West Virginia holds off Kansas State
MANHATTAN, Kan. — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has a play card packed with 75 offensive sets, yet he couldn’t seem to find anything that would work against Kansas State on Monday.
So Huggins told his guys to get the Wildcats to chase them in the hopes of opening up the lane.
Maybe that freelancing should be set No. 76.
Teddy Allen kept driving to the rim and scored 22 points, Lamont West added 19, and the sixth-ranked Mountaineers — so often the undersized team whenever they step on the floor — beat up pesky Kansas State in the paint in a 77-69 victory that pushed their win streak to 13 games.
“When you can’t make a shot you have to do something,” Huggins said, “and we couldn’t make one.”
The Mountaineers (13-1, 2-0), who have not lost since their opener against Texas A&M in Germany, were 4 of 15 from beyond the arc. But they offset that poor perimeter shooting by outrebounding Kansas State (11-3, 1-1) and compiling a massive 40-18 advantage in points in the pain.
“They’re really good at making you shoot the ball over you. It’s kind of like playing Virginia, to a degree. You got 10 eyes on you all the time,” Huggins said. “We had to get close.”
West Virginia was clinging to a 65-61 lead down the stretch when Allen went to work, slicing down the lane and picking up fouls. He kept knocking down the free throws, scoring eight points in the closing minutes while helping the Mountaineers to their first win on New Year’s Day.
West Virginia had lost its previous four games on Jan. 1.
“We kept the game within a couple possessions for the most part, but at the end they kind of picked us apart,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “They just seemed to make all the right plays.”