Kansas State Wildcats took a double-digit lead early in the 1st half and never saw the lead dip below 10, but the 13th-ranked Wildcats’ 71-61 victory over West Virginia at Bramlage Coliseum was anything but comfortable.
The Wildcats (21-5, 10-3 Large 12) committed 28 fouls, and they were fouled 21 times by West Virginia.
“Coach (Bob) Huggins’ teams play very good defense, and they’re very physical,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber declared. “They try and interrupt you. It is a very hard game to officiate. I know people get upset; I got upset a little bit. I would not take (the officials’) job for anything. I thought they managed the game pretty well for the most part.”
Kansas State took a half-game lead in the Big 12 standings over Kansas and Oklahoma State.
“We had some runs, and they had some runs, though it was simple to get disrupted,” Weber asserted. “I’m pleased that our youngsters kept their poise for the most part.”
Huggins also did not take issue with the refs.
“If you foul, they’re supposed to call it,” Huggins expounded. “What I believed was really frustrating was we were unable to make a (darn) shot.” Baseball spreads
Kansas State held West Virginia to 40.5 percent shooting from the field.
Junior guard Will Spradling led the Wildcats in scoring, tying his career high with 19 points.
“I thought I got it began on the defensive side,” Spradling recounted. “I took 2 quick charges and then made two fast 3s. That got me pumped right off the bat. I just fed off that.”
Four other Kansas State joined him in double digits. Nino Williams scored 13 off the bench, Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson added 11 per item, and Rodney McGruder had 10.
Weber appreciated the fact that with leading scorer McGruder barely cracking double figures, he could count on other contributors.
“Probably the best thing about our team is that every game it’s somebody else,” Weber expounded. “Rod had good numbers, not great numbers. Tonight it was Will and Nino stepping up. We had good balance. We had 5 guys in double digits. That’s actually positive.”
Deniz Kilicki led Mountaineers (13-13, 6-7) with 16 points. He was the only Mountaineer in double digits. Aaric Murray had 9 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.
West Virginia slipped behind by double digits after less than 8 minutes and by 16 twice in the 1st half. The Mountaineers could get no closer than 13 till the final minute of the game, as they scored the final 10 points of the night.
West Virginia scored the last 5 points of the 1st half to cut the lead directly to 13, but Kansas State opened the 2nd half on a 10-2 run to put the game away.
Kansas State used a stifling defense to close down the fighting Mountaineers’ offense in the first half. West Virginia shot just 30.4 % (7-for-23) and trailed 33-20 at intermission. Particularly ineffective were the starters, who scored just 7 points. 5 of those came in the final minute of the half from Hinds.