MORGANTOWN - The thought probably didn't occur to Juwan Staten during the 20 or so seconds he spent dribbling the clock down Tuesday night in Waco, Texas.
No, the majority of that time was occupied in the fundamental effort of attempting to simultaneously hang onto the basketball and not be called for a five-second violation.
"I knew if I could get the clock down to about 10 seconds,'' Staten said, "I could get a pretty good shot.''
Nor was it likely to have crossed his mind after he'd eliminated most of that time and begun the ultimate process of driving toward the basket to score, break a tie game and beat Baylor. The nature of how he was going to do that, after all, was more general than specific.
"Actually, I was expecting to end the game with some free throws,'' Staten said. "I missed a couple of big free throws and I knew that was probably something they were going to talk about in their huddle.''
Truth be told, even as Staten approached the basket, he probably didn't have a specific plan. That's just not the way things work. If you're trying to make something happen, sometimes it's better to just go with the flow. There are others involved, after all, and where all those other moving parts wind up and what they seem intent upon doing is naturally going to affect the outcome.
"But they played straight man and didn't do anything we really didn't expect,'' Staten said, a bit surprised. "So I actually got a better shot than I expected.''
And that's when it finally hit him. Not in the time he was working the clock or starting to get to the basket or even when he approached his destination. It was in the split second when Staten finally got there, running to and ultimately past the rim, that the light bulb went off.
He was there, at the basket, along with two Baylor defenders. Because of those two, Staten had already missed an opportunity to simply put in a layup, which is his M.O. almost every time. He'd passed the point of shooting and was already under the basket. Because of that, his options were limited.
That's when a funny thing happened. Staten's father showed up. No, not physically, but in the same place he always shows up.
"My dad, he's always in my head, giving me stuff to think about,'' Staten said. "And he told me I'm not shooting enough reverse layups.''
And so that West Virginia managed a fairly significant 66-64 win Tuesday night in Waco when Staten shot - and made - that reverse layup with three seconds to play is as much thanks to Billy Staten as to his son.