MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – No. 15/11 West Virginia jumped out to a quick lead that it never relented, as the Mountaineers snapped a three-game losing streak with an 89-51 win over Kansas State on Saturday afternoon at a near sold-out WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia (16-6, 5-4 Big 12) led for nearly the entire 40 minutes, as the Mountaineers held the Wildcats to a season-low 29.8 percent shooting (14-of-47), including 22.2 percent (6-of-27) in the second half, while forcing them into 15 turnovers. The 51 points were the fewest by K-State this season and the lowest point total since scoring 50 against West Virginia in the semifinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 10, 2017.
Junior forward Dean Wade led the Wildcats with 17 points on 6-of-13 field goals, while sophomore guard Xavier Sneed added 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting with all five field goals coming from 3-point range.
K-State (16-7, 5-5 Big 12) have now dropped back-to-back games to ranked teams since a four-game win streak. The Wildcats have lost five straight games to the Mountaineers at the WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia connected on 54.9 percent (28-of-51) from the field, including 60.9 percent (14-of-23) in the second half, and had a quartet of players score in double figures led by sophomore forward Sagaba Konate’s game-high 19 points on 7-of-9 field goals and a game-best 9 rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Mountaineers turned up the pressure from the start, forcing five Wildcat early turnovers to take a 9-5 lead with just five minutes into the first half. The lead was extended to 12-7 after a 3-point play by reserve forward Logan Routt before K-State responded with four 3-point fields, including three by sophomore guard Xavier Sneed, during a five-play sequence to close the gap to 21-19 at the 11:26 mark.
West Virginia answered with a 10-3 run, which included 3-pointers from junior guard Esa Ahmed and sophomore guard James Bolden to push ahead, 31-22, and force head coach Bruce Weber to call his first timeout with 6:04 remaining in the half. The lead grew to double digits at 34-24 after a 3-point play by sophomore forward Sagaba Konate with 4:26 remaining.
K-State nearly went the reminder of the half without a field goal before a follow by freshman forward Levi Stockard III with two seconds left ended the drought and closed it to 39-30 at the half. West Virginia connected on 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field, scoring nine points off of 10 turnovers and posting 10 second-chance points off of six offensive rebounds. The Wildcats shot just 40 percent (8-of-20) from the field in the half.
A pair of Bolden free throws pushed the lead back in double figures just seconds into the second half before a foul and technical on junior guard Barry Brown, Jr., gave the Mountaineers a 50-35 lead on the strength of six quick points at the 16:36 mark. Consecutive buckets from junior forward Dean Wade got the Wildcats within 50-39 with 15:20 remaining, but that would be the closest they would get the rest of the way.
Back-to-back buckets, including a 3-point play, by freshman guard Teddy Allen would give West Virginia a 65-42 advantage with 7:49 left. The lead would remain at least 20 points the rest of the contest.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Xavier Sneed – The sophomore guard scored 16 points on 5-of-11 field goals, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range to go with 5 rebounds and 2 steals. It marked his 14th double-digit scoring game of the season. He has now averaged 18 points in two meetings with West Virginia this season after scoring 20 points in the first matchup.
STAT OF THE GAME
51/29.8 – Kansas State was held to a season-low 51 points on a season-worst 29.8 percent (14-of-47) from the field, including 22.2 percent (6-of-27) after halftime. It was the fewest points since scoring 50 against West Virginia in the semifinals of the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 11, while it was the lowest field goal percentage since shooting 25 percent (14-of-56) at Oklahoma on Feb. 25, 2017.