The losing streak continues for the West Virginia men’s basketball team after a 65-51 loss to No. 23 Kansas State on Monday night.
WVU (10-16, 2-11 Big 12) was led by junior forward Lamont West who had 16 points and seven of the Mountaineers’ first 10 points in the game.
“Lamont, he’s a premier shooter,” freshman forward Derek Culver said. “If we just get Lamont comfortable and get his feet up under him so he can get his set shots, I feel like we’ll be alright.”
West Virginia held an early lead and was in the bonus with over 14 minutes left in the first half, but the increased free throws weren’t enough as Kansas State (20-6, 10-3) ended the first half on a 16-8 run.
During the Wildcats’ run, WVU had a six-minute field goal drought which was finally ended by a three-pointer from freshman guard Brandon Knapper.
Knapper was one of three freshmen to start for WVU, being joined by Culver and Emmitt Matthews in the starting lineup.
Culver recorded his sixth double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, while Matthews contributed 9 points in a career-high 36 minutes.
Kansas State was led in scoring by senior guard Barry Brown’s game-high 21 points on 7-14 shooting, including 6-6 from the free throw line.
The Wildcats shot 44 percent from the field and 39 percent from the free throw line, which forced the Mountaineers to change their defensive scheme multiple times during the game, with few times being successful.
“We were just trying to get them to turn the ball over and make them uncomfortable,” West said. “We needed more possessions and were just trying to do whatever we could to get them to turn the ball over.”
WVU shot 35 percent from the floor and only 22 percent from the three-point range, with a six-minute field goal drought in the second half to accompany the one in the first.
Mountaineer freshmen stepping up
After the dismissals of Esa Ahmad and Wesley Harris, West Virginia was forced to start three freshmen against Kansas State, and they performed well. The three starting freshmen combined for 30 points, over half of WVU’s team total.
WVU can’t contain KSU trio
Three Wildcats combined to score 50 points, only one point shy of the entire WVU team score. Kansas State was led by Brown’s 21, which was followed by Xavier Sneed’s 19 and Dean Wade’s 10.
West Virginia controls the paint
West Virginia was out-scored and out-shot, but it had the advantage inside, out-rebounding Kansas State 35-31. With the extra boards, WVU was able to hold a 20-14 advantage in points in the paint, being led by Culver’s 11 total points.
West Virginia travels to Waco, Texas to face Baylor at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Mountaineers are looking to improve to 4-3 all-time at Baylor. WVU beat the Bears, 71-60, in Waco last season behind 15 points from Jevon Carter.