Paige, Phillip lead No. 14 WVU over No. 17 Iowa St. 97-87
Feb. 23, 2016
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's Jaysean Paige twisted an ankle a week ago when he landed on a teammate's foot in a game at Texas.
The ankle is just fine now, and Paige has the Mountaineers' offense on the mend, too.
Paige scored a career-high 34 points Monday night to lead No. 14 West Virginia to a 97-87 victory over No. 17 Iowa State.
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).
In losses to Texas and Oklahoma, Paige went a combined 4 of 18 from the field.
Paige, who comes off the bench by design for West Virginia, made 12 of 21 shots and all nine free throw attempts against the Cyclones, eclipsing a 26-point performance last month against Kansas.
"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."
Teammate Tarik Phillip was no slouch, either, making 6 of 8 3-point attempts and finishing with a career-high 22 points, also off the bench. Phillip 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 to lead six Iowa State players in double figures.
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.
Iowa State will have to wait another day to try to earn its fifth straight 20-win season and the first under new coach Steve 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."
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.
"Of course you have to match their points to win the game," Phillip said. "But, our main thing was try to limit them to one shot."
Paige scored nine points over a span of 2:30 and Iowa State had no answer.
After a dunk by Jameel McKay brought Iowa State within 89-82 with 2:43 left, West Virginia scored six straight points to put it out of reach.
Matt Thomas and Georges Niang added 14 points, Morris and Deonte Burton had 13 apiece and McKay scored 10 for the Cyclones.
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.