prize of this season’s freshman class, Wiggins was never better than Saturday. And with all those points accompanied by eight rebounds, five steals and four blocks, Self wasn’t exaggerating when he said, “There’s nobody in America that will have a better game than what Andrew had today.”

Yet despite America’s best recruit playing his most complete game, Kansas left the floor with a loss, giving way to several thousand West Virginia students who made a gold rush to midcourt. Within seconds they raised Staten atop their shoulders, transforming him from point guard to crowd surfer. During that fun and frenzied conclusion, it was pleasing to see Staten reveling in the joy of the ride, letting a smile overtake the always-serious glare he maintained during his 24-point, nine-assist, five-rebound effort.

Will he be joining Wiggins on the NBA draft’s list of early entries? That’s a question Staten ducked in recent months, but on Saturday he let slip a maybe.

“That’s definitely what I expect to explore after the season,” Staten said. “Just want to put my name in and see what type of feedback I get and make a decision from there.”

Beyond conjecture of whether Staten should or shouldn’t return as a senior, there’s no disputing his immense value to West Virginia as a junior. Those 17 wins might be seven without Staten, who’s among the frontrunners for Big 12 player of the year, an honor to be tweeted from league headquarters Sunday.

MORE: Devin Williams blind-sides Kansas

Though accolades are secondary to winning, they make for terrific nuggets of offseason motivation. As Staten set new benchmarks for himself throughout last summer and fall, he arrived at two goals: earning unanimous selection to the coaches’ all-conference team, and winning player of the year.

Bob Huggins was prohibited from voting for his own player in the Big 12 race, but not so on his All-America ballot, which cast Staten as a first-teamer.

“I think he’s the best point guard in the country,” Huggins said.

In the current college basketball climate, the best point guard in the country typically doesn’t return to campus. That decision, however, is left for April. Based upon the 5,000-megawatt grin Staten flashed atop that mass of court-storming students, there’s still plenty of March to enjoy.

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Comments

  • jwg66

    I'd love to see him come back and work on his 3 point shooting too. However, when he tests his worth, if it results in him making a fortune for himself, I will wish him the best. He has been really fun to watch. He is so quick and gets serious air time on his jump shot. Really, he does it all. Can't remember us having this talented of a PG. I will be hoping he likes his time as a Mountaineer and comes back.

  • Gandyman

    I love Staten but sadly I doubt that he is NBA good. Not many point guards in the NBA who cant shoot the three.

  • wvu fan

    MR. DEVIN Williams has.... let's go mountaineers

  • Jay

    Why the "Sendoff" in the headline?! Staten is only a junior.

  • clair

    OH how I hope Staten stays, We very seldom see a player of his caliber. As for devin it shows what he can do with a center to take pressure off him. A great win in the toughtest league in the Country.

  • Tyrone

    Oh well yesterday was a great game. Who are they going to be playing in their first game in the tournament . .. Oh yea it is Texas oh well it was fun while it lasted. lets all pray that they play lights out as Texas has had W.V.U. s number

  • polarbear

    Allen. Nice headline not. You can now ad plagiarism to you many successes. "Wiggins explodes for 41" is the exact wording the ESPN ticker was running after the game.

  • Todd

    Hopefully this kind of play will continue into the Big 12 tournament.

  • J the C

    This game made my weekend! Nice to see Terry back. His absence killed us down the stretch.

  • Mike

    How about a frontcourt in 14/15 of Williams, Macon and Holton. No one will push us around. Throw in Staten and Harris in the backcourt. Plus a deep bench. It's going to be fun!

  • Aaron

    It looks as if Mr. Wiggins played himself right into the #1 pick yesterday.

    While he might get lucky and LA end up with the #1 overall, more than likely his reward is to languish in either Charlotte, Philadelphia, New Orleans or Milwaukee.

    Were I his adviser, I think I'd tell him to take out a huge personal injury contract and come back to Lawrence for one more year.

  • Tom

    This whole season has been a breath of fresh air after watching those undisciplined thugs a year ago. Keep up the good work!

  • Tim C

    Juwann definitely has NBA quality skills, but he is one year away from being a first rounderer. He needs to develop a 3pt shot for the NBA. He also needs to polish his passing skills somewhat. His ball handling is first rate but sometimes he gets a little out of control sometimes. His improvement from last year to this year was off the charts. Without him we wouldn't have 6 wins. Let Huggs give him one more year of development and he is a top 5 pick in the NBA. Joe Alexander may have been a top 8 pick when he went but he was not ready which is why he isn't playing in the league today. Ask the Milwaukee Bucks if they would've picked him knowing how he would turn out and I would say the answer would be a resounding NO! If your game isn't totally polished by the time you go pro you won't last long there. Stay one more year Juwann, and you will be a star for a long time at the next level.

  • Dave

    I love watching this team play. Great team chemistry and great team effort by everyone. Great coaching job by Huggs in this game and this season. Huggs knew he had a lot of work to do and he got it done. I loved Huggs' cap he was proudly wearing at the post game interview. "The USS West Virginia".
    I'm Lovin' It !!!!!!!!!
    What a great day to be a Mountaineer wherever you may be !!!!!!!!

  • Grant

    Selfishly, I hope he returns. However, if he gets feedback that he will go in the first round, then I say that he should go. You can't turn down that kind of money.