On Saturday, West Virginia played its first game in two weeks as the team took down Kansas State 69-47.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines set by the Big 12, the Mountaineers were forced to postpone three games over the last two weeks and the team was unable to practice at full strength during the time off.
For the Mountaineers (10-4, 3-3 Big 12), the majority of the team was unable to practice or do anything inside the facilities during the two-week hiatus, but there were a few players that got to practice.
“I thought the guys that got to work out, they were pretty good” head coach Bob Huggins said. “The guys that didn’t get to work out or were unable to work out, they struggled and I think we have to get those guys back in playing shape and it’s hard with the schedule we have coming up.”
West Virginia started the game on a 21-4 run and by halftime the Mountaineers were holding a 31-17 lead. The WVU defense held Kansas State (5-11, 1-7 Big 12) to more turnovers, 18, than points in the first half.
“I was pleased more with our defensive effort in the first half I thought our offensive effort was horrible,” Huggins said. “We turned them over and we were able to score off of turnovers, we got so many more opportunities than what they got because of the job we did defensively.”
The Mountaineers forced 28 turnovers and were able to come away with 26 points off of those turnovers. West Virginia also turned the ball over 12 times but only allowed six points off of turnovers.
The 47 points scored by the Wildcats is the lowest point total that the West Virginia defense has given up this year and also a season low for Kansas State’s offense.
“We did spend whatever time that we had to work with these guys on primarily defense,” Huggins said. “We wouldn’t be sitting here with three league losses if we guarded as well in some of those games as we did tonight.”
West Virginia’s offense was unable to get going in the first half scoring only 31 points and only 69 total points, one of the lowest scoring games for the Mountaineers this season.
“If you look at how we scored, we scored when we pass the ball,” Huggins said. “It’s hard to score one on five.”
The Mountaineers last played on Jan. 9 versus Texas, a game that West Virginia lost on a three pointer from the Longhorns with just three seconds remaining.
“Thought it was the biggest win of the year because we are coming off of a loss in a game we could have and should have won, then we get hit with the COVID-19 stuff and we had a time where we were down to basically four guys,” Huggins said about the importance of his team’s win.
Next up the Mountaineers will take on Texas Tech on Monday at 9 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.