MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - After West Virginia handled Kansas State Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum, Bob Huggins sat as always and answered questions with a copy of the box score on the table in front of him.
On that sheet he saw all the numbers, the most significant being Juwan Staten's 35 points and his 18-for-21 performance at the free-throw line. There were also defensive statistics that stood out, not the least of which was holding two of the Wildcats' most dangerous scorers, Shane Southwell and Will Spradling, to a combined 14 points.
But here's what he didn't see on that sheet: much of a statistical contribution from two of his own explosive scorers. Eron Harris and Terry Henderson combined for 24 points, which isn't awful but still below their norms. But what was rather amazing was that at halftime they had 22 points. In the second half they combined for just two.
So Huggins was asked how surprising it was that his team had won with just two second-half points from arguably his two best shooters. Had the outcome been different, certainly he would have pointed to that and opined that getting two points from Harris and Henderson in the last 20 minutes of a tight game was a recipe for disaster.
"Yeah, probably,'' Huggins said. "I mean, let's be honest, [Staten's] not going to get 35 every game.''
Indeed, while Staten's performance against Kansas State bordered on otherworldly, it's not something he's going to repeat regularly. The Wildcats were not prepared for his success or the change in West Virginia's offensive scheme that opened the door for what he accomplished.
Other opponents are likely to be more prepared, beginning with No. 21 Oklahoma (17-5, 6-3). The Sooners visit the Coliseum today for a 7 p.m. game against the Mountaineer (13-9, 5-4) that will be televised by ESPNU.
The question remains, though, how effective West Virginia can be spreading the floor and depending upon Staten to take advantage of that. How will opponents answer?
It would certainly help if Harris and Henderson - as well as Remi Dibo and Nathan Adrian - can make shots. While they didn't make a single shot in the second half against Kansas State, they only attempted a combined five, and only one was a 3-point try. They made none, the two second-half points they produced coming on two Henderson free throws.
Huggins is well aware that that was an anomaly, that his team isn't likely to win a lot of games without a field goal from Harris and Henderson when games are tight. But it was good to see that at least it is possible.