West Virginia led Iowa State by 13 points at halftime and eventually won by six points, but the Mountaineers did not look like they deserved to win the game Tuesday evening.
Having lost six of their last seven games, the Mountaineers (20-10, 8-9 Big 12) won their second Big 12 road game of the season against the Iowa State Cyclones (12-18, 5-12) Tuesday.
The first half of the game was one of the best halves of basketball West Virginia had played in weeks. In the entire month of February, WVU never scored more than 70 points in a game, topping 65 points just once. In the first half against the Cyclones, West Virginia scored 44 points on 55.6% shooting.
Sophomore big man Derek Culver led the charge, scoring a game-high 14 points on 7–11 shooting. That first-half production was more than Culver has had in an entire game in seven of his last eight games. WVU went into the locker room with a 44-31 halftime lead.
West Virginia’s 13-point lead evaporated in the second half. ISU started the half on a 15-4 run to take a 51-48 lead. The Mountaineers’ first point of the half did not come until there was 14:17 left.
After his hot first half, Culver did not even have opportunities to add on early in the second. Culver did not take his first shot in the second half until there was 6:30 left to play. Culver scored his first second-half points a minute later, which sparked a 10-0 WVU run where the Mountaineers built back up a 70-60 lead.
Iowa State would work WVU’s lead back down to two points with 23 second left, but West Virginia hit its free throws to win 77-71.
Culver finished the contest with 17 points and nine rebounds. Miles McBride was right with him with 17 points of his own. Taz Sherman chipped in 12 points and Oscar Tshiebwe scored 11 with nine rebounds.
For Iowa State, Rasir Bolton led with 21 points, Prentiss Nixon followed with 19 with five made three-pointers.
West Virginia’s final regular-season game will be at home versus No. 4 Baylor Saturday at 1 p.m. in the WVU Coliseum.