West Virginia-Iowa St. Preview
Considering the Mountaineers' struggles that have followed, the No. 15 Cyclones might have a good chance to avenge that loss and post a fourth consecutive victory in Wednesday night's Big 12 matchup.
After beginning this month by knocking off then-ranked Oklahoma and Oklahoma State teams and rolling past TCU, Iowa State (21-5, 9-5) showed surprisingly little energy during a 102-77 loss at West Virginia on Feb. 10. The Cyclones shot 36.6 percent and allowed the Mountaineers (15-12, 7-7) to make 53.8 percent and match a season high with 13 3-pointers.
"It was pretty much, start to finish, just a poor effort on our end," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said after the school's most lopsided loss since falling 76-53 to Texas in February 2011.
The Cyclones have responded with three straight wins, holding Texas Tech, then-No. 19 Texas and TCU to an average of 66.7 points on 35.3 percent shooting.
Georges Niang had a team-high 17 points at West Virginia and is averaging 19.0 over the last eight games. He recorded two three-point plays in the final 5 minutes of Saturday's 71-60 victory over the Horned Frogs and had a season-high eight rebounds.
"Georges has no fear," Hoiberg said. "That's the great thing about him...he's been awesome."
The Mountaineers held Big 12 scoring leader Melvin Ejim (18.9 points per game) to a season-low six points on 1-of-9 shooting, one game after he scored a league-record 48 against TCU.
Though Ejim has been held below his average in two of the last three contests, he's gone 20 of 34 (58.8 percent) from the field. He's shot 63.9 percent in his last five home games, scoring at least 20 four times, including the Big 12 record-breaking performance.
Iowa State is 13-1 at Hilton Coliseum this season and has won 32 straight home games against unranked teams. That streak includes a 69-67 victory over West Virginia last season as the Cyclones blew an 18-point lead but rallied to win on Niang's layup with 2.5 seconds left.
Losers in two straight and four of five on the road, the Mountaineers have followed the win over Iowa State by falling to the ranked Longhorns and Baylor by a combined 30 points. The Big 12's worst team in field-goal defense (44.6 percent), West Virginia has let its last two opponents shoot 56.0 percent.
"I've never had a group that was worse defensively than what we are," coach Bob Huggins said after Saturday's 88-75 home loss to Baylor.
Eron Harris, second to Ejim in the Big 12 with 18.1 points per game, has scored 53 in the two games that followed a 16-point effort against the Cyclones.
Teammate Remi Dibo averages 7.5 points but had a career-high 20 against the Cyclones this month.
West Virginia is 2-6 against Top 25 teams this season and has dropped 14 straight road games to ranked foes.