No. 17 Iowa St. falls to No. 14 West Virginia 97-87
Feb. 23, 2016
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — First-year Iowa State coach Steve Prohm is looking for some improvement from his players on the defensive end of the court.
Despite having six players scoring in double figures, No. 17 Iowa State couldn't match the production of West Virginia's Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip, especially over the final 9 minutes, and the Cyclones fell to the 14th-ranked Mountaineers 97-87 on Monday night.
Iowa State has allowed at least 80 points in five of its last seven games in which it has gone 3-4.
The Cyclones were outrebounded badly again by the Mountaineers, this time 43-29.
"We aren't out really trying to pressure and deny," Prohm said. "We can't let guys size us up and make uncontested shots. When they miss, we have to go get it. We just have to make things tighter."
Iowa State will have to wait another day to earn its fifth straight 20-win season and the first under Prohm.
"Like Coach said, nobody's really going to remember the regular season, you're just going to remember your last game in the (NCAA) Tournament," Iowa State's Monte Morris said. "So now we're just playing for seeding and just stay positive."
In their highest-scoring output in the Big 12 this season, the Mountaineers (21-7, 10-5) avoided their first three-game losing streak in two years and swept the regular-season series from the Cyclones (19-9, 8-7).
Paige scored 34 points while Phillip had 22, both career highs.
Paige, who comes off the bench by design for West Virginia and twisted an ankle a week ago in a loss at Texas, made 12 of 21 shots and all nine free throw attempts against the Cyclones.
"I just try to attack and play my game," Paige said. "Other guys started hitting shots. They started to open the floor up a little bit, so it just gave me a lot more room to attack. I was just comfortable."
Phillip made 6 of 8 3-point attempts and is playing his best basketball of the season after scoring 19 and 17 points in the two previous games.
Devin Williams had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Mountaineers.
"We've got a good strong 10 or 11 guys," Phillip said. "When we all come ready to play, we're tough to beat then."
Abdel Nader scored 23 points for the Cyclones. Matt Thomas and Georges Niang added 14 points, Morris and Deonte Burton had 13 apiece and Jameel McKay scored 10.
The Mountaineers let an 11-point first-half lead slip away early in the second half before Paige and Phillip carried them down the stretch.
There were six lead changes after halftime. Phillip's 3-pointer put the Mountaineers ahead to stay midway through the second half, and West Virginia turned up its signature pressure defense down the stretch to wear down the Cyclones, who used a six-player rotation.
Paige scored nine points over a span of 2:30 and Iowa State had no answer.
After a dunk by McKay brought Iowa State within 89-82 with 2:43 left, West Virginia scored six straight points to put it out of reach.
Iowa State: The Cyclones shot 51 percent (31 of 61) from the field, the fifth straight game they have surpassed 50 percent. ... Morris, who had 10 assists and no turnovers in the earlier meeting between the teams, had four turnovers and four assists Monday. ... McKay returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday's game against TCU game for what the team said was a coach's decision.
West Virginia: Guard Daxter Miles Jr. returned after missing two straight games with a strained right hamstring.
With his 786th win, West Virginia's Bob Huggins tied Lefty Driesell and Cliff Ellis for ninth place among NCAA Division I coaches.
Iowa State plays at Kansas State on Saturday.
West Virginia plays at Oklahoma State on Saturday.