The West Virginia Mountaineers have the best player in the Big 12 Conference on their roster. He does not get the recognition that other players in the conference do, but junior guard Juwan Staten stuffs the stat sheet on a nightly basis. Staten leads the conference in assists, minutes per game and is second in the conference in points per game.
He exploited the Baylor Bears on Tuesday night with his blazing fast speed. Baylor did not have an answer for Staten all night, and Staten made them pay when it mattered most. He blew by the Bears with three seconds left on the clock to hit the go-ahead bucket to give West Virginia a key conference win.
Picking up two wins in a week in the Big 12 is nearly impossible because of the level of talent. In order for the Mountaineers to do the nearly impossible, they had to take down a hungry Kansas State Wildcats team in Morgantown. Just like he has all season, Staten was the x-factor for the Mountaineers. His career-high 35 points paced the West Virginia offense to a 81-71 victory.
Saturday was a different story. By slicing and dicing through the Wildcats’ defense, Staten drew several fouls. Staten became the first Mountaineer since 1987 to attempt more than 20 free throws in a game, and was 18-of-21 from the free throw line. Kansas State shot 9-of-18 from the line as a team.
Staten and the Mountaineers finally got their statement win. They proved that they can compete in the conference and kept their postseason hopes alive. Staten finally had his statement game that should put him in the conversation for the conference Player of the Year.