FINAL: WVU men’s hoops defeats Kansas State, 71-68

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Big 12 basketball returns to the WVU Coliseum

Bob Huggins oversees his team during WVU men’s basketball’s 56-53 victory over No. 15 UConn in the Big East/Big 12 Battle on Dec. 8 at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown. (Photo: Jamie Green)

West Virginia men’s basketball brings Big 12 hoops back to Morgantown as it hosts Kansas State at the WVU Coliseum on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. ET on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

The Mountaineers expect to be back to a full lineup after missing out on several players in their league opener due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The Wildcats come to the Mountain State still feeling the effects of the virus, as they travel with just seven scholarship players, one coach and one graduate assistant — not including head coach Bruce Weber.

Stop here for all the latest on today’s contest.

West Virginia starters

  • G Kedrian Johnson
  • G Taz Sherman
  • G Sean McNeil
  • F Jalen Bridges
  • F Isaiah Cottrell

Kansas State starters

  • G Nijel Pack
  • G Markquis Nowell
  • G Mark Smith
  • F Selton Miguel
  • F Ismael Massoud

2ND HALF

FINAL: WVU holds on in the final possession to defeat Kansas State, 71-68.

0:04.8 (KSU 68, WVU 71): That three-pointer stands, and the Wildcats foul Jalen Bridges on the next inbound. He sinks both to make it a three-point game — Bob Huggins calls his final timeout.

0:05 (KSU 68, WVU 69): Johnson makes both, but the Mountaineers allow K-State’s Ish Massoud to make a three-pointer on the other end. It is under review at the moment.

0:15 (KSU 65, WVU 67): It has officially become a free throw game. K-State makes a two-point basket to cut the lead to within two and send Keddy Johnson to the line on the ensuing inbound.

0:37 (KSU 63, WVU 67): The officials are heading to the review board to see if WVU got a shot clock violation. It is very likely they did, so K-State will have to work fast to make up a two-possession deficit.

3:43 (KSU 60, WVU 62): Nijel Pack helps K-State make up some ground as the Wildcats bring the game back within a bucket and force Bob Huggins to call a timeout.

5:46 (KSU 53, WVU 61): The Mountaineers have scored eight straight points over the last two minutes, leaving the Wildcats in the dust in the second half. In fact, WVU has outscored K-State 34-13 since halftime, with a 14-point second half from McNeil that leads a Mountaineer offense shooting 60 percent.

7:40 (KSU 53, WVU 53): Sean McNeil gives WVU its first lead of the game with a three-pointer that lights up the Coliseum crowd — then, on the other end, Gabe Osabuohien forces a critical turnover as he draws a charge on Markquis Nowell. Nijel Pack ties it back up just about 30 seconds later, however, so this will likely be a fight to the end. McNeil’s bucket gets his scoring total up to a game-high 19 points.

11:19 (KSU 48, WVU 44): That opening run extends to 15-4 in favor of the Mountaineers after Sean McNeil finishes a beautiful sequence on offense with a three-pointer. They still have yet to break that glass ceiling to take the lead, however, as K-State tries to find its footing on offense. Gabe Osabuohien and Jalen Bridges have both entered foul trouble territory with three fouls, while Selton Miguel is the only Wildcat with three thus far.

15:27 (KSU 42, WVU 37): The Mountaineers have gotten off to a 10-2 start in the second half before the media break, with a big boost from Keddy Johnson.

16:59 (KSU 42, WVU 33): WVU cuts the lead to single digits as it opens the half with a 6-2 run. K-State tries to slow it down with a timeout as the Wildcats open 1-for-5 from the field.

WVU has the ball to start the half.

1ST HALF

HALF: K-State leads West Virginia 40-27 at the half. The Mountaineers have the possession arrow to start the second half.

0:00 (KSU 40, WVU 27): The Mountaineers turn the ball over on the inbound and can’t get any more points on the board before half.

0:08 (KSU 40, WVU 27): Bob Huggins calls timeout as his team gets one more possession to try to cut into the Wildcat lead. WVU is struggling scoring the ball, especially from inside — they’ve made just four layups in 11 attempts.

3:38 (KSU 33, WVU 25): The short bench is already starting to affect the K-State rotation as three of its eight players have picked up two fouls. Bob Huggins is taking advantage of this imbalance, already going five deep into his bench. He noted before the game that his returners (namely Taz Sherman and Gabe Osabuohien) would possibly play limited minutes in this one as they play back into shape — Sherman leads the Mountaineers with 15 of 16 possible minutes, while Osabuohien has played nine off the bench.

8:24 (KSU 27, WVU 18): The Mountaineers get some of the Coliseum crowd on its feet with a 12-6 run to force a K-State timeout. Taz Sherman is getting his name in the box score for the first time since returning to the lineup, making a pair of buckets to welcome himself back.

11:47 (KSU 21, WVU 6): WVU is having trouble stopping the open three-pointers from K-State. The Wildcats have already made five buckets from downtown, the majority of which have come from the corner. Still, K-State has hit a cold spell, making just one of its last five buckets. WVU is just 2-for-14 to start the game.

15:35 (KSU 14, WVU 4): Kansas State has made four straight buckets to head into the first media timeout of the contest, including an 8-0 run. Sean McNeil has the only field goal for WVU with a three-pointer three minutes into the game as the Mountaineers start 1-for-9 from the field. Unfortunately for WVU, McNeil also picks up his first foul when he bumps Markquis Nowell on a three-pointer to set up a four-point play out of the break.

Kansas State wins the opening tip. We are underway at the WVU Coliseum.

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