MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Jaysean Paige didn’t seem to be phased by his ankle as he scored a career-high 34 points to lift No.14 West Virginia past No. 17 Iowa State 97-87 on Monday night.
Paige injured his ankle six days ago in the Mountaineers’ loss to Texas, and the senior guard wasn’t 100 percent when WVU (21-7, 10-5) lost to Oklahoma. But it didn’t seem to bother Paige against the Cyclones.
Phillip was 6-of-10 from the floor, but the junior guard was red-hot from 3-point range, making 6-of-8.
Paige and Phillip carried the Mountaineers’ bench, who scored 69 points, just two shy of a school record.
“It’s a lot easier to get into pressure after you make shots,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “I thought we moved the ball better, Tarik making shots really helped when we were struggling and Jaysean is back to where he’s got a little bounce where he can finish a little better at the rim.”
Abdel Nader led Iowa State (19-9, 8-7) with 23 points and seven assists. Georges Niang and Matt Thomas each tallied 14 points. Monte Morris and Denote Burton had 13 apiece and Jameel McKay added 10.
After a disappointing day on the glass Saturday, WVU outrebounded Iowa State 43-29, leading to 22 second chance points.
The Mountaineers forced 15 turnovers and had seven steals.
WVU started the second half slow and the Cyclones put together a 13-2 run capped when Thomas hit a 3 to put them ahead 53-51.
There were six lead changes after halftime.
The Mountaineers mounted a 15-4 run after Nader’s 3-pointer with 5:44 to play.
The scoring frenzy started when Williams took a pass from Phillip for an easy layup, Paige scored on a driving layup and another layup from Williams.
Nader and Phillip exchanged threes and McKay slammed a dunk in transition with 2:43 left to bring Iowa State within 89-82.
But WVU scored six more points to put the game away.
“They didn’t shoot it quite as well down the stretch,” Huggins said. “I think (West Virginia’s full-court pressure) gets to your legs. Those guys had to work pretty hard to get the ball up the floor.
Daxter Miles Jr. stole the ball from Burton and then dished it to Paige who made the uncontested layup to give the Mountaineers 32-28 lead with 6:27 left in the half.
Paige carried WVU on a 6-3 run at the end of the first half. Paige and Nader exchanged a pair of 2-pointers and the Mountaineers took a 49-41 lead into the locker room.
Huggins tied Lefty Driesell and is one behind Cliff Ellis for ninth place among NCAA Division I coaches.
The Cyclones shot 51 percent from the floor, the fifth straight game where they shot better than 50 percent.
Teyvon Myers started his third straight game for the Mountaineers in place of Miles, who had been hampered by a hamstring injury.
WVU will travel to Stillwater to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday.