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Turnovers Plague K-State in Loss to 14/15 West Virginia

K-State Athletics ReleaseJanuary 23, 2021

MANHATTAN, Kan. – No. 14/15 West Virginia used its defense to force K-State into 28 turnovers, including 18 in the first half, as the Mountaineers posted a 69-47 win over the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon in front of a limited capacity crowd of 931 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.

The 28 turnovers were the sixth-most by a K-State team and the most since 2002. West Virginia scored 26 points off those turnovers to earn its first win in Manhattan since 2018.

The Mountaineers (10-4, 3-3 Big 12), who were playing for the first time in 2 weeks after having to pause activities due to COVID-19 protocols, set the tone early, jumping out to a 21-4 advantage in the first 11 minutes on the strength of 53.3 percent (8-of-15) shooting, many of which were aided by 10 early Wildcat turnovers. Although it cooled off from the field, WVU led 31-17 at half, converting those 18 first-half turnovers into 14 points.

K-State (5-11, 1-7 Big 12) did show a spark in the early moments of the second half, closing the gap to 36-28 on a pair of free throws by senior Mike McGuirl with 15:31 to play. However, WVU responded with 8 consecutive points, including back-to-back 3-pointers from senior Taz Sherman, to push the lead back to 16 points just under 2 minutes later and force a timeout by head coach Bruce Weber with 13:57 remaining.

The Wildcats could not get any closer than 11 points the rest of the way, as they lost for the sixth consecutive time, including their third in a row at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State was held to a season-low 47 points on 38.1 percent (16-of-42) shooting, including 20 percent (3-of-15) from 3-point range. It was the lowest point total since also scoring 47 against Texas on Jan. 2, 2019. The Wildcats scored just 20 points in the paint, which were the fewest since posting 18 against Colorado on Nov. 27, 2020.

Senior Mike McGuirl was one of two Wildcats in double figures, scoring 15 points on 4-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with a 5-of-6 effort from the free throw line. He also added 4 rebounds and a team-tying 3 assists in 37 minutes of action. Freshman Selton Miguel scored in double digits for the second straight game with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting to go along with a team-tying 5 rebounds and a team-tying 3 assists.

West Virginia was efficient on offense, connecting on 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field, including 40 percent (8-of-20) from 3-point range, while hitting on 77.3 percent (17-of-22) from the free throw line. More than third of the Mountaineers’ points came off turnovers, which came on an opponent-tying 13 steals.

Sophomore Miles McBride led three Mountaineers in double figures with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, while adding a team-tying 5 assists and a game-high 4 steals. Redshirt freshman Jalen Bridges had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Sherman added 10 points.

K-State played with a nearly fully healthy roster for the second straight game, as sophomore Kaosi Ezeagu played a home game for the first time since December 5 with nearly 20 minutes off the bench. Freshman point guard Nijel Pack was cleared but did not play for the fourth straight game.

KEY STRETCH(ES)

West Virginia came out strong from the tip, jumping out to a 10-2 lead, including the game’s first 5 points, before head coach Bruce Weber called his first timeout at the 15:39 mark. The Mountaineers built as much as a 17-point lead (21-4) in the first 11 minutes while shooting 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from the field.

After K-State closed to within single digits at 36-28 at the 15:31 mark of the second half, West Virginia scored 8 straight points, including consecutive 3-pointers from senior Taz Sherman, to push the lead back into double figures at 44-28 and force a timeout by Weber with 13:57 remaining.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME

Senior Mike McGuirl led the Wildcats with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting and a 5-of-6 effort from the free throw line to go with 4 rebounds and a team-tying 3 assists in 37 minutes. It marked his team-leading 11 double-digit scoring game of the season and was the sixth time leading the team in scoring.

Freshman Selton Miguel finished with double-digit points for the fifth time in the last 9 games with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting with a team-tying 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 30 minutes.

STAT OF THE GAME

28 – West Virginia forced K-State into 28 turnovers, including 18 in the first half. The 28 turnovers tied for the sixth-most in school history and the most since turning it over 28 times at Kansas on Feb. 27, 2002. It was the most in a home game since 29 times vs. Long Beach State on Jan. 4, 2000.

IN THEIR WORDS

K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber

On the game…

“I think it’s pretty obvious, the glaring stat. Twenty-eight turnovers, 18 in the first half, and 26 points off the turnovers is the difference in the game. This isn’t ‘Press Virginia’, but they are aggressive and take things away. We tried to simulate it the past couple days and I knew it would be tough, but I did not anticipate this. They make you play basketball and you have to make basketball reads. If you call a set and it’s not there, now you have to play basketball. Once we went south with that part of it, we got really tentative. It’s a credit to our guys, they didn’t quit and we cut it to eight and had a wide open three. We don’t make it, and then they get us on the backdoor and back-to-back 3-pointers. If you hit the three and cut it to five, you have a game and made a huge comeback, but we didn’t and it went the other way. In practice, we talked a lot about fighting for things, but they have to go through it and understand, and the first couple possessions they were taking away passes and now you have to really play strong and make the next cut and get a pass going and take advantage of them. Obviously, we didn’t and got our butts’ kicked. It’s hard to make up a bunch of pick sixes (turnovers) that not only kill your spirits, but also gives them easy hoops and makes it easier on their offense.”

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE

  • K-State is now 5-11 on the season, including 1-7 in Big 12 play… The Wildcats are off to a 1-7 start to league play for the first time since 1999-2000, including 6 straight defeats.
  • K-State is now 119-266 all-time against Top 25 opponents, including a 6-11 mark vs. the AP’s No. 14 ranked team… The Wildcats are 0-4 vs. Top 25 foes this season.
  • West Virginia is now 12-8 against K-State, including 11-7 in the Big 12 era… The Wildcats are 5-4 all-time at home in the series, all at Bramlage Coliseum… WVU has won 7 of the last 11 meetings in the series.
  • The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of senior Mike McGuirl, sophomore DaJuan Gordon, junior Rudi Williams, freshman Selton Miguel and freshman Davion Bradford… This is the third time using this lineup… McGuirl has now started all 16 games this season and has the longest current active start streak at 21 games… Gordon has now started 15 of 16 games this season.
  • Freshman Nijel Pack was cleared but did not play for the fourth consecutive game.

Team Notes

  • K-State scored a season-low 47 points on 38.1 percent (16-of-42) shooting, including 20 percent (3-of-15) from 3-point range, while connecting on 63.2 percent (12-of-19) from the free throw line.
  • The 47 points were the fewest by the Wildcats since also scoring 47 against Texas on Jan. 2, 2019.
  • West Virginia scored 69 points on 44 percent (22-of-50) shooting, including 40 percent (8-of-20) from 3-point range, while hitting on 77.3 percent (17-of-22) from the free throw line.
  • K-State’s 28 turnovers tied for the sixth-most in school history and the most since turning it over 28 times at Kansas on Feb. 27, 2002… It was the most in a home game since turning it over 29 times vs. Long Beach State on Jan. 4, 2000.
  • West Virginia scored an opponent-high 26 points off those 28 turnovers, which were the most since Texas Tech had 30 points off turnovers on Jan. 14, 2020… In contrast, K-State had just 6 points off 12 WVU turnovers… The Mountaineers’ 13 steals tied an opponent-high.
  • K-State had just 20 points in the paint, which was fewest since scoring 18 vs. Colorado (11/27/20).
  • K-State had a 37-24 advantage on the board, including 11 offensive rebounds.
  • West Virginia held a 31-17 lead at halftime, using 18 turnovers to score 14 points.
  • K-State is now 0-10 on the season when trailing at the half.

Player Notes

  • Senior Mike McGuirl scored 15 points on 4-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line… He has now led the team in scoring in 8 career games, including 6 this season… He has scored in double figures in 21 career games, including a team-high 11 this season… He now has at least 2 triples in 13 of 16 games this season.
  • Freshman Selton Miguel scored 10 points on 3-of-7 field goals, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range, to go with a team-tying 5 rebounds and a team-tying 3 assists in 30 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 7 games this season, including 4 in Big 12 play.
  • Sophomore Kaosi Ezeagu scored 7 points on 2-of-3 shooting and a 3-of-5 effort from the free throw line to go with 4 rebounds in nearly 20 minutes of action… It was his first action at home since the UNLV game on Dec. 5, 2020.

WHAT’S NEXT

K-State hits the road for the third time in the last 4 games on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats travel to Waco, Texas to take on No. 2/2 Baylor (14-0, 7-0 Big 12) at 8 p.m., CT on ESPN2. The Bears have won the last 3 meetings in the series, including a 100-69 victory in Manhattan on Dec. 19.

Copyright © Rocking M Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Rocking M Media’s express consent.

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