Clyburn keeps Cyclones in front of West Virginia
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Will Clyburn scored 27 points to lead Iowa State to an 83-74 victory over West Virginia on Saturday in the final regular-season game for both teams.
Clyburn, who also had 10 rebounds, made 8 of 9 free throws in the final 90 seconds as the Cyclones (21-10, 11-7 Big 12 Conference) held off the Mountaineers.
Korie Lucious added 21 points for Iowa State, George Niang notched 14 and Chris Babb 11.
Lucious made 5 of 8 shots from 3-point range for Iowa State, which came in averaging 9.8 per game, ahead of the Big 12 record pace of 9.5 set by Nebraska in 2002. The Cyclones, who are fighting for a berth in the NCAA tournament, have made a school-record 309 3-pointers for the season and are approaching Oklahoma State’s 2009 conference record of 327.
Fourteen of their 3-pointers came Saturday on 23 attempts (60.9 percent) – the 11th time in their last 13 games they’ve made 10 or more – and shot 56.5 percent (26 of 46) overall.
“That’s really our M.O. of the team. We’re a 3-point shooting team. We’ve got one of the highest percentages in the country, makes and attempts. So that’s kind of what we do, we shoot 3,” Lucious said. “Sometimes they fall, sometimes they don’t. Today they were falling. A lot of times they are falling, but if they’re not, we just have to find other ways to win.”
Jabarie Hinds scored 19 points to lead West Virginia (13-18, 6-12), which has lost six straight and closed the regular season with a losing record for the first time since 2002-03.
For coach Bob Huggins, the Mountaineers’ overall winning percentage of 41.9 percent thus far, with the Big 12 tourney still to come, is the worst in his 31-year career. His first NCAA Division I team, Akron, finished 12-14 overall (46.2 percent).
Eron Harris, Matt Humphrey and Aaric Murray added 11 points apiece for West Virginia, and Terry Henderson chipped in with 10.
It was Hinds, who hit 7 of 11 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free throw line, who led a Mountaineers comeback that fell short after they trailed by 27 points with 16:11 to go in the game.
“We had a nice little lead going into the halftime, and then in the second half we still had a little lead, but then they started make a lot more shots, the same thing that happened in Ames (a 69-67 Iowa State win Jan. 16),” Lucious said. “But we found a way to bounce back and get a couple stops down the stretch when we needed it, and we were able to pull a win off.”
“I mean I don’t know how much we struggled in the second half, we just weren’t getting the same opportunities,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We went into survival mode a little too early. And they did a good job; they slowed us down and did a good job of picking us up and creating several turnovers. We lost our mind for a little stretch there. Thankfully, we got it back for those last couple minutes.”
Lucious had just put Iowa State ahead 55-28 about four minutes after intermission when the Mountaineers came back with 13 straight points. Hinds drilled two 3s and a deuce to make it 55-41 with 12:30 left.
The Mountaineers trailed 61-51 with 8:55 remaining after a dunk by Deniz Kilicli on a spin move that brought the crowd to its feet.
West Virginia got as close as four points, 76-72 with 48 seconds left, after consecutive baskets by Henderson, but with the Mountaineers forced to foul, Iowa State made 7 8 free throws to seal the win.
“I thought we got to the free throw line. We were just so aggressive, and when we play like that, when we’re unselfish like we were, good things tend to happen,” said Hoiberg.
“We played,” said Huggins. “Earlier in the year, we may not have played that hard in the second half after playing that poorly in the first half.”