Men’s basketball dismantled by West Virginia for second straight loss

Willie Wildcat hangs his head at the men’s basketball game against KU on Jan. 29, 2018 in Bramlage Coliseum. On Saturday, K-State suffered one of its worst losses since Bruce Weber took over as head coach. The Wildcats lost 89-51. (Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

Looking to bounce back after a tough, double-digit loss to KU, the Kansas State men’s basketball team hit the road to West Virginia University to take on the Mountaineers. Unfortunately, hardly anything seemed to go right for the Wildcats and they were manhandled in a crushing 89-51 loss.

After winning four games in a row last month, K-State has now lost two straight games in a cogent convincing fashion. The loss against West Virginia was one of K-State’s worst losses since Bruce Weber took over as head coach.

The only Wildcats who made a significant impact on the team’s score were junior forward Dean Wade and sophomore forward Xavier Sneed.

Wade finished with 17 points, ending his six-game streak of scoring 20 or more points per game. Sneed ended the afternoon with 16 points.

K-State was down 39-30 to West Virginia at halftime. While they were starting to sag toward the end of the half, the Wildcats were still in the game.

For K-State, the first half was defined by streaky shooting, turnovers and giving up second chance points.

There were many stretches where the Wildcats were scoring well and came within two or three points of the Mountaineers, but they followed it up with turnovers almost every time.

In the first half, K-State committed 10 turnovers, and West Virginia maximized those turnovers by turning them into points on the other end.

While both teams were tied in rebounds at halftime with 13 each, viewers of the game would have been able to see that K-State was struggling to match West Virginia’s numbers.

Even though the rebounding numbers themselves were close, West Virginia truly won the battle because they scored 10 second chance points in the first half compared to just four for the Wildcats.

In the second half, things got much, much worse for the Wildcats. K-State was outscored by West Virginia a whopping 50-21 in the second half.

The turnover numbers for K-State were not quite as drastic as in the first half, but they certainly were still an issue with five more in the second half for 15 total.

West Virginia capitalized on K-State’s endless turnovers by pouring in 20 points off of them.

The Wildcats’ players on the bench were also lacking this game — their bench was outscored 24-8. Contribution from the bench has been a downfall of K-State’s all season, and it certainly showed at West Virginia.

The Wildcats were also dominated in the paint. The Mountaineers racked up 24 points on the inside, while K-State only scored eight. West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate was a big reason for that, scoring 19 points and hauling in nine rebounds to easily become the player of the game.

The Wildcats finished the game having shot 30 percent from the field, including 35 percent on 3-pointers and just 70 percent from the free throw line.

The loss to West Virginia marked the third straight game where K-State shot less than 40 percent from the field. In the loss to KU on Monday, the Wildcats shot just 32 percent, and they only shot 38 percent in their win over the University of Georgia.

It appeared that K-State was rattled by West Virginia’s staunch defense the whole game. As soon as K-State got on a roll offensively, the Mountaineers cranked up their defense and the Wildcats melted.

The Wildcats will aim to get back on track this Wednesday, where they will face the University of Texas on the road. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Austin, Texas. Viewers at home can catch it on the K-State Sports Network.

I’m Jarrett Whitson, the sports editor this semester. I’m from Blue Rapids, KS, a town of just over 1,000 people about 40 miles north of Manhattan. I’m a junior in Public Relations, and a member of FarmHouse Fraternity. I love playing and talking about sports— especially college football