The Times West Virginian

Sports

February 26, 2014

No. 15 Iowa State out for revenge against WVU

MORGANTOWN — No. 15 Iowa State has about 100 reasons to want to beat West Virginia in their 8 p.m. rematch tonight at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Make that 102 reasons, to be exact, for that’s how many points the Mountaineers threw on the Cyclones during a 102-77 victory in the Coliseum on Feb. 10, the widest margin of victory over a Top 25 team since WVU downed 15th ranked Ohio State by 28 in Columbus on Dec. 27, 2008.

And West Virginia has just one reason to want to beat Iowa State — survival.

The game can be seen on WVFX in Clarksburg.

It is games like this one that make the Big 12 so compelling a conference, for not only has it become the best in the nation but it has also become the most competitive, with each team playing home-and-home with everyone else in the league.

There’s no first-game butt-stompings that go without giving that opponent a shot at revenge, and revenge is among the strongest of incentives a team can have, not that Iowa State isn’t also looking to give itself the best seed it can in the conference tournament, Iowa State currently tied for second with Texas at 9-5, a half-game ahead of a 9-5 Oklahoma team and a full game ahead of a 9-6 Kansas State team that played at Texas Tech Tuesday night.

Iowa State already this year has avenged a loss at Oklahoma and another one at Texas, and one might recall on Saturday Kansas turning around an 81-69 beating at Texas with a thorough 85-54 beating in Lawrence.

And they are looking to do the same against WVU.

“Whenever you lose by 25 to a team you thought you could go into there and beat them,” forward Georges Niang told the Ames Tribune, “you’re obviously going to have the next date that you play them circled on your calendar.”

Not that the Mountaineers are in any danger of being ambushed in Ames, for they are down to their last gasp of any NCAA hopes, needing desperately to win at least two — and probably three — of their final four games, and score a win or two in the Big 12 Tournament.

And one suspects that coming off a disastrous loss to Baylor, 88-75, in which Coach Bob Huggins openly questioned his team’s “commitment to excellence,” they will be as prepared as they can be for the game.

“We’re not out. We feel we can go out on the road and win,” said junior guard Juwan Staten. “We have four games to get it right. We just need to pick up our sense of urgency.”

The problem is you have two teams going in opposite directions since the first meeting.

WVU has dropped consecutive games to Texas and Baylor by almost identical scores — 88-71 and 88-75 — and in almost identical manners — Texas outscoring WVU, 46-14, in the paint, and Baylor outscoring the Mountaineers, 38-12, there.

Iowa State, meanwhile, has rebounded with three consecutive victories, beating Texas Tech, Texas and TCU.

Admittedly Texas Tech and TCU are not among the conference’s elite — TCU being winless in the Big 12 at 0-14 — but a win is a win is a win and they were much needed by Iowa State and its star player Melvin Ejim to regain its confidence.

WVU stuffed Ejim in the first meeting, holding the league’s leading scorer to just six points on 1 of 9 shooting from the field.

But when it was brought up in Monday’s Big 12 coaches conference call that Ejim might be looking for a big bounce back after the way the Mountaineers stopped him, Iowa State Coach Fred Hoiberg was not ready to limit it to that.

“Not just Melvin,” Hoiberg said. “It was the whole team. They exposed us in a lot of areas. The big thing was we could get back and focus on basics since then.”

Someone wondered if, perhaps, the down game at WVU served a “wakeup call” for his team.

“A wakeup call?” said Hoiberg, repeating the question. “I don’t know. You probably have games over a season that show your team they are not as good as they think they are.”

And that certainly was one of them.

Ejim gets a lot of help as Iowa State is one of only three teams in America with three players averaging 16 points a game or better, joined by DeAndre Kane (17.4 and coming off consecutive 20-point games) and Georges Niang (17.1).

WVU thought it had turned its season around beating Baylor after having dropped four of five games. The Mountaineers used the Baylor win to propel them on a streak of wins in four of five games, two of them over nationally ranked teams.

But that all came apart with the losses to Texas and Baylor that well may have burst the Mountaineers’ bubble.

“We got to win,” Staten said following the Baylor loss. “It definitely hurts to lose at home, but we’ll keep fighting to the end.”

The game also carries a sidebar in pitting WVU’s Eron Harris back against the Cyclones. In the first meeting, he was ejected late in the game for throwing a punch at Morris in the midst of a scrum under the basket.

Huggins said Monday he had not had a chance to talk to Harris about the rematch but planned to do so before game time. He certainly will not get a friendly greeting from one of the Big 12’s most active student sections.

In Ames, the memory of the moment lives on.

“With some of the plays down toward the end of the game,” ISU’s Ejim said, “I think both teams have a bitter taste in their mouth with what was going on in that game and for us especially with Monte.”

Text Only
Sports
  • Jones uses his attitude to lead Polar Bears

    When you look around the football field come August, you’ll see plenty of new faces for the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears. But there will be at least one very familiar face.
    TJ Jones is one of just a handful of seniors on this year’s Fairmont Senior team, and he’s hoping to go out on top.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • FSU football season tickets available

    Season ticket packages and VIP parking for the 2014 Fairmont State University football season are now available for purchase.
    Several options are available, including the opportunity to purchase a piece of Fairmont State history.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pirates jump on Haren early, top Dodgers, 6-1

    Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs and the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped on Dan Haren early in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
    Harrison’s two-run double down the left field line capped a four-run outburst in the first against Haren (8-8).

    July 24, 2014

  • Berner, Hess lead W.Va. Open

    Threatening weather did not strike Wednesday, and it was a cool, breezy start to the 81st West Virginia Open played on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
     

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos