Kansas State University

Kansas State knocks off No. 7 West Virginia 79-75

Bruce Weber: 'We made good decisions' in upset of West Virginia

Kansas State Coach Bruce Weber, flanked by Barry Brown and Wesley Iwundu, said the Wildcats made good decisions in their 79-75 victory over No. 7 West Virginia.
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Kansas State Coach Bruce Weber, flanked by Barry Brown and Wesley Iwundu, said the Wildcats made good decisions in their 79-75 victory over No. 7 West Virginia.

Highlights of Kansas State's victory over No. 7 West Virginia 79-75

Kamau Stokes pumped his fist and screamed after he drove the length of the court for a buzzer-beating layup. Dean Wade wrapped him up in a bear hug. Wesley Iwundu found the nearest camera and told everyone watching “we’re going to win.”

It was only halftime, but the wild celebration turned out to be a preview of the things to come inside Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday.

Saturday’s box score

Kansas State, thanks in large part to a furious rally at the end of the first half, defeated No. 7 West Virginia 79-75 for its first victory of the season against a ranked opponent.

“When you make a play like that and we went on that run, it meant a lot,” Stokes said. “It definitely gave us that push going into the second half to win. It came down to making big plays, and we made them.”

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The Wildcats (15-4, 4-3 Big 12) appeared overmatched late in the first half as the Mountaineers (15-4, 4-3) used their deep roster and stifling full-court defense to race to a 38-26 lead, but that changed in a flash when K-State ramped up its own defensive intensity.

Sensing things were slipping away, the Wildcats began attacking the Mountaineers and the rim. The same team that struggled to inbound the ball and find open looks for the majority of the first half dominated the final two minutes with a 10-0 run.

Here’s how it happened: D.J. Johnson made two free throws and a put-back bucket, Carlbe Ervin hit a reverse layup, Stokes made two free throws and then finished off the half with a driving shot in traffic.

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No one on the K-State bench wanted to leave the floor, but the Wildcats kept their hot play going after intermission and started the second half on a 14-6 run to take a 50-44 lead on an and-one layup from Wade. The Wildcats forcecd turnovers the whole way to stretch their lead.

“The big thing was stops,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “We got back in the game with the great run at the end of the first half and the start to the second half all because of stops. That didn’t allow them to press. We got to push their defense down the court, made good decisions, got the ball in the paint and just played good basketball.”

All five K-State starters finished in double figures. Barry Brown and Stokes led the way with 15 points each, Johnson added 14 and Iwundu and Wade both had 13.

Tarik Phillip led West Virginia with a game-high 20 points.

K-State had lost five straight in this series with Bruce Weber often complaining about how difficult it has been to play against West Virginia since Bob Huggins switched to a full-court press. It’s common to see the Wildcats turning the ball over and complaining about officials whenever they play the Mountaineers.

This time around, that stress was applied to West Virginia, which lost an uncharacteristically high 23 turnovers.

Huggins twice called timeouts early in the second half to try and slow K-State’s momentum and argue with officials. None of it worked.

“It doesn’t matter when you throw the ball to the other team,” Huggins said. “You can’t turn the ball over 23 times and win.”

Still, West Virginia made a late push after it K-State benefited from a bizarre flagrant foul against Iwundu.

The senior wing drove to the basket for a dunk with 7:43 remaining and K-State on top 65-55. He missed the shot through contact and officials called a foul on West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate, but they also stopped the game to review the play for excessive conduct.

K-State fans suspected Konate might pick up a flagrant foul. Instead, Iwundu was assessed a technical for inadvertently elbowing Konate after missing his dunk attempt.

The unexpected turn gave West Virginia free throws and the ball, and it took advantage with a series of free throws, steals and layups that gave it a 66-65 advantage with 5:07 to go on an and-one drive from Phillip.

A game K-State had control of suddenly looked in doubt, but the Wildcats did a nice job of stabilizing and regaining the lead.

Things were in doubt until the end, but Barry Brown clinched the game on a transition layup with 22.9 seconds remaining.

“I was just trying to tell everyone, still, to get that last stop and to not give up that last play,” Brown said. “I wanted to come out with the win. It’s great, especially after being on this team last year when we couldn’t get over the hump (against ranked teams). We showed the courage to come out and home and get a win over a good team like West Virginia.”

The Wildcats now won consecutive Big 12 games for the first time this season and will try to make it three in a row on Tuesday against Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum.

They kept their winning streak going Saturday with big plays at the end of the first half.

“It gave us a lot of confidence, especially in this type of game. It was a game of runs,” Iwundu said. “Being down 11 in the first half, we knew we had to do something to give ourselves a chance to get back in the game. We did a great job closing out that first half and building momentum in the second half. That was pretty big for us. Beating a great team like West Virginia, that’s a great win.”

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

KANSAS STATE 79, No. 7 WEST VIRGINIA 75

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

West Virginia

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Adrian

29

3-6

2-2

5

4

9

Ahmad

21

1-6

2-2

2

3

4

Watkins

11

0-2

0-0

0

5

0

Carter

35

3-12

5-7

10

4

13

Miles

30

4-8

2-2

6

1

11

Phillip

24

7-11

3-4

3

3

20

Konate

19

2-4

0-0

4

4

4

West

12

2-3

3-3

1

0

8

Macon

9

0-1

2-2

3

5

2

Myers

9

1-2

2-2

1

0

4

Bolden

1

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Totals

200

23-55

21-24

35

30

75

Percentages: FG .418, FT .875. Three-Point Goals: 8-21, .381 (Phillip 3-4, Carter 2-7, West 1-2, Adrian 1-4, Miles 1-4). Team Rebounds: 3. Team Turnovers: 23 (0 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Ahmad, Macon). Turnovers: 23 (Adrian 4, Konate 4, Myers 4, Ahmad 2, Carter 2, Macon 2, Phillip 2, Watkins 2, Miles). Steals: 7 (Carter 5, Adrian 2). Technical Fouls: None.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Kansas State

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Iwundu

36

6-11

1-4

9

4

13

Johnson

31

5-7

4-10

8

4

14

Wade

36

5-10

1-1

5

0

13

Brown

29

5-10

3-4

2

3

15

Stokes

36

4-12

6-8

2

3

15

Ervin

14

2-4

2-2

3

1

7

Sneed

11

0-1

0-2

0

2

0

Maurice

7

1-1

0-0

1

3

2

Totals

200

28-56

17-31

30

20

79

Percentages: FG .500, FT .548. Three-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (Brown 2-3, Wade 2-5, Ervin 1-2, Stokes 1-4, Sneed 0-1, Iwundu 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Team Turnovers: 13 (0 PTS). Blocked Shots: 1 (Sneed). Turnovers: 13 (Iwundu 5, Stokes 3, Sneed 2, Brown, Ervin, Maurice). Steals: 12 (Sneed 3, Stokes 3, Brown 2, Johnson 2, Wade 2). Technical Fouls: Iwundu, 7:43 second.

Half: West Virginia 38-36. Attendance: 12,528.

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