K-State Drops Slugfest to 17/17 West Virginia, 65-59


MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State was forced into a season-high 25 turnovers by a relentless West Virginia press in its 65-59 loss to the Mountaineers on Tuesday in front of a sellout crowd of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State (12-9, 5-3 Big 12) shot 36.7 percent (18-of-49) from the field, the second-worst shooting outing of the season, including 57.1 percent (20-of-35) from the free throw line – the Wildcats entered the contest shooting 76 percent from the stripe in Big 12 play.

The Wildcats’ pressure forced West Virginia (17-3, 5-2 Big 12) into a season-high 20 turnovers, holding the Mountaineers to 36.4 percent (20-of-55) shooting. West Virginia also won the bench scoring battle 35-13 en route to victory.

Sophomore Marcus Foster paced the Wildcats for the seventh time this season with 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 from the free throw line. Wesley Iwundu was the only other Wildcat in double figures, scoring 12 points, corralling six rebounds, and dishing out a team high three assists.

Also of note, Nino Williams, who led K-State in scoring the previous three games, scored six points in eight minutes of play before leaving due to an injury.

The Basics
Final Score: 17/17 West Virginia 65, Kansas State, 59
Records: Kansas State (12-9, 5-3 Big 12); 17/17 West Virginia (17-3, 5-2 Big 12)
Attendance: 12,528 (paid)
Next Game: Saturday, Jan. 31 \\ vs. 9/11 Kansas (16-3, 5-1 Big 12) \\ 1 p.m. CT \\ ESPN

The Short Story
•    K-State played perhaps its worst game of the season, shooting 36.7 percent (18-of-49) from the field and only 57.1 percent from the charity stripe (20-of-35). West Virginia, who on average force 21.9 turnovers per game, forced the Wildcats into 25 miscues.
•    The Wildcats held West Virginia to 65 points on 36.4 percent (20-of-55) shooting, the Mountaineers’ fourth-worst outing of the season. It was the 13th time K-State has held an opponent to 65 points or less this season.
•    In the first half, the teams combined for 51 total fouls and turnovers while scoring a combined 50 points. In total, the game saw 45 turnovers forced, 54 fouls committed, and a combined shooting percentage of 36.5 percent (38-of-104).
•    Marcus Foster led K-State in scoring for a seventh time this season, tallying 15 points. Wesley Iwundu was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 12 points.
•    Nino Williams was limited to just eight minutes for the Wildcats after picking up an apparent injury in the first half. Williams scored six points in the early going, but his streak of being K-State’s leading scorer ended after three games.
•    No West Virginia player exceeded 30 minutes of play, with eight Mountaineers registering double-digit minutes.

How It Happened  |  First Half
•    For the second straight game, K-State shot free throws for a technical foul issued within the first minute of play. Marcus Foster got the Wildcats on the board in 19 seconds and added a dunk before the first media timeout, with K-State leading 7-1.
•    The Wildcats would not hit a field goal for the next 5:16 of play as West Virginia used a 9-0 run to pull within one point, 11-10, with 10:41 left to play in the first half.
•    After taking their second lead of the game with 5:56 remaining in the first half, the Mountaineers used two free throws from a technical foul issued on K-State’s bench and an ensuing 3-pointer to go up six, 23-17, with 4:54 left in the first half. They would take a 26-24 advantage into the half.
•    K-State was spun into 14 first half turnovers and shot only 24.1 (7-of-29) percent from the field, the third-worst shooting half for the Wildcats this season. It was the lowest shooting percentage in a half since shooting 21.7 percent in the first half against Georgia on Dec. 31, 2014.
•    The Wildcats outrebounded the Mountaineers by a 23-16 margin, but were beaten in second chance points, 9-2.
•    Nino Williams led K-State with six points and two rebounds despite playing only eight minutes before leaving with an apparent injury.

How It Happened  |  Second Half
•    K-State regained the lead to begin the second half, scoring the first six points and holding West Virginia scoreless for the opening 3:11.
•    West Virginia then scored on five-straight possessions via five different players to regain a 38-35 lead with 13:56 left to play.
•    Nigel Johnson tied the game on a layup for the seventh and final time with 11:29 remaining, but West Virginia surged for a 9-1 run over the next 2:08 to break it open, 49-41.
•    K-State came within three points, 51-48, with 6:05 to go after a Foster free throw, but the Wildcats could not compound defensive stops and score at the other end. West Virginia scored 10-of-15 free throws in the last six minutes to seal the deal.
•    The Wildcats improved it’s shooting to 55.0 percent (11-of-20) after the break, but connected on only 10-of-22 free throws, while committing 11 turnovers.
•    Foster played all 20 minutes in the second half for the Wildcats and led all scorers after intermission with 12 points on 3-of-7 shooting.
•    West Virginia’s bench outscored the Wildcats 19-7 in the second half and outrebounded K-State, 20-15.

Beyond the Boxscore
•    K-State leads the all-time series with West Virginia, 4-3, including 2-1 at home… The Wildcats are now 3-3 against former K-State head coach Bob Huggins.
•    K-State is now 42-6 at home under Bruce Weber, including 20-3 in Big 12 play.
•    Under Weber, the Wildcats are 15-8 in the month of January.
•    K-State held the Mountaineers to 65 points, the 13th time the Wildcats have limited an opponent to 65 points or less this season.
•    The Wildcats forced West Virginia into 20 turnovers, a season-high for the Mountaineers.

•    “We told them it was going to be a bar room fight and that is just how it was. That is how they play. They play aggressive and foul every possession. You have to play strong, deal with it, and make your free throws when they do foul you. I thought we hung in there. We told them Texas turned the ball over 19 times and beat them by 20 points. We said we were going to turn it over, but we did not need 25 of them. It would have been nice to be around 17 or 19. I thought that would be our goal. They turned it over 20. The other part is we out rebounded them, and they are one of the best rebounding teams in the Big 12. We get 13 offensive rebounds, they get 12, but we still lose the second chance point battle 14 to 7. We had opportunities, and we did not finish. They make you play basketball. We told the guys you got to play. They make you fight for it. They make you make the next play or pass. We had to go through it and learn from it. We still had chances. It is just disappointing to lose at home. We cannot hang our heads. We have to go to Kansas on Saturday and obviously it does not get any easier,” said head coach Bruce Weber.

Up Next
•    K-State returns to action on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Lawrence, Kan., to play No. 9/11 Kansas (16-3, 5-1 Big 12) in the annual Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN. The squad will return home on Saturday, Feb. 7 to host 19/20 Texas (14-6, 3-4 Big 12) at 3 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2.