Ice cold shooting dooms Wildcats in loss to West Virginia

Then-sophomore forward Wesley Iwundu guards West Virginia forward Jonathan Holton in the first half of the Wildcats' 59-65 loss to the Mountaineers January 27, 2015, in Bramlage Coliseum. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The Wildcat team that shot almost 60 percent in a win over Oklahoma State on Saturday must not have gotten the memo about the game on Tuesday night against West Virginia in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The Wildcats shot just 35 percent in their 70-55 loss to the Mountaineers.

The Wildcats went 1-18, which is .056 percent, from the 3-point line in the game after hitting nine in Saturday’s win.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t play better because I thought our focus was there tonight,” head coach Bruce Weber said.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 5-2 lead, capitalizing on two turnovers on the first three possessions by West Virginia.

K-State and West Virginia were tied 7-7, but after Mountaineer junior guard Tarik Phillip and head coach Bob Huggins received two technical fouls, the Wildcats only made one of four free throws given to them. They then missed the shot on the ensuing possession, which was a huge opportunity squandered by K-State.

“I thought we started okay, but after we missed the free throws we lost some momentum,” Weber said.

This was the start of a bad stretch for the Wildcats.

K-State only made one field goal in the next eight minutes, and the Wildcats trailed 19-10 with 10 minutes to go in the first half.

The Wildcats got back within three points with five minutes left, but a free throw by Mountaineer junior forward Devin Williams and a 3-pointer from junior guard Teyvon Myers extended the lead back to seven.

West Virginia sophomore guard Jevon Carter made a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in the half, matching the Mountaineers’ biggest lead of the half. West Virginia went into the halftime break up 34-25.

“We told our team before the game that bit’s okay to win ugly,” Weber said. “We played some zone in the first half, but that was just a tough shot that Carter made at the end of the half, and we lost some momentum.”

Both teams came out shooting poorly in the second half, with only six points scored by both teams combined in the first four minutes.

“They had us going fast, and we tried to make too tough of plays,” Weber said. “We needed to slow down, but this is a learning lesson.”

With 15 minutes to play and down by 14, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to get within seven at 41-34.

This was as close as the Wildcats got, however, as the Mountaineers had a double-digit lead for the remainder of the second half. West Virginia eventually got its biggest lead of the game at 57-40 with six minutes to play.

“We hung in there but just couldn’t get over the hump,” Weber said.

K-State got within 10 again with five minutes to play, but West Virginia held off the Wildcats, winning 70-55.

“We might have played our best and still not have won,” Weber said. “We didn’t win at home, and we played well in that game. Our defense wasn’t that bad, but there were some things we needed to be better at.”

Senior guard Justin Edwards led K-State in scoring with 14 points. Freshman forward Dean Wade had nine, and junior forward D.J. Johnson contributed eight.

The Wildcats are now 12-8 overall and 2-6 in Big 12 play. They will get a break from the Big 12 conference grind when they take on Ole Miss on Saturday inside Bramlage Coliseum in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge at 1 p.m.

“We need to beat Mississippi and continue to win at home,” Weber said. “But we’ve got to find a way to win some games on the road. And the season’s not over — a lot of good things can still happen.”