- Associated Press - Saturday, February 14, 2015

AMES, Iowa (AP) - West Virginia has hit a wall.

Monte Morris scored 19 points and No. 14 Iowa State overwhelmed the 21st-ranked Mountaineers 79-59 on Saturday, handing them their third loss by at least 18 points in four games.

Abdel Nader added 16 points off the bench for the Cyclones (18-6, 8-4 Big 12). They remain two games back of league-leading Kansas with six games to play.

West Virginia (19-6, 7-5) is three games behind the Jayhawks ahead of Kansas’ visit to Morgantown on Monday.

“We don’t have the experience that we need to have,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “We’re young. I never said that because I didn’t want to make excuses but, in fairness to them, we’ve got a very young team.”

And young teams often crumble in the second half on the road, like the Mountaineers did in Ames.

Iowa State blew open a tight game with a 14-2 run to start the second half. Morris, who finished a point shy of his career high, led the charge with back-to-back 3s to help the Cyclones to a 50-34 advantage.

Juwan Staten had 16 points and seven assists for West Virginia.

Devin Williams, who entered play ranked second on the Mountaineers with 11.4 points per game, played through a sprained right thumb. Williams picked up his third foul early in the second half and finished with four points and nine rebounds.

Iowa State promised a renewed focus on defense after being lit up for 94 points in a loss at Oklahoma on Monday. The Cyclones certainly looked better on that end of the floor against the Mountaineers.

West Virginia didn’t look bad either - for a half, anyway.

The teams combined to force 18 turnovers while committing 22 fouls in a physical first half that finished with Iowa State ahead 36-32. The Cyclones then held the Mountaineers to just two points in the opening 7:03 of the second half, and those 3s from Morris highlighted a torrid shooting stretch that proved to be the difference.

“We give up too many offensive rebounds, too many second shots,” Huggins said. “Our poor shooting has led to numerous transition baskets.”

Chase Connor matched a career high with nine points for West Virginia, which shot just 9 of 29 in the second half.

“Our biggest problem as of late is defensively and just making effort plays. We knew if we did that we’d have a good shot at winning,” Morris said.


Iowa State: Jameel McKay started for the third straight game in place of Bryce Dejean-Jones. McKay had 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocks…the Cyclones missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw opportunity three times in a row late in the first half…Iowa State’s Dustin Hogue and Staten drew matching technical with 18:06 left.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers were just 6 of 12 from the free throw line and 9 of 28 from 3-point range. They also committed 19 turnovers.


Dejean-Jones appears to be adapting well to his new role. He had 10 points on 4 of 4 shooting…Georges Niang had 11 points and six rebounds for Iowa State… West Virginia got 20 points in the paint and 24 points from its bench.


“Our mindset coming into this game was really good. Now we’ve got to find a way to take this on the road,” Hoiberg said. The Cyclones have lost four straight on the road and play at Oklahoma State and Texas next week.


“We don’t finish anything. We have transition opportunities that they capitalize on and we don’t,” Huggins said.


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