No. 13 Wildcats roll past West Virginia, 71-61

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm •  Published: February 18, 2013
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"We were just holding the ball," said the Mountaineers' Jabarie Hinds. "We didn't have that much movement in our offense, so it was kind of easy for K-State to defend us."

After conceding the first basket a minute into the game, the Wildcats went on their big run that covered the next 8 minutes. Gipson did most of the damage inside for the Wildcats, the burly sophomore forward at one point scoring seven consecutive points.

West Virginia was just 1 of 8 from beyond the arc over the first 20 minutes, and committed eight turnovers — six of them during Kansas State's big run early in the half.

The Wildcats led 33-20 at the break.

"Let's be honest. We give them five, maybe, layups in half-court defense in the first half," Huggins said. "Maybe another three or four in the second half. You're talking somewhere between 16 and 20 points that were point-blank layups that eighth-graders make."

The first half took close to an hour to finish because of a multitude of fouls — 19 in all. Both teams were in the bonus with 8:42 remaining, the Mountaineers getting there when the Wildcats were twice called for holding as West Virginia tried to inbound the ball under its own basket.

Kansas State extended its lead to 41-22 in the opening minutes of the second half when Kilicli tried to make a move on the low post. This time, no whistle blew and Huggins roared out onto the court in a rage, his face beet-red and an assistant coach holding him back.

Huggins was hit with the technical foul, drawing a roar from the crowd, and Spradling made both free throws to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the night with 16:25 remaining.

The outburst seemed to rile up the Mountaineers, who scored the next seven points to get within 43-29 with just under 14 minutes left in the game. But the Wildcats started to match them basket-for-basket, and another technical foul — this one on Harris, who threw an elbow toward Spradling's head while guarding him at the top of the key — finished off West Virginia.

"It was something we talked about in several huddles. 'Keep your poise. Let them do what they need to do. Don't retaliate,'" Weber said. "We can't back down, but we still have to guard."

The Wildcats coasted down the stretch, with the Mountaineers scoring a few buckets in the final minutes to make the final score much more competitive than the game itself.

"When we win, it's because we play hard. We guard," Weber said, before adding: "And we've gotten better on offense."