No. 16 West Virginia bested No. 18 Oklahoma in a top-20 Big 12 showdown Tuesday, with the Mountaineers earning a runaway 86-65 home victory.
Mountaineers senior guard Juwan Staten had an off-night shooting – he finished 1-of-9 from the floor with four points – but he did have a game-high eight assists.
“I struggled a lot shooting the ball, but that’s the reality of the game,” Staten said on Ferrall on the Bench. “The ball’s not always going to go in every time. So I really tried to look for my teammates, tried to put them in situations to be successful and I just tried to give them my all on the defensive end. A shot is something you can’t control, but effort and playing smart are things that you can control. I just tried to maximize those areas of my game tonight.”
Staten’s team-first attitude is the product of playing for Bob Huggins.
“We have a coach that’s very intense, and he doesn’t let us get relaxed,” Staten said. “So every game we want to come out and put our best foot forward and just try to impose our will on whoever we’re playing.”
Scott Ferrall, who went to Indiana, spent five years working under Bob Knight and said the legendary coach made a man out of him.
“I would say the same thing,” Staten said. “Coach Hugs, he’s a guy that definitely demands your full attention at all times. He demands you give 110 percent. He just challenges you to be the best you can be. Everybody doesn’t always feel good. You don’t always feel like giving your all every day. But he pushes you through – and those are the days he pushes you the hardest. It makes you become the person you are. He’s done so much for me. He’s made me so much of a tougher player.”
Staten, a Dayton native, began his career at UD before transferring to West Virginia in 2011. He’s been a key player for the Mountaineers ever since.
“After I decided to transfer, I didn’t really look back,” he said. “I wish them nothing but success. I’ve been keeping up with them, but I’m great with the decision I made. I had a lot of faith in Coach Hugs, and he has a lot of faith in me to let me play the way that I play. He brought in a lot of great guys, and we’ve had a great season. I’m glad that I stuck around. This is everything that you want to fulfill as a college player, and I’m glad that I could be fulfilling it in my last year.”
The Mountaineers (15-2) have won eight of their last nine games. Their only losses this season came by one point to LSU on Dec. 4 and by two points to then-No. 17, now-No. 11 Iowa State on Jan. 10.
West Virginia next plays at No. 20 Texas (12-4) on Jan. 17 at 6:15 p.m. ET.