He had two fouls Saturday after not committing any in 80 minutes the previous two games. He somehow has six games with no fouls and five with more than two.
"I don't like fouling because I don't like to be fouled," he said. "I enjoy being fouled in a game because you get free throws, but nobody likes to be touched. Any sport you play, you don't like to be touched. I don't like to touch people either."
To foul so little and play so much is an achievement that's only amplified by the fact he's playing point guard and guarding point guards who are enabled by the rules new to college basketball this season.
Defenders aren't allowed to keep a hand on or place two hands on an opponent and can't jab at the ball handler. It's been hard for many to break those habits, especially when guarding players who move with the ball as often as the point guard. Staten has made the most of the rules and Saturday matched a school record by making 18 free throws. His 21 attempts were the most in a WVU game in 50 years.
He's made (119) and attempted (165) more free throws than anyone else in the Big 12, but the next three ranked in free-throw attempts are all point guards, including freshman Jordan Woodward, who leads Oklahoma (17-5, 6-3) into the Coliseum for Wednesday's 7 p.m. game on ESPNU. Woodward is 118-for-154 from the line this season.
Staten said he realized early on he couldn't pressure his opponent as much as he had hoped to this season. He's instead concentrated on keeping his hands off his opponents and avoiding risks that lead to a foul.
Yet his 29 steals are the fifth-most in the league and his average per game (1.29) is No. 6.
"I would consider myself a smart player on defense," he said. "I pick my spots. I wouldn't say I don't play defense, because I do get a lot of steals and I really pay attention to who I'm guarding. If that person doesn't like to shoot the ball, I'll give them some room so I don't get beaten off the dribble. If that person loves to shoot the ball from the outside, I give them more pressure. I try to take their strength away."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu.