West Virginia's Devin Williams had his best performance of the year in the 92-86 win over Kansas,…
WVU had earned that signature win it was searching for to gain momentum heading into the Big 12 Conference tournament.
"It felt great," Staten said. "We got a win in the Coliseum. Knowing it was Spring Break and seeing all those students stay to support us here today was just a great feeling."
With its postseason fate on the line, the Mountaineers played 40 minutes of inspired basketball against a handful of lottery picks and did not back down when the Jayhawks made a late run and cut the WVU lead to single digits. West Virginia seized the momentum early and did not look back.
After a back-and-forth start to the game saw the two teams go into the first media timeout tied at 9-9, WVU got a boost from its talented freshman forward Devin Williams, whose 10 consecutive points helped lead WVU to an 18-11 advantage that Kansas was never able to come back from.
The Mountaineers were on fire throughout the first 20 minutes of play, led by Williams' 18 points. The freshman and the guard duo of Staten and Eron Harris would combine to score 45 of WVU's 50 points in the first half, as it would head into the locker room with a 50-38 lead.
"It's a big difference (when Williams emerges as the third scorer). He scores through contact and he can score it close," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "Think about how much his confidence has come on. He listens and he does what you ask him to do. He makes a big difference."
Things didn't slow down any as the second half got started. A 14-1 run to start the half extended the Mountaineer lead to 64-39 and forced Kansas to use all of its timeouts with more than 17 minutes to play.
From there, the teams continued to trade baskets back and forth once again, with WVU finding ways to get stops or make crucial shots to slow down any momentum the Jayhawks were hoping to get in their favor.
Kansas was able to make it close with less than seven minutes when Andrew Wiggins went on a 7-0 run by himself to cut it to a 10-point game.
The Mountaineers struggled to find an answer for Wiggins, who scored 41 points on 12 of 18 shooting and single-handedly got Kansas back in the game by scoring 24 in the second half.
A three by Frank Mason cut the WVU lead to five points with less than a minute to play. The 12-0 run for the Jayhawks came due to a great performance by the nation's No. 8 team on both ends of the floor. After an Eron Harris layup with 4:16 to play, the Mountaineers did not score again until Staten made two free throws with 45 seconds to play.
"Everybody has seen how good we can be. We just beat the best team in the league and we were blowing them out, basically, the whole game," Harris said. "That should show the whole country that West Virginia has great potential. We just have to be consistent."
The trio of Williams, Staten and Harris led the way for the WVU attack, scoring 74 of the team's 92 points. Williams had his third consecutive double-double, finishing with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds. Harris led the team with 28 points while Staten finished with 24 points and nine assists.
Wiggins became the first WVU opponent to score 40 or more on the Mountaineers since Jeremy Hazell in 2009. Mason and Perry Ellis were the only other Jayhawks in double figures, scoring 10 and 14 points, respectively.