Diarra, Gordon lift Kansas State over No. 12 West Virginia
By AVERY OSEN Associated Press
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State needed career highs from Cartier Diarra and Dajuan Gordon to knock off No. 12 West Virginia.
Diarra tied a career high 25 points, Gordon scored a career high 15, including 13 in the first half, and Xavier Sneed had 16, moving into the top 15 in school history in scoring to lead the Wildcats to the 84-68 win on Saturday.
The Wildcats secured their first Big 12 win of the season after losing the first four in conference play.
“I felt like all year we had it in us,” coach Bruce Weber said. “But we really needed someone to step up for us.”
Gordon went 6-for-7 from the field, had four steals and three rebounds in the win.
“I think as long as I come and play with some energy and be willing to play defense I’ll make a big impact,” Gordon said. “As long as we win, that’s all that matters.”
Kansas State (8-9, 1-4 Big 12) went up by as many as 23, but a 15-0 run by the Mountaineers cut the lead to eight in the second half, thanks in part to seven turnovers in four minutes by the Wildcats.
West Virginia (14-3, 3-2) would get as close as six, but the Wildcats held on and won by 16 for their third straight win against the Mountaineers.
“They were desperate,” West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said. “They did whatever they wanted to do.”
Miles McBride and Chase Harler paced the Mountaineers with 11 points each, Gabe Osabuohein had 10 as West Virginia lost their first game when the trailed at halftime.
Turnovers proved costly for West Virginia as they committed 18 and Kansas State scored 28 off those mistakes.
“I’m getting used to the turnovers,” Huggins said. “We average 20 a game, but we didn’t guard. We just didn’t.”
Kansas State shot 59% from the field and held the Mountaineers to 45%. The Wildcats hit nine 3’s while West Virginia had 41 bench points.
With two minutes left in the first half, it was a fastbreak dunk by Antonio Gordon assisted by Dajuan Gordon that got the crowd on their feet pushing the Wildcat lead to 11.
“I felt like I lit the room and got a lot of energy,” Dajuan Gordon said. “Guys just kept hitting me and gave me the ball.”
Kansas State held a 17-point lead at halftime and shot 58% in the first 20 minutes of play.
Every player except for one scored at least four points for the Wildcats and they scored the second most points in a game this season.
Kansas State will look to win two straight games on Tuesday for the first time since November 19th.
“Everyone knows Kansas has a good team,” Diarra said. “We hope to do something that hasn’t been done there in a while.”
Kansas State: This was the best game played by the Wildcats all season. They needed a win like this one before taking on their in-state rival up next.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers had way too many turnovers and didn’t shoot the ball very well.
Kansas State travels to Kansas on Tuesday.
West Virginia hosts Texas on Monday.
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