AMES, Iowa–Nathan Adrian scored a career-high 23 points and No. 7 West Virginia University defeated Iowa State 85-72 on Tuesday night at the Hilton Coliseum.
Tarik Phillip tallied 15 points and Esa Ahmad added 14. Adrian grabbed 11 boards for the Mountaineers (18-4, 6-3 Big 12).
Matt Thomas scored 19 points for the Cyclones (13-8, 5-4), making 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Deonte Burton and Donovan Jackson both had 11 points. Naz Mitrou-Long added 10.
WVU forced 16 turnovers and had seven steals.
The Mountaineers’ pressure defense wore down Iowa State in the second half and a 9-0 run capped by Jevon Carter’s layup gave WVU a 70-55 lead with 5:36 to play.
The Cyclones struggled after the break, making just 28.6 percent of their shots.
“We had layups and open 3s and shots that these guys (usually) make, and finally West Virginia broke through and made a couple and kind of put us in a tough position and sped us up a little bit,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “But credit them. They were a better team.”
The Mountaineers and the Cyclones battled back and forth in the first half. WVU took a 21-9 lead on Sagaba Konate’s dunk with 13:29 left in the half but Iowa State came barreling back, going on a 20-8 run and tying it at 29-29 with 5:08 remaining.
James “Beetle” Bolden responded when the freshman banked-in two consecutive 3s to give the Mountaineers a 35-31 lead with 3:31 to go.
“Honestly we were lucky. We banked in three of them. It doesn’t hurt to be lucky every once in a while,” head coach Bob Huggins said.
Adrian’s jumper at the buzzer put WVU ahead 44-40 lead at the half.
The Mountaineers outrebounded the Cyclones 36-33 and had a 34-18 edge in the paint.
WVU shot 48 percent from the field and made 10-of-21 from 3-point range. The Mountaineers made 17-of-20 from the free throw line.
Iowa State shot 40 percent from the floor, 38 percent from 3 and 84 percent from the charity stripe.
Burton dished out a career-high 10 assists.
Despite trailing Kansas by two games, WVU’s Big 12 Championship hopes are still very much alive. Baylor and the Jayhawks will square off on Wednesday night at the Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
The Mountaineers will travel to Lawrence and Waco in February.
“(Tonight’s victory) keeps us in the hunt,” said Huggins. “Kansas-Baylor tomorrow so one of those is going to have two losses and we’re going to play both of them again. It keeps us moving toward the regular season championship.”
WVU returns home on Saturday to take on Oklahoma State at 5 p.m.
Cover Photo Credit: Iowa State Athletics