Southwell, Gipson Help K-State Past WVU, 78-56

Jan. 18, 2014

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K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Senior Shane Southwell and junior Thomas Gipson each scored 20 points, as Kansas State won its 10th consecutive game at home with a 78-56 win over West Virginia before a sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

K-State (14-4, 4-1 Big 12) has now won 12 of its last 13 games, including a sweep of Oklahoma and West Virginia at home this week, and moved to 4-1 in league play for the second consecutive season.

Southwell and Gipson paced a potent offense, as the Wildcats posted 70 or more points for the seventh time in the last nine games and connected on a season-high 54.9 percent (28-of-51) from the field, including 42.9 percent (9-of-21) from 3-point range. The squad also registered 22 assists on 28 made field goals to continue to pace the Big 12 with an assist on 64 percent of its field goals.

"It was a good win for us - a good all-around win," said head coach Bruce Weber. "It was good on both ends. I believe it was the best we shot all year and we have now shot the three-ball pretty well the last two games. Marcus [Foster] got in foul trouble early, Shane [Southwell] made some big plays, we moved the basketball and kind of made a run that broke their spirits before halftime. Then we had a good start to the second half, which kind of pinned them down, and at the end we just went with it."

Not to take a backseat to its offensive attack, K-State was again stellar on the defensive end, holding West Virginia (10-8, 2-3 Big 12) to a season-low 56 points on a season-low 32.7 percent (16-of-49), including 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from 3-point range. The Wildcats have now held 13 of their last 17 opponents to its season low in points, including to 60 or less on 10 occasions.

"We guarded - (Juwan) Staten is hard to guard and the rest of those guards keep coming at you," said Weber. "They jump out and (Eron) Harris hits a couple of three's right away, but after that we really locked in and did a good job of just being solid on defense."

The Mountaineers jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead in the opening three minutes of the game before a 25-7 run by the Wildcats put any chance of an upset away. Gipson and Southwell combined for 17 points during the run.

K-State held a double-digit lead for the last five minutes of the half, stretching the lead by as many as 15 points. Back-to-back dunks from Wesley Iwundu and Southwell in the last two minutes highlighted a great first-half performance, which saw the home team connect on 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the floor. The Wildcats went into halftime holding a 37-24 advantage.

After playing only three minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Marcus Foster caught fire quickly to begin the second period, scoring five points in the first two minutes. The team's leading scorer helped spark an 18-6 run to the start the half, giving the Wildcats a 55-30 lead, which all but put the game away. Foster finished the day with 15 points on the day.

Freshman Jevon Thomas had a career day, dishing out a game-high eight assists with zero turnovers. His best play of the day came on a no-look pass to Foster for a thunderous slam that got the crowd on their feet with 5:51 left in the game. Thomas also played a career-best 32 minutes.

The Mountaineers were led sophomore Eron Harris, who tallied a game-high 21 points and junior Juwan Staten, who added a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Despite being losing the rebounding battle, 33-32, the Wildcats dominated the paint scoring, 28-14.

K-State begins a two-game road swing on Tuesday with a trip to Austin, Texas, to face Texas (14-4, 3-2 Big 12) at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The Wildcats conclude the week on Saturday with a journey to nationally-ranked Iowa State (14-3, 2-3 Big 12) at 12:30 p.m. CT on the Big 12 Network.