Staten leads No. 18 West Virginia over Wofford
Dec. 23, 2014
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's Juwan Staten has responded to naysayers with his best two-game stretch of the young season.
The Big 12 preseason player of the year recently saw a TV network's list of top 10 college point guards — and he wasn't among them. That upset him a bit and he started doing something about it.
After scoring a season-high 24 points Saturday against North Carolina State at Madison Square Garden, Staten had 17 points and 10 rebounds in No. 18 West Virginia's 77-44 win over Wofford on Monday night.
"I'm out to prove everybody wrong," Staten said. "I just tried to build upon the game I had in New York. I just wanted to keep the momentum going."
Behind Staten's scoring and a stifling defense, West Virginia (11-1) is off to its best start since opening 11-0 during the 2009-10 season, when it reached the Final Four.
The Mountaineers used a strong start to win their fourth straight. Now coach Bob Huggins, who had lost his final game heading into the holiday break in two of the previous three seasons, doesn't have to worry about hiding from his relatives this time.
"I have been absolutely miserable," he said. "I had all of my brothers and sisters over last year and I had to go sit in the bedroom and stare at the wall for three hours before I could even look at anybody."
Elijah Macon and Jonathan Holton each added 11 points, and Jevon Carter scored 10 for the Mountaineers.
Macon, who lost his mother last month and didn't play last season due to an eligibility issue, set a season high for points.
"The last couple of years have been hard on the kid," Huggins said. "You can't just let him handle it alone. I lost my mother and she was the closest person in the world to me. He wasn't allowed to practice last year, he couldn't play in the games and he sees all the guys he came in with out there playing — and it's taken him a while to get back into basketball-playing condition."
Wofford (9-3) wilted under West Virginia's full-court press, committed a season-high 21 turnovers and was held to its lowest scoring output this season.
Spencer Collins scored 12 points and Karl Cochran had 10 for Wofford, which had won four in a row.
West Virginia scored 16 unanswered points to lead 18-2 just 7 minutes into the game.
After big men Holton and Devin Williams left with two quick fouls, the Mountaineers went more than five minutes between baskets. Yet they never allowed Wofford to trim the deficit to single digits.
The Mountaineers shot 56 percent (15 of 27) from the floor in the first half and led 42-20 at halftime.
West Virginia held Wofford without a field goal over the first 6 minutes of the second half and led by as many as 40 down the stretch.
"They're very good in areas I was worried about," Wofford coach Mike Young said. "They have some guys, holy smokes, on both ends of the floor. They're physical."
It marked the first of four straight games on the road for Wofford, which doesn't play again in Spartanburg, South Carolina, until its Southern Conference opener Jan. 8 against VMI.
Wofford: One of the better 3-point shooting teams in Division I at 41 percent, the Terriers went 6 of 18 (33 percent) against West Virginia.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers lead the nation in turnover margin (11.5), steals per game (13.4) and offensive rebounds (19.0). The Mountaineers had only 11 offensive rebounds Monday night, due in part to 49 percent shooting (27 of 55).
Wofford plays at No. 2 Duke on Dec. 31.
West Virginia hosts Virginia Tech on Dec. 30 in its final nonconference tuneup before starting Big 12 play.