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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Daxter Miles’ 23-point outburst began with an offensive rebound, the kind of tenacity No. 10 West Virginia has been seeking from its most athletic guard.
He finished with six offensive boards and the Mountaineers used a dominant rebounding effort to pummel No. 24 Iowa State 87-76 on Friday night in the regular-season finale.
“Well, that’s been a process,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who joked before the game about Miles typically avoiding the lane as if there’s infectious disease. “I’ve been wearing him out about it. We play three guards and he has to be the guy to help rebound.”
Senior Night honoree Nathan Adrian scored 16 points as West Virginia (24-7, 12-6 Big 12) secured the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tournament.
Point guard Jevon Carter contributed 13 points and four assists and was among three players to grab eight rebounds for West Virginia, part of a 48-29 edge. Fellow guard Tarik Phillip, another senior, combined eight rebounds with a career-best 10 assists.
Naz Mitrou-Long scored 22 for Iowa State (20-10, 12-6 Big 12), which came in having won six of seven. After beginning the weekend in second place, the Cyclones could slip to the Big 12 tournament’s No. 4 seed if Baylor beats Texas on Saturday.
They shot only 38 percent from the floor, including 30 percent after halftime, when a one-point deficit ballooned to 17.
“I’ll have to look at the tape to see if we really stayed in our actions enough or if we kind of bailed on it and went one-on-one a little bit,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm. “If you shoot 38 percent and get out-rebounded by 20, that’s not good enough to win on the road.”
Monte Morris and Deonte Burton finished 17 each and Matt Thomas added 14, but the Cyclones were never in it after West Virginia’s 12-0 run opened up a 65-51 lead.
During that second-half stretch, in which six consecutive fouls went against Iowa State, Prohm drew a technical when no foul was called on West Virginia center Sagaba Konate’s three blocks.
“I shouldn’t get that. I apologize,” said Prohm, who fell to 0-4 against the Mountaineers in his two seasons. “They did what they wanted to do from the standpoint that they frustrate you.”
Though “Press Virginia” didn’t produce an avalanche of turnovers — WVU actually committed one more (15) than the visitors — Iowa State felt the frustration.
“Even though we didn’t turn them over as much, they had to work,” Huggins said. “I think at the end a lot of their shots were short, and that’s generally a sign that you’ve got tired legs.”
Miles scored 14 points by halftime, a breakout showing for the junior who averaged about 6 points during the previous 14 games.
“Yeah, I would like to do this every night,” said Miles, who finished 4 of 8 from 3-point range. “It’s been a while since I felt this good. I was just feeding off the momentum.”
At the end of a first half in which the teams combined to shoot 15-of-29 on 3s, Morris sank a 24-footer that pulled Iowa State to within 43-42.
Mitrou-Long, the Big 12 leader in 3-point baskets, made 5-of-7 from deep in the opening half, but he missed his next five straight shots and didn’t score again until 7:10 remained in the game.