Kansas State Edges West Virginia

MORGANTOWN – Bob Huggins said it was the same play they used when Da’Sean Butler hit five game-winning shots during the 2009-10 season.

It worked a lot better then.

As it was West Virginia guard Gary Browne spent the last nine seconds of Saturday’s 65-64 loss to No. 18 Kansas State tracking down a tipped inbounds pass, dribbling two-thirds of the court, and having a short jump shot blocked as the buzzer sounded and Mountaineers fell to 8-7 overall, and 1-2 in the Big 12. Both of those league losses have come at home.

With starting point guard Juwan Staten, the man who got the last shot earlier in the season, sitting out because he’s not been “on the same page” with Huggins, the play was set up for Jabarie Hinds.

“I (was supposed to) get it to the basket or try and draw a foul, penetrate and kick, but I think I tripped or something,” Hinds said. “I got a finger tip on the ball but I couldn’t catch it and it went the other way.”

So too, did the Mountaineers’ chances of beating a ranked team for the 21st time under Huggins as the Wildcats (13-2, 2-0) wound up winning on a pair of free throws by Shane Southwell with 22 seconds left.

It was a game that was tied seven times, had 11 lead changes, and neither team led by more than seven, meaning the loser was going to be thinking about it for a while.

“That was our win,” WVU forward Kevin Noreen said. “Games like that hurt more than anything else because we had it and it slipped through our fingers. We had a chance and we didn’t capitalize on it.”

The Mountaineers trailed by three at 36-33 at halftime despite totaling four rebounds and getting zero second chance points.

Then again, with Kansas State hitting 15 of 22 shots and WVU making 11 of 17, including 3 of 4 from beyond the 3-point arc, there weren’t that many boards to be had.

That trend carried through the second half as both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field for the game. The Mountaineers began the second half with an 8-0 run that erased that three-point deficit and gave them their largest lead two minutes in. K-State then spent the better part of the next four minutes outscoring West Virginia 12-0 for its largest lead.

Hinds led the Mountaineers with 15 points despite missing 6 of 7 free throws, something he was lamenting later.

“That’s (six) points if you think about it,” said Hinds, who was much better from 3-point land (2 of 2). “Something happens good and something else something else lacks. I just have to get everything on the same page.”

As a team, the Mountaineers were 12 of 22 from the free-throw line.

Aaric Murray, with 11, and Terry Henderson, with 10, joined Hinds in double figures.

K-State’s Rodney McGruder, who went into the game having attempted 95 more shots than anyone else on his team, had 17 points. So too did Southwell for the Wildcats.