MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Jevon Carter
scored 19 points to lead 13th
-ranked West Virginia to an 85-66, foul-marred Big 12 victory over Kansas State here Saturday afternoon.
The 14,074 who paid to watch this one saw a combined 54 fouls called on both teams, including two technicals issued to West Virginia, in a game that lasted nearly 2 ½ hours. The whistle even blew to interrupt the handshake line in order to run the remaining 0.2 off the clock.
K-State (16-9, 5-7) attempted 40 free throws but converted just 27 - several misses coming in one-and-one situations. Had the Wildcats been a little more accurate from the line, this one could have been a lot closer.
West Virginia (20-5, 8-4) was able to make up some of that by hitting 17 out of the 21 free throws it attempted.
K-State missed them from the floor, too, shooting 34.8 percent overall and enduring a five-minute field goal drought midway through the second half when West Virginia was finally able to take control of the game.
Another drive to the basket, this one by Tarik Phillip
, gave West Virginia a 16-point advantage with 4:48 remaining.
The lead swelled to 19, and then finally to 22 when both benches emptied.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins didn’t think his team played particularly well this afternoon, and said afterward it must play better with key conference games on the horizon with four weeks remaining in the regular season.
“Starting with (Kansas) on Monday, we’re going to have to play a lot better than we’ve played the last couple of games,” he said. “Texas has given us problems and we’ve got them here. Tech beat us at Tech and we’re going to have play well in those games. Then we’re at Baylor and TCU, which is probably the surprise team in the league right now and headed to an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in a long time.”
Kansas State, playing without starting center D.J. Johnson, who sprained his ankle during last Monday night’s loss against Kansas, jumped out to an early eight-point lead, and then overcame West Virginia’s eight-point advantage to tie the game at halftime, 34-34.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the first half, but the Wildcats did get four 3s to go down and converted four more free throws than the Mountaineers did.
However, K-State continued to shoot poorly in the second half while West Virginia found its shooting touch by spreading the floor and taking the basketball to the rim. The Mountaineers made 20 of 34 in the second half for 58.8 percent, mostly on drives to the basket or follow-up makes.
WVU had a 21-rebound advantage on the glass, including 13 offensive boards, with Johnson sitting on the bench watching the game in street clothes. Freshman Lamont West
and Carter led the way with nine rebounds each for West Virginia.
“We kind of tried to open things up and drive it at them,” Huggins explained. “You try to adjust to how the game is being called and the way it was being called it was advantageous to drive the ball. We didn’t shoot it particularly well and we turned it over at an alarming rate for just no reason.
West Virginia's Jevon Carter
drives to the basket to score two of his game-high 19 points. The Mountaineers defeated Kansas State 85-66 here this afternoon. All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo
“We end up with 18 (turnovers) and that’s just ridiculous for playing against a team playing half-court defense; we shouldn’t be throwing the ball all over the gym the way we did,” Huggins said.
was the only other WVU player to reach double figures in points with 11.
Wesley Iwundu led Kansas State with 14. He also turned the ball over six times.
Freshman Beetle Bolden, coming off a career-high 17 points at Oklahoma earlier this week, contributed nine off the bench, including a quick five in the first half when West Virginia was struggling to score.
Bolden has now scored 26 points in only 18 minutes of court time in his last two league games.
Freshman Sagaba Konate
also came off the bench to give the Mountaineers a big lift with six points, four rebounds and a block in 13 minutes of action.
With the exception of Phillip (33 minutes) and Carter (31), no other West Virginia player logged more than 19 minutes today.
“The only two guys who played heavy minutes were Tarik and JC, and both of them had to be on the floor,” said Huggins.
That could be important with a quick turnaround when West Virginia travels to Kansas for Big Monday night game against the Jayhawks that will tip off at 9 p.m.
The Jayhawks played today at Texas Tech.