WVU Falls Short in Big 12 Championship - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Falls Short in Big 12 Championship

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WVU comes up short in the Big 12 Championship for the second season, falling 80-74 to Iowa State. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle) WVU comes up short in the Big 12 Championship for the second season, falling 80-74 to Iowa State. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

For the second year in a row, West Virginia faced the same ending at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

A year ago, it was a 81-71 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks.

Tonight, it was another trip that came up short in the final round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship. The No. 4 seed Iowa State picked up its third title in four years with an 80-74 victory over the Mountaineers in what felt like a true ISU home game.

The Cyclones continued their tournament trend of shooting lights out. They shot 54.2 percent from the floor and converted 10-of-15 from the free throw line.

Four State players reached double digits lead by Monte Morris’ 17 points that earned him the Most Outstanding Player.

"He's a good player, one of the best point guards in the country and he hit some tough shots tonight. I feel like I did a good job on him, but he just hit some tough shots," Jevon Carter said.

Deonte Burton added 16, Matt Thomas 12 and Darrell Bowie another 10.

Four Mountaineers also hit double figures paced by 18 from Jevon Carter. Elijah Macon, Esa Ahmad, and Daxter Miles Jr. all tallied 10 points. Macon added six rebounds and Ahmad dished out five assists.

It was a much better offensive start for the Mountaineers compared to the night before. Jevon Carter hit a three pointer followed by a lay up as West Virginia went up 10-4 at 14:20.

Halfway through the first half Nathan Adrian swiped it from Naz Mitou-Long and dunked it for WVU’s 16th point - its first half total in the semifinal.

Darrell Bowie had a crucial series for the Cyclones. He gave his team its a lead it would never relinquish as he connected on the and-one. He slammed one through and was successful on the three-point play once again as the Cyclones went up 28-22 in less than a minute.

Monte Morris hit one from behind the arc as he tallied ISU’s final eight points of the half as it went up 35-29.

"We turned 'em loose," Coach Huggins said of Iowa State's surge to end the half. "I think everybody says it's hard to play against us with one day's prep, but I think it's really hard to play against them with one day prep as well because they shoot the ball so well."

WVU committed 10 of its 13 turnovers in the first half.

"They got 14 second-chance points to our 10. That's usually in our favor by a bunch. Points off turnovers, we got 15, they got 14," Coach Huggins said.

"We hang our hat on turning people over and rebounding the ball, and we got outrebounded. We gotta get more shots. You've seen us three days, we don't shoot the ball very well. Some of them think they do, but they really don't. So we've got to get more shots. And you get more shots by rebounding the ball and you get more shots by turning people over, and we didn't do either one of those."

Burton and Thomas each drained a triple for a double-digit ISU lead a minute and a half into the second half.

Burton hit 1,000 career points in the second half. He tallied nine quick points to keep ISU up by eight five minutes in. He would add a huge dunk with under two minutes to go to maintain the lead.

Esa Ahmad picked up six consecutive points to cut into the deficit. Elijah Macon and Teyvon Myers would combine for four more as the Mountaineers managed to comeback and get within five.

Iowa State would pull ahead by 11 with 1:22 to go in route to the conference title.

"This is an amazing moment, for our program, our university, these seniors. To win 3 out of 4 conference tournaments, my hats off to these guys. That's unbelievable. I'm extremely proud of them. We beat a really good team tonight," Iowa State Head Coach Steve Prohm said. "They provided us a lot of match-up issues, and our toughness and our grit had to be at a high level tonight and we challenged our guys defensively. We had given points up in the 80s and 90s the last two times we played them, and we were good enough defensively tonight to win. Tough enough to win."

Trips to the line only put WVU further in the hole as it converted eight of 17 attempts.

"Early we were moving the ball, getting easy baskets and open shots, and later on we stopped swinging it," Carter said. "We started playing individually and we wasn't rebounding it tonight."

WVU's shooting picked up in the second half, matching ISU's 54.8 percent.

Carter, the conference defensive player of the year, and Tarik Phillip, the Sixth Man, both earned a spot on the all-tournament team, joining ISU's Burton and Thomas.

Now its back to the drawing board for as the Mountaineers prepare for the NCAA tournament. They learn their post-season fate on Sunday.

"I'm ready to get in the gym and try to fix some things," Coach Huggins said.

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