The only cloud for WVU was Harris' ejection, an unnecessary retaliation. ("It was just a decision they made," Harris said of the officials. "It's just like any other decision in which I have no control. I just got dressed and watched the end of the game.")
That aside, it was the Mountaineers' night from start to finish. The student section got on Kane and the jeering seemed to have an effect. ("He had a tough night," Huggins said.) The standout missed free throws, once tossing an air ball, which delighted the WVU student section. His team, meanwhile, shot 8.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the first half on 1-of-12 shooting and finished at 17.4 percent on 4-of-23 shooting.
The students booed Kane and chanted that Staten was the league's MVP. Maybe that's a stretch, but one now has to consider Staten as a first-team all-league player.
Which leads us back to what the team could have been celebrating. There's Staten. There's the work Huggins has put in. (See the matchup defense, Ejim's 6-point output, WVU's 27 points off the bench, etc.)
Then there's the way the Mountaineers have come around.
"We're starting to mature as a team," Staten said. "When we get scouting reports, we're picking up more things. We're getting in the gym, little things."
"They're good guys," Huggins said. "They didn't point fingers or get down. They came to work. That's what you're supposed to do.
"That's our state. People go to work. It doesn't matter if a leg hurts or an arm hurts. This is what I'm used to. Last year we had guys get hurt and you didn't think they'd live."
Now, though, WVU is living right. The team's NCAA hopes are indeed alive after 25 games. And, in between, well, there's a little dancing going on in the student section.
"It's a great feeling," Noreen said, "because we haven't been able to do that in a long time. Feels good."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.