Derek Culver had 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead the No. 12 West Virginia men’s basketball team to a 66-57 win over Kansas State on Saturday at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (17-4, 5-3 Big 12) got 32 points off the bench, led by Chase Harler with eight points and Miles “Deuce” McBride with seven.
“We didn’t play very well when we went out there (to Kansas State) and kind of owed them one,” Harler said. “Things got kind of ugly during the game but our will to win outweighed our mistakes and we got it done.”
After Kansas State (9-12, 2-6) shot the lights out in the first meeting against the Mountaineers, WVU got back to their defensive principles and forced the Wildcats to shoot 37% from the floor and 18% from three.
In the first matchup, Kansas State shot 59% from the field and 50% from three, leading them to an 84-68 upset victory.
“We were much more ready to play today than we were out there (at Kansas State),” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “They’re hard to play against. (Kansas State head coach) Bruce (Weber) does a great job. They spread you out offensively. Defensively, they’re really physical and take a lot of things away from you.”
The first half was a close affair, with both teams trading blows throughout. With just over five minutes remaining until halftime, WVU took a 25-16 lead and forced a timeout from Kansas State.
The Wildcats responded and cut the lead to three before the half, sending the teams into the locker room with WVU leading 30-27.
The Mountaineers were able to gain some control in the second, taking a seven point lead by the 12 minute mark and a 14 point lead at the nine minute mark. The lead would not dip under eight for the rest of the game.
Oscar Tshiebwe had a quiet game for his standards, putting in just eight points and eight rebounds. He shot only 1-of-2 from the field but 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Overall, WVU shot 18-of-28 from the line for 64%.
The Mountaineers also outrebounded the Wildcats by seven, 39 to 32. They did get beat in points in the paint, with Kansas State owning a 28 to 22 advantage.
“I think people are more physical with them (Culver and Tshiebwe) and I think they absorb more physicality just because they can,” Huggins said. “Some of those guys, if they got hit the way those guys get hit, they’d get knocked around.”
The Mountaineers will stay home and play the Iowa State Cyclones on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.