In the grand scheme of things, it was but two points. Perhaps without it, West Virginia would have beaten William & Mary 80-45 Sunday at the Civic Center instead of the actual score that will go into the books, 82-45.
Then again, during a season in which West Virginia has at times muddled through both wins and losses — generally doing what was expected and not much more than that — maybe it was the kind of fire-starting spark the Mountaineers had so often lacked.
It came early. Just seven minutes had elapsed and WVU was still in a dogfight. William & Mary had led 6-2 and the game was still tied at 8 before Remi Dibo's second-chance 3-pointer — he'd missed his first try of the possession, Bob Huggins would later surmise, "by about 12 feet — gave the Mountaineers the lead for good. On the other end, Omar Prewitt missed a 3 and Juwan Staten got the rebound.
He never hesitated.
Staten grabbed the missed shot at about the free-throw line and practically chased Terry Tarpey straight down the middle of the floor. At the other end he had options to the right of him and trailing him to the left. He disregarded both.
Instead the 6-foot-1 point guard went straight at the stunned Tarpey and absolutely tomahawked the ball into the basket. A crowd of 8,885 went nuts and a moment later Dibo drained another 3-pointer. West Virginia was into a 15-0 run and the game would never be close again.
It was, quite simply, the beginning of the end of the game, a rout in which the Mountaineers (8-5) would ultimately lead by as many as 40 points. It was also the kind of game-changing play — a series, in truth, if you count Dibo's 3s — that West Virginia sorely lacked in so many other of its 13 non-conference games.
"That dunk,'' Terry Henderson would later say, "really set it off. A lot of times we haven't been able to make plays like that. It gets you going.''
It certainly got Staten going. It's not that he hasn't dunked before. He has. The fact is, he had one just as impressive early this season over Joey van Zegeren at Virginia Tech, but it was waved off because of a foul just before he launched.
This one, though, counted. It would propel the junior guard to a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double and, just as significantly, ended what he considered a long drought.
"My freshman year I was on [SportsCenter's] Top 10 with one,'' Staten said of his days before transferring from Dayton. "I thought it was about time I got another one.''