MANHATTAN, Kan. – Led by freshman forward Teddy Allen’s game-high 22 points, No. 6/7 West Virginia used a balanced scoring effort with four players in double figures to upend Kansas State, 77-69, in a New Year’s Day tilt at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) have now won 13 consecutive games since opening the season with a loss to Texas A&M in Germany. The Wildcats (11-3, 1-1 Big 12), which opened the Big 12 season on Friday with their first win at Iowa State since 2011, saw their eight-game winning season streak at Bramlage Coliseum come to an end.
Sophomore forward Xavier Sneed led K-State with 20 points, including a career-best six 3-point field goals, while junior forward Dean Wade collected his third double-double of the season with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, in what was a physical test for the Wildcats to start the new year.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Coming off back-to-back wins on the road, K-State got kicked off 2018 in the right direction, as Sneed drained a 3-pointer from the corner on the assist from junior guard Kamau Stokes.
With West Virginia and K-State representing two of the better defensive teams in the Big 12, both teams had to search for scoring in the opening minutes of a physical first half.
K-State found and early presence from Wade, who drew attention in the paint that caused foul trouble for the Mountaineers, as West Virginia accumulated eight fouls in the first 10 minutes of play. In total, West Virginia fouled 11 times in the half, leading to K-State shooting 67 percent (6-of-9) from the stripe.
On the other end, the Mountaineers were able to put together an 11-0 run against the Wildcats to draw a 19-9 lead, behind 60 percent (9-of-16) shooting 11 minutes into the game. West Virginia would use the run to garnish their largest lead of the half, leading the Wildcats by 10 with 4:24 remaining in the half.
However, K-State was able to draw the score close before half, as junior guard Barry Brown used a pull-up jumper to end a 2-of-13 shooting drought from the field. Likewise, Brown and redshirt freshman guard Cartier Diarra would both hit a trey to end a 1-of-8 drought from beyond the arc from earlier in the half.
The first half proved to be a defensive battle, as the Wildcats were outscored 31-26 in the first half, as they shot 27.6 percent (8-of-29) from the field, while the Mountaineers connected on 52 percent (15-of-29). Brown led the Wildcats in scoring at the break, totaling 8 points on 3-of-7 shooting, while Wade grabbed a team-high 7 boards and Stokes dished out 2 assists.
Following a physical, defensive showdown in the first half, the Wildcats went back to the grind in the second, putting together a 5-0 run behind a tip-in by freshman forward Levi Stockard III and a 3-pointer from Sneed to bring the score within four points.
With 14 minutes remaining in the game, the Wildcats continued to threaten the Mountaineers, as Stokes found Sneed in the corner for a 3-pointer to bring the West Virginia lead to just three points.
The Mountaineers entered Monday’s contest as the top offensive rebounding team in the country, and they continued their success on the boards against the Wildcats. In total, West Virginia grabbed 38 rebounds, including 9 offensive that resulted in 11 second-chance points, while the Wildcats totaled 27 total rebounds.
With under five minutes remaining and the Mountaineers in the bonus, K-State was able to gain momentum behind several made free throws and another 3-pointer from Sneed to bring the score to 65-61 at the 3:45 mark.
After trading baskets to bring the score to 67-63, the Mountaineers benefitted from several trips to the free throw line from Teddy Allen, as he brought the Mountaineer lead to 71-63 with 2:34 remaining.
In the end, the Mountaineers would out-duel the Wildcats 77-69 behind 54 percent (30-of-56) shooting from the field and 40 points in the paint.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Xavier Sneed – Averaging 11.4 points coming into Monday’s contest, Sneed provided a spark for the Wildcats behind the strength of his scoring, where he led a team-high 20 points on 6-of-11 from the field, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. Sneed connected on several influential baskets that gave K-State momentum. He also added 6 rebounds to his stat line.
STAT OF THE GAME
9 – The Wildcats held the Mountaineers to 9 offensive rebounds on Monday, as West Virginia entered the contest pounding the offensive boards by grabbing a league-leading 15.46 offensive rebounds per game. K-State out-rebounded the Mountaineers offensively by grabbing 10 offensive rebounds of their own.