West Virginia’s big upset win over No. 1 Kansas Tuesday night was their first over an AP top ranked team since back in 1983.
West Virginia fans stormed the court and sang John Denver’s “Country Roads” after the Mountaineers’ first win over a top-ranked team in 33 years.
That Mountaineer team defeated UNLV coached by Jerry Tarkanian. WVU was coached by Gale Catlett and led by high scoring guard Greg Jones.
That same Mountaineer squad came to the Williamson Fieldhouse for a pre-season scrimmage before the regular season started. I was a young sports announcer with WBTH radio at that time and was thrilled to interview both Catlett and Jones.
Many local WVU fans came out to watch the Mountaineers scrimmage at the historic venue.
The main reason for WVU’s visit was that Catlett was recruiting Williamson High School All-American Mark Cline. Cline was interested in WVU, but eventually chose to go to his father’s alma mater at Wake Forest to play in the ACC.
At that time West Virginia was in the Atlantic 10 and Cline wanted to go play in the tough ACC. He went up against the likes of Michael Jordan at North Carolina, the late Len Bias at Maryland and many more great players while suiting up for the Demon Deacons.
Cline, who led the Wolfpack to the 1984 Class AA state championship, is now an assistant coach for Marshall University and has coached at Virginia Tech, Oklahoma and Old Dominion.
Mountaineer fans were excited over the win Tuesday night, which aired to a nationally televised audience on ESPN2. However, things don’t get any easier for WVU as they play host to No. 2 Oklahoma on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. That game is also scheduled to be on ESPN.
… With his 780th career win, Coach Bob Huggins passed Lou Henson for 11th place all-time. Huggins is 780-313 in his 34th season of coaching.
… This is the third straight win for the Mountaineers over Kansas in Morgantown. Last year, Perry Ellis caught a long pass and missed a layup off the back of the rim just before the final buzzer, and the Jayhawks lost 62-61. In 2014, Andrew Wiggins returned to the state where he played prep school in Huntington. The freshman led a furious comeback with 41 points, but the Jayhawks couldn’t make up a 25-point deficit and lost 92-86.
… If WVU guard Jaysean Paige is not the best 6th man in the NCAA, then I don’t know who would be. Paige is averaging about 13 points per game coming off the bench. He scored 26 against Kansas and had five steals.
In Tuesday’s game, Paige made 14 of 17 free throws for the game. Teammate Devin Williams had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Williams also hit several key free throws down the stretch to help WVU hold onto its lead.
Paige was averaging about 20 points per game over the four games going into the Oklahoma State game, where he started for the injured Daxter Miles. He only scored nine in that game, before his big game off the bench vs. Kansas. He is also shooting 52 percent from the field.
Paige, a Brooklyn, New York native, played his senior season at Perry Central High School in Hazard, Ky. under former Williamson Coach Allan Hatcher. He averaged 21 points per game that season. Hatcher now coaches at his alma mater Logan High School.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)