MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sagaba Konate’s offensive development affords him the flexibility to take top-of-the-key jumpers. But when West Virginia coach Bob Huggins wanted Konate to work in the low post Saturday night, an ill-advised 19-footer earned the sophomore center a first-half chewing.
“We’re shooting all 3s (early) and I had just said we’ve got to throw it close. We were going to throw it close to him, but he just couldn’t wait,” Huggins said. “Sometimes you force things because you want to make something happen, but it’s a fine line between that and being selfish.”
The No. 21 Mountaineers went on to beat Iowa State 85-70, relegating Konate’s mistake to a teaching moment.
His off-balance attempt came moments after coaches spent a timeout emphasizing the need to let plays develop via cross-screens in the lane.
“You talk about it during the timeout, and then he comes out, dribbles it, and does and up-and-under that has no chance,” Huggins said. “We never got to the cross-screen. When you say ‘wait until you get the cross-screen,’ you ought to wait until you get the cross-screen.”
Konate went to the bench with 11:31 left in the half and remained there for 5 minutes while Logan Routt played.
In the second half, Konate became a force again, scoring 10 of his 14 points. He scored three baskets in close and sank an in-rhythm jumper from the foul line. He also grabbed seven rebounds to finish with nine total.
“Sags played much better in the second half,” Huggins said.
Wigginton goes off for 29
Lindell Wigginton frequently emerged as Iowa State’s first, second and third offensive option Saturday.
The freshman guard made 10-of-23 shots on his way to scoring 29 points, giving him 51 in two games vs. West Virginia.
“He’s good. He can score it off the bounce and he shoots it off the catch,” Huggins said. “I was trying to find out if they had any more guys in Nova Scotia like that.”
Wigginton’s 29 points matched the third-most by a WVU opponent this season, behind Kentucky’s Kevin Knox (34) and Oklahoma’s Trae Young (32).
Without Iowa State dressing only seven players, Wigginton played 37 minutes, five above his season average.
“It’s tough on your body, but I just had to grind,” he said.
Winless in nine road games this season, the Cyclones lacked the personnel to keep this one competitive late.
They were missing guard Donovan Jackson (15.9 points per game), who was excused to attend his father’s funeral. Knee injuries have recently sidelined forward Solomon Young (7.2 points, 5.9 rebounds) and Nick Weiler-Babb (11.3 points, 6.8 assists) for the season.
In addition, two transfers — Marial Shayok from Virginia and Michael Jacobson from Nebraska — are redshirting this season under NCAA rules.
A 15-1 deficit in bench scoring proved lethal for the Cyclones (13-15, 4-12). Coach Steve Prohm used all seven players who were available, though forward Hans Brase wasn’t close to full-speed. Hobbling in a knee brace, he played only 6 minutes.
“We had six guys, really six and a half, but it’s not really about that,” Prohm said. “It’s about that they didn’t fold. I thought they competed the right way and that’s why I said I want them to hold onto this night.”
“I definitely saw him.” — Daxter Miles, rather sheepishly, after soaring out of bounds and blindly firing an over-the-head pass that became a layup for Lamont West
“He deserved it. ” — Huggins on giving D’Angelo Hunter 12 minutes, the junior’s first action since Feb. 3.
Around the Big 12
Kansas 74, Texas Tech 72: In Lubbock, Devonte Graham scored 26 points and the No. 8 Jayhawks wrapped up their 14th consecutive regular-season league title, surpassing the string of 13 that UCLA won in the Pac-10 from 1967 to 1979.
Texas 65, Oklahoma State 64: In Austin, Kerwin Roach drove for the winning shot with 1.2 seconds left and the Longhorns boosted their NCAA hopes by rallying from 10 points down in the second half.
Oklahoma 86, K-State 77: In Norman, Barry Brown matched Trae Young’s 28 points but the Sooners avoided a winless February by ending a six-game skid.
TCU 82, Baylor 72: In Fort Worth, Alex Robinson scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half and the Frogs won a battle of NCAA bubble teams.