By: Brett Bachelor
K-State falls to the No.17 West Virginia Mountaineers by a score of 65-59. While the Cats held Big 12 Conference Preseason player of the year Juwan Staten to just 11 points, it still was not enough to hold back the Mountaineers and their aggressive defense. This loss puts the Cats a 5-3 record in the Big 12 and a 12-9 record overall.
Halftime Thoughts: At the half, K-State trailed West Virginia’s 26 points by only two points. Without Nino Williams, they were really going to have to knock down some threes in the second half if they wanted to win. Most importantly, they were going to have to figure out a way to handle the press. The Cats rallied to a 35-33 lead with 15 minutes left in regulation, but it just was not enough to hold the Mountaineers down.
Game-Defining Event: Two major factors impacted the game for the Cats: turnovers and an injury to a key leader, Nino Williams. K-State could not handle the brutal and scrappy press of West Virginia, leading to 25 turnovers from K-State. Williams averaged 21 points in the last three games and could have been a key role in earning this victory. He scored 6 points in 8 minutes before exiting the game with a knee injury.
Up Next: The Cats need to bounce back and travel to Lawrence to take on Bill Self and the No.9 Kansas Jayhawks. A win in Allen-Fieldhouse is never easy, but would be huge if the Cats pull it off. Tipoff will be at 1pm on Saturday, January 31st.