"We know it only gets harder from here,'' said Terry Henderson, whose 3-pointer late in regulation sent the Texas Tech game to overtime. "But it's good to get these two.''
Perhaps the only real surprise Monday was that the Mountaineers had to overcome a Staten mistake to win. That technical foul came at the end of a characteristically clutch play, Staten driving through heavy traffic and making a shot to put WVU up by four with about four minutes to play.
But just after the ball went through, the whistle blew and referee John Higgins called Staten for the technical.
"I actually didn't say anything,'' Staten said. "I just looked at him. That's why I was surprised when they called the [technical], because I didn't say anything.
"I actually thought it was a late whistle for a foul or something. I just kind of looked around to see who it was that jumped on me like that. I don't know, but it happened and we got through it.''
Again, the Mountaineers got through it in large part because of Staten. Yes, nearly everyone else contributed clutch plays, from freshmen Brandon Watkins and Devin Williams under the basket, to fellow freshman Nathan Adrian with a key steal and layup to start overtime, to Henderson's big shot and to Eron Harris with an assist and a layup on back-to-back overtime possessions when his 3-point shot wasn't working.
But Staten, as always, was the one who was always involved. He was either driving to the basket or pulling up on his way to 25 points (on 10-of-12 shooting), including a huge play when he barely got a shot off at the end of the shot clock and only 35 seconds remained in overtime. He drew a foul on the play and made both shots to give WVU a four-point lead that would be just enough.
A great part of that is just naturally what Staten does. But a part of it, he admits, went back to that look he got from Huggins after the technical.
"I knew I had to make plays,'' Staten said.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.