MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Daxter Miles Jr. scored 23 points as No. 10 West Virginia University defeated No. 24 Iowa State 87-76 on Senior Night in front of a sold out Coliseum crowd.
With the victory, the Mountaineers (24-7, 12-6 Big 12) sealed the second seed in the Big 12 Tournament behind top-ranked Kansas.
Nathan Adrian recorded 16 points and seven rebounds in his final home game. Jevon Carter had 13 points and eight boards. Elijah Macon added 10. Tarik Phillip had seven points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.
“I thought our effort was better,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “We tried to emphasize it more. Honestly, our offense was better. We passed the ball. We didn’t pass the ball at Baylor. We didn’t pass the ball in the first half here.”
Prior to the game, the Mountaineers honored their five seniors: Adrian, James Long, Teyvon Myers, Phillip and Brandon Watkins, all who made up the starting lineup.
And it was the walk-on from Charleston, Long, who buried a 3-pointer on the opening possession.
“When he gets a good shot he is probably going to make it,” Huggins said. “He puts enough time in. James has meant so much to this program. It’s hard to put into words what he’s meant to this program with his work ethic, dragging other guys into the gym with him.
“Every recruit that we brought on campus, he’s been involved. He wants to be involved. He believes in West Virginia University and he believes in the program and does a great job of selling it to other people. So if anyone deserves to get a start on Senior Night, James Long does.”
Naz Mitrou-Long tallied 22 points. Monte Morris and Deonte Burton both added 17. Matt Thomas had 16 points for the Cyclones (20-10, 12-6).
Iowa State can finish as the third seed if No. 11 Baylor loses on Saturday.
WVU had a 48-29 advantage on the glass. The Mountaineers scored 40 points in the paint and had 23 second chance points.
Miles scored 16 of his team’s 18 points during an eight-minute stretch spanning both halves. The junior’s five quick points at the start of the second half gave WVU a 50-42 lead.
“I’ve been hammering on him pretty good, but he shot the ball well,” Huggins said.
The Cyclones shot just 2-of-8 from 3-point range in the second half and during a late stretch WVU was able to push its lead to 17.
“The whole theory is to wear them down,” Huggins explained. “When they started missing some shots short, I think we did wear them down. When you’ve got to work that hard to get the ball, when you’ve got to work that hard to get a shot off I think that bodes well for us because we play a whole lot more people.”
The Mountaineers shot 43 percent from the field and 42 percent from beyond the arc. WVU made 21-of-26 from the charity stripe.
Iowa State shot 38 percent from the floor, 42 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent from the free throw line.
The Mountaineers will play the 7-10 winner, most likely either Texas Tech or Texas, on Thursday night in a quarterfinal round game at 6 p.m. CST.