No matter how well a team is playing, a case of bad shooting can sink a hot program on any given night. That's the lesson No. 11 Iowa State learned on Monday on its trip to Morgantown.
Perhaps the Cyclones were wiped from their highlight-filled victory over TCU only two days prior. Whatever the reason, West Virginia -- yes, the same West Virginia team that entered the night with a 14-10 record -- overwhelmed the visiting Cyclones with a stunning 102-77 win on Monday. The loss snapped Iowa State's three-game winning streak and took a little luster off the beastly performance Melvin Ejim put up against the Horned Frogs last weekend.
Even Iowa State, the Big 12's top-scoring team at 85 points per game, couldn't keep up with a Mountaineer offense that got going early and simply never looked back. After the Cyclones' Dustin Hogue dropped in a layup for a 14-13 lead with 15 minutes to play in the first half, West Virginia rushed out ahead with a 17-2 run. That was pretty much the end for the Cyclones.
The Mountaineers came in averaging 78.5 points per game and reeled off 52 by halftime, where they already led Iowa State by 19.
By the end of the night, West Virginia had put together perhaps its most complete offensive outings of the season. Its 102 points were a season-high thanks to 54 percent shooting, a mark that included 13-of-22 (59 percent) on 3-pointers along with 19 of its 21 free throws. Juwan State and Eron Harris, who rank among the league's top four scorers, chipped in 19 and 16 points, respectively, on a roster that dished out 18 assists alongside only eight turnovers. West Virginia just put on an offensive clinic against a top-15 team.
The most perplexing part of Monday's game might not have been the Mountaineers' free-wheeling offense. Instead, it might have been the Cyclones' offensive ineptitude, a stark contract from the Iowa State team we saw on Saturday. That's when Ejim poured in a career-high 48 points and 18 rebounds in the victory over TCU. Ejim followed that performance with only six points on Monday on 1-for-9 shooting. His 0-of-4 effort from downtown only added to Iowa State's measly 4-for-23 night from the perimeter. In all, the Cyclones hit 37 percent of their shots and trailed by as many as 32.
The score wasn't the only thing ugly about this game. Late in the second half, Hogue kicked Mountaineer Kevin Noreen in the stomach in the act of grabbing a rebound and was given a flagrant-1 foul. It seemed like a classic case of mounting frustration. The best performance of West Virginia's season was the worst of Iowa State's, but it's worth noting the Cyclones' relatively quick turnaround from the TCU game. Iowa State had to make the trek from Ames to Morgantown in less than 48 hours, and the program had dropped four of its last five road games. But an effort like this is going to sting for a while for Ejim, DeAndre Kane and the rest of the Iowa State team. The good news is the Cyclones have five days until their next game against a Texas Tech team that just beat Oklahoma State. Things won't get easier with No. 19 Texas coming to town for Iowa State's next game. Hopefully this Cyclones team boasts a short memory.