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Mountaineers fall to No. 13 Wildcats, 71-61

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm •  Published: February 18, 2013

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Red-faced, screaming and gesturing furiously, Bob Huggins charged out onto the court Monday night and exhorted the referees to blow the whistle.

The officials obliged by calling a technical foul on the fuming Huggins, who had to be hauled back to the bench by an assistant coach as West Virginia floundered in the second half.

It was a fitting characterization of how the night went for the former Kansas State coach, who returned to Bramlage Coliseum for the first time since 2007, when he led the Wildcats to 23 wins in his only year in Manhattan.

The Mountaineers were walloped by the No. 13 Wildcats, 71-61.

"I really like this place," Huggins said afterward. "I like the people. The people have been wonderful. It's nice to see people you haven't seen in a while, but at the end of the day, it's a business trip.

"We're supposed to win," he added. "We didn't."

Will Spradling scored 19 points for the Wildcats, who used an 18-2 run early in the game to spoil Huggins' return. Nino Williams had 13 points off the bench, and Angel Rodriguez had 11 points and seven assists as the Wildcats (21-5, 10-3) slipped into first place in the Big 12 by a half game over ninth-ranked Kansas and No. 14 Oklahoma State.

"Obviously a hard-fought win," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "Very physical game. Coach Huggins' teams play great defense, very physical. They try to disrupt you."

Deniz Kilicli had 16 points for the Mountaineers (13-13, 6-7), but he didn't get a whole lot of help. The rest of their starters combined for 13 points, with two of them getting shut out.

"What I thought was frustrating was we couldn't make a damn shot," Huggins said.

He watched the Wildcats seize control with their big run then was whistled for a technical foul for arguing with officials. Moments later, his leading scorer, freshman Eron Harris, fouled out after throwing an elbow on defense and picking up a technical foul of his own.

There were plenty of whistles blown in this game.

The officials called 49 fouls, and both teams spent more than 18 minutes in the bonus. The Mountaineers also had center Aaric Murray foul out, the Wildcats lost Jordan Henriquez, and there were three others who had four fouls when the game finally ended.

The teams combined to shoot 53 free throws.

"It was a very hard game to officiate," Weber said. "I know people get upset. I get upset. But I wouldn't take their job for anything."

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