It's no surprise to hear West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins harp on two subjects: defense and rebounding. After the Mountaineers out-rebounded Iowa State by 19 and put the foot down defensively in the second half, Huggins was much more pleased with both of those items than the last time he gave a post-game news conference.
"I thought our effort was better," Huggins said about his team's performance on the glass. "You know, we tried to emphasize it more (after being out-rebounded by 20 at Baylor)."
Specifically, the rebounding of Huggins' guards stood out. And while Daxter Miles Jr. scored 22 points, his six offensive rebounds probably left more of an impression on his head coach.
"It's been a process," said Huggins. "I thought maybe after he got a couple (of rebounds) against Texas Tech it would spark him to get another one. Until today it hasn't. I've been wearing him out about it."
It appears as if Huggins coaching has rubbed off on the trio of Tarik Phillip, Daxter Miles and Jevon Carter, as the guards combined for 23 rebounds in the contest. Something else that the team has obviously been listening to it Huggins' desire to see better effort defensively. After Iowa State started the contest red hot, they cooled down and according to Huggins the Mountaineers made the Cyclones work for everything they got.
"Honestly, I shouldn't say it because I'm certainly not in their huddle or in their locker room, but I just think even though we didn't turn them over as much they had to work. I think at the end of a lot of their shots were short, and that's a sign that you have tired legs. I thought our guys - this is the best we've done in a while of trying to execute a defensive game plan. I thought we were making them work to get off of the floor, making Morris work to get the ball back one step past half court. I thought that was effective for us."