West Virginia bounces back from flat start to down Kansas State, 66-57

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Having seen this movie before, Bob Huggins didn’t take very long to hit pause against Kansas State Saturday afternoon.

Less than three minutes into the game, an angered Huggins called timeout and subbed in an entirely new five-man lineup.

The message?

“We’re gonna get our ass back on defense,” Huggins said. “Or you’re coming out.”

That message was heard, with No. 12 West Virginia recovering to work its way to a 66-57 win over the Wildcats (9-12, 2-6).

“You’re not much of a player if you don’t respond from a loss,” Huggins said.

That was doubly true for the Mountaineers. West Virginia (17-4, 5-3 Big 12) lost to Texas Tech its last time out, and was completely humbled by Kansas State when the teams played in Manhattan just two weeks ago.

Poor three-point defense was a common thread in both defeats, with Texas Tech shooting 65 percent and Kansas State shooting 50 percent from outside in those games. There was nothing to be found behind the arc for the Wildcats on Saturday as they shot 3-for-17 (17.3 percent).

“That’s the low of the year for us, and that makes it tough,” said Kansas State coach Bruce Weber. “That’s probably why we beat them at our place. We made those shots. We spread the defense.”

“It wasn’t a good shooting night for anybody. Makes it an ugly game,” Huggins said. “I don’t mind ugly as long we win.”

West Virginia was 42 percent from the field, and while the Mountaineers once again struggled from three-point range (6 of 19), the ones they made came at crucial moments.

Game Highlights

Nearly four minutes elapsed in the second half before either team could hit a bucket, and it came in the form of a Chase Harler three to make it a two-possession game.

Minutes later, Taz Sherman drained a three as the shot clock expired that increased the margin to seven.

When the game was reaching the home stretch, Deuce McBride turned a beautiful feed from Derek Culver into another trey that put the Mountaineers ahead by double digits.

Harler hit another that essentially kept the game out of reach, putting West Virginia up by 11 with just under two minutes left.

Most of the offensive damage was done by Culver, who recorded his sixth double-double this season with 19 points and 11 rebounds. He was the only Mountaineer to finish in double figures in either category.

Cartier Diarra, who exploded for 25 points on the Mountaineers in Manhattan, was limited to eight points in the rematch.

Next Up

West Virginia hosts a team headed in the wrong direction.

Iowa State (9-12, 2-6) comes to the Coliseum for a 7 p.m. tip on Wednesday. The Cyclones have lost five of their last six following Saturday’s defeat at Texas.

Bob Huggins postgame press conference

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