MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– After a disappointing 88-71 loss to Florida on Saturday, No. 14 West Virginia looks to bounce back when it travels to Ames to battle No.13 Iowa State on Tuesday night.
Things didn’t go so well for the Cyclones (16-5, 5-3 Big 12) on Saturday in their game of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, getting beat 72-62 by the No.5 Texas A&M.
The Mountaineers (17-4, 6-2) are in a downward spiral of late. WVU has lost three of its last five, including the pounding the Gators put on them.
For a second straight game, the Mountaineers will be without senior forward Jonathan Holton. While, Holton may not have been the main reason for WVU’s dreadful performance, his lack of presence on the court was noted.
The Mountaineers clearly missed his energy and his top-notch rebounding.
WVU struggled in transition against Florida. The Mountaineers allowed the Gators to penetrate and get the ball to an open shooter.
Florida was lights out when it came to shooting. The Gators shot 53 percent from the floor and made 12-of-20 from 3-point range.
WVU committed 18 turnovers that led to 21 Florida points.
“We didn’t guard and our pressure is close to nonexistent anymore,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “We’ve got guys worried about fouling and guys worried about staying in the game longer.”
Nathan Adrian is listed as a probable starter against the Cyclones. He is coming off his second straight 10-point performance.
Sophomore guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. have both been struggling of late. The two combined for 13 points on 4-for-14 shooting from the floor and 1-for-9 from beyond the arc on Saturday.
Junior forward Devin Williams scored 12 points and grabbed 13 boards on Saturday, but he made just 4-of-15 from the field and committed three turnovers.
Despite spending the majority of Saturday’s game in foul trouble, guards Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip both scored 15 points. Paige leads the Mountaineers with an average of 13.6 points per game.
WVU has dropped 20 of its last 21 games against Top 25 teams on the road and the Cyclones have been virtually unstoppable at home, including wins over No.1 Oklahoma and then-No.4 Kansas.
Much like Mountaineers, Iowa State had a problem with turnovers against the Aggies. The Cyclones turned the ball over 16 times, which led to 21 Texas A&M points.
The Cyclones were outscored 16-4 during the final 4:04.
Iowa State is led by preseason-All American Georges Niang, who is averaging 19 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
The 2015 defensive player of the year Jameel McKay averages 12.7 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Point guard Monte Morris averages 15.1 points and 6.9 assists per game. Matt Thomas (10.1 points) and Abdel Nader (12.6 points) round out the starting lineup.
The Cyclones beat WVU by 20 points in Ames last year.
This is the seventh meeting between the two teams, and the Mountaineers only win against Iowa State happened in Morgantown in 2014.
Huggins is 10th all-time in wins with 782, and he needs just four more victories to tie Lefty Driesell for ninth place with 786.
Tuesday’s game starts at 9 p.m. (ET) and can be seen on ESPN2.