The West Virginia men’s basketball team defeated Kansas State, 65-43, despite poor shooting for the majority of the game.
This was the second time this season that West Virginia defeated Kansas State by at least 20 points, but the Mountaineers were not nearly as dominant as the final score reflected. As a team, the Mountaineers shot 22-of-53 (42%) from the field and 6-of-20 (30%) from three-point range. This is the second game in a row that WVU has finished shooting below 35% from behind the arc.
Only two Mountaineers scored in double-digits with Sean McNeil leading all scorers with 16 points. Derek Culver added 11 points as West Virginia’s leading scorer for the year, Miles McBride, only scored five points off the bench.
Head coach Bob Huggins was impressed with the play of junior guard Jordan McCabe, who finished with seven points in just his fifth start this season.
“I thought he got better and better as the game went on,” Huggins said about McCabe’s performance. “He needs to make some of those shots he had, but he’s really capable. That’s why you want him out there.”
Kansas State kept the score close for the majority of the game before a six-minute scoring drought doomed the Wildcats in the second half. West Virginia outscored Kansas State, 23-9 in the final 11 minutes of play.
“I didn’t think we let off the gas in the second half,” Huggins said. “I thought in the second half we played pretty well, and we were pretty efficient. The first half was just a miserable half for both teams.”
Redshirt freshman forward Jalen Bridges finished with a strong performance for the Mountaineers with eight points, four rebounds and three blocks. Huggins characterized Bridges’ playing style as 'active'.
“He has become so much more active,” Huggins said of Bridges. “When he and Gabe (Osabuohien) are in the game together, our front line is very active. We are not very big, but we are very active.
West Virginia will next face the Baylor Bears on Tuesday for its second of four-straight home games at the WVU Coliseum.
“We have never done that before,” Huggins said of playing four-straight home games to end the season. “I have never done that anywhere I have ever been before. You think after 43 years you know everything. It’s like playing in a conference tournament. That’s the best comparison I can make is the conference tournament.”