AMES, Iowa–Jaysean Paige came off the bench and scored 23 points, including a huge 3-pointer with 1:05 left as No. 14 West Virginia rallied to beat No. 13 Iowa State 81-76 on Monday night.
“It’s been a while since he’s (Devin Williams) played this many minutes,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “We’re not near as good a basketball team with him on the bench.”
Georges Niang led the Cyclones (16-6, 5-4) with 20 points. Abdel Nader tallied 19 and Matt Thomas had 11.
Paige shot 10-of-17 from the floor and 1-of-2 from beyond the arc. He grabbed six rebounds.
After trailing 25-10 with 8:46 remaining in the first half, it appeared another blowout loss was on the horizon for WVU. But just when things looked grim, the Mountaineers turned on the pressure.
WVU went on a 9-0 run to pull within two in the first half. The Mountaineers had chances to tie the game but one pass went out of play and Miles missed a contested layup.
“It didn’t look like it was going to be good for us when the game started and the thing about these guys is they keep fighting . They keep playing,” Huggins said.
Jameel McKay’s dunk at the end of the half gave the Cyclones a 37-30 lead.
Esa Ahmad’s one-handed dunk pulled WVU within one with 16:31 to play. Seconds later Tarik Phillip stole the ball from Niang and drove to the basket. Phillip’s shot missed, but Miles was there to tip it in to give the Mountaineers their first lead of the night, 46-45.
Iowa State trailed by as many as six points in the second half before Niang scored five points to put the Cyclones back in front 68-64.
Paige tied it at 70-all on a layup with 2:36 left, but Iowa State wasn’t done just yet. Nader’s layup with 1:20 left put the Cyclones up 74-72.
But then Paige drained a huge 3 and Phillip grabbed his own missed free throw to seal the win with 19 seconds left.
WVU hit six straight free throws in the final 41 seconds.
“They don’t play a lot of people and they’re used to playing at their pace,” Huggins said. “They don’t mind playing fast, but they don’t want to play fast very long. What we tried to do was make them play faster than what they wanted to play.
“I think it helped down the stretch. Every shot that they missed down the stretch was short, and most of the time that’s because you lose your legs.”
The Mountaineers struggled in the turnover department once again, but “Press Virginia” forced 21 takeaways. WVU had 10 steals.
The Mountaineers outrebounded Iowa State 43-26.
The win was WVU’s fourth Big 12 road win, which is the most in the conference.
The Cyclones lost back-to-back games for the second time this season.
Iowa State drained five of their first nine 3-point attempts.
Huggins is just three wins from tying Lefty Driesell for ninth place in NCAA history with 786.
The Mountaineers will return home Saturday night to take on No. 15 Baylor.
Quotes courtesy of WVUsports.com