MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kansas State, having won three consecutive games in the series, returned to the Coliseum for a Big 12 matchup against the Mountaineers. This time was different, however, thanks to Juwan Staten’s career-high 35 points and a late surge that lifted the Mountaineers to an 81-71 win.
Recapping the in-game updates:
West Virginia is seeking atonement for its 78-56 beatdown in Manhattan. Kevin Noreen’s assessment of what went wrong for the Mountaineers offensively on Jan. 18: “We were making one pass and then shooting the ball, instead of making them pay for helping so much.”
Bob Huggins appreciates the way the Wildcats’ help defense is seemingly always there after initial defenders are beaten off the bounce. However, with such a commitment to help eventually comes another opening. “When you help that much and support as much as they support, ball reversal is going to hurt you—that’s anybody,” Huggins said.
Noreen on Thomas Gipson, who scored 20 against WVU in the first meeting and went off for 24 against Texas in the ensuing game: “You have to make sure you take away his right shoulder because he’s left-handed. You want to keep the ball out of his hands, but he’s going to get it eventually, and when he does get it you want to make sure you’re sitting on that right shoulder.” … Though Gipson isn’t an elite athlete, Huggins notes that he plays wide with sturdy base. “Post play is about space and angles, and he’s probably got the best understanding of how to use space and how to use angles as anybody in our league.”
KANSAS STATE 17, WEST VIRGINIA 17 (11:52 first half)
Freshman Marcus Foster, who looks like another under-recruited gem for K-State, has seven points in the first eight minutes. The Wildcats are shooting 62 percent thanks to three layups, while WVU is at 47 percent. Huggins opened with Dibo in the lineup but he’s out after an 0-of-2 start and Nate Adrian sank a 3 off the bench.
WEST VIRGINIA 27, KANSAS STATE 22 (6:55 first half)
Who says Eron Harris and Terry Henderson can’t prosper simultaneously? Each has nine points as WVU gets rolling in the first half. Henderson punctuated the most exciting play so far, flushing home an alley-oop from Juwan Staten. The Mountaineers hold a 6-0 edge in points off turnovers.
WEST VIRGINIA 31, KANSAS STATE 27 (3:40 first half)
Shane Southwell commits his second foul at the 4:31 mark—a futile reach-in near halfcourt that sends Harris to the line. K-State has committed nine fouls to WVU’s five. The Wildcats hold a narrow 16-15 edge in rebounding, led by Gipson’s five.
WEST VIRGINIA 39, KANSAS STATE 31 (halftime)
The Wildcats ended the half with five players committing two fouls, including an offensive rebounding foul with 2.8 seconds left. That sent Brandon Watkins to the line on the opposite end, where the big freshman missed both. The Mountaineers were 12-of-16 from the foul line while K-State was 1-of-4, but if college officials have taught us anything, it’s that fouls tend to even out, part of that whole game-management philosophy that drives me nuts.
WEST VIRGINIA 39, KANSAS STATE 31 (halftime)
Three WVU players reached double-figure scoring in the first half—Staten with 12, Harris and Henderson with 11 each. Recall that two weeks ago in Manhattan, the Mountaineers scored 56 total. … WVU holds a 20-19 edge in rebounding, led by Henderson’s four. … After a hot start, K-State made just 4-of-17 shots to close the half, dipping its shooting percentage to 42 percent.
WEST VIRGINIA 45, KANSAS STATE 42 (15:51 second half)
The WVU lead momentarily grew to 10 points after a Staten 3-pointer from the left wing, but Kansas State sinks 5-of-6 shots to open the second half and makes this one tight. Will be interesting to see how WVU responds out of the media timeout—particularly on the defensive end.
WEST VIRGINIA 62, KANSAS STATE 59 (7:07 second half)
After Kansas State leveled the game at 53-all, Staten’s basket started a 7-0 Mountaineers run. But a Foster alley-oop dunk closed it to a three-point margin heading into the media timeout. …. Staten has 27 points, thanks to 12-of-15 free-throw shooting as he’s beating K-State off the dribble almost anytime he chooses. He also has five assists and only one turnover.
WEST VIRGINIA 68, KANSAS STATE 67 (3:01 second half)
Huggins calls timeout after K-State goes on 6-0 run. The Wildcats has made their last six shots, virtually all from within three feet. Foster has 22 and Gipson 19 for the visitors, who have made it a game despite 7-of-17 foul shooting. Of course their 75-percent shooting from the floor mitigates that somewhat. (By the way, Henderson and Harris are currently scoreless and 0-of-5 in the second half.)
WEST VIRGINIA 75, KANSAS STATE 68 (1:05 second half)
Huge sequence for WVU as Dibo hits a 3 to make it 71-67, and then Henderson steals a pass on K-State’s ensuing possession and makes both free throws with 1:55 left. … Later, Henderson and Dibo combine on a sideline trap to force Southwell into a turnover.
WEST VIRGINIA 81, KANSAS STATE 71 (final)
As if Staten’s day could get any better, he gets a runout dunk with 22 seconds left and finishes with 35 points. He was 17-of-20 at the foul line and took a postgame swing through the student section. More postgame updates forthcoming after we talk with coaches and players,