MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins believed his team is now the best version of themselves.
His team proved it as Jermaine Haley scored a career-high 28 points and the Mountaineers upset Iowa State 90-75 on Wednesday night.
"We're not talking about the same team," Huggins said. "This is not the same team. We've had so many different teams ... obviously (this is the best team we've had this year)."
Derek Culver picked up his eighth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Lamont West added his second career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan McCabe added 18 points.
Haley and McCabe powered West Virginia (12-18, 4-13 Big 12) in the first half with eight 3-pointers.
"I know coach needed a couple guys to step up and Jordan has been doing a great job night in and night out," Haley said. "Especially in practice, he's keeping us together as a group. I'm just playing with a lot of confidence and staying aggressive lately."
After trading punches for the first few minutes, the Mountaineers went on a quick 12-0 run midway through the first half behind clutch shots from Haley and Emmitt Matthews Jr.
The Mountaineers made just three of 18 shots in a nearly 10-minute stretch, ending at the six-minute mark of the second half, but the Cyclones (20-10, 9-8) could only pull within 10 points.
Lindell Wigginton led Iowa State with 17 points. Tyrese Haliburton added 12 points, Talen Horton-Tucker had 11 points and Nick Weiler-Babb 10.
"Bad night all around," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm. "Tough night."
WVU dominated the boards, outrebounding Iowa State 44-34.
Iowa State: The loss will hamper the Cyclones' NCAA seeding stock. West Virginia held a NET ranking of 114 going into Wednesday, giving Iowa State a Quadrant 2 loss, their fourth of the season. ISU is slated to be in the 5-7 seed range.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers closed out their regular season home schedule with two wins. The Mountaineers face Oklahoma State in Stillwater to determine which team avoids the last place seed in the Big 12 tournament.
With the loss to West Virginia, the Cyclones fall to 4-4 in NET Quadrant 2 games, which is something that the NCAA selection committee will likely analyze before Selection Sunday.
There is still time to improve Iowa State's seeding with a home game remaining against Texas Tech, and the possibility of a strong run in the Big 12 Tournament.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
When asked if West Virginia's better play as of late has created a buzz around the Mountaineer fan base for the 2019-20 season, Huggins' response was blunt.
"From the looks of things when I looked up (in the stands), they weren't real encouraged," Huggins said. "Maybe they were watching on TV. I think the only people that thought that we wouldn't be back were people here in Morgantown or the area. I think the other coaches knew we'd be back."
A reported 10,354 were in attendance at the WVU Coliseum, nearly 4,000 short of the arena's capacity.
TOUGH THREE WEEKS
Prohm referenced the Cyclones' 2-4 record during the last three weeks.
"Obviously, this three-week stretch has been tough for us for a couple reasons," Prohm said. "We just got to figure out how to get through it. That's the bottom line . we haven't been good enough to win at home. We haven't been good enough to win on the road. I'm the same coach three weeks ago and they're the same players."
Iowa State hosts No. 8 Texas Tech on Saturday in the regular-season finale.
West Virginia plays at Oklahoma State on Saturday to conclude its regular season.
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