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No. 17 Mountaineers turn up pressure, throttle K-State 65-59

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Tarik Phillip matched a career-high 12 points and West Virginia, relying on its high-pressure defense, shut down Kansas State for a 65-59 victory Tuesday night.

In a game marred by fouls and poor play, the Mountaineers (17-3, 5-2 Big 12) forced the Wildcats (12-9, 5-3) into 25 turnovers while holding them to 36 percent shooting from the field.

West Virginia’s leading scorer, Juwan Staten, had just 11 points while dealing with foul trouble all night. Second-leading scorer Devin Williams had eight points and nine rebounds.

The Wildcats played most of the way without Nino Williams, who had been averaging 21 points his last two games. The senior forward appeared to be dealing with a left knee injury, spending time on a stationary bike and then wrapping it in ice during the second half.

Marcus Foster led the Wildcats with 15 points, but also committed six turnovers. Wesley Iwundu added 12 points, yet missed a crucial free throw in the closing minutes.

In fact, the foul line proved to be nearly as good defensively as the Mountaineers. Kansas State was just 20 of 35 from the stripe, including a 2-for-7 effort from Jevon Thomas.

Considering the teams are two of the scrappiest in the Big 12, it was hardly a surprise that the game was played at a slogging pace that prevented either from gaining any momentum.

The teams combined for 27 turnovers in the first half alone, Kansas State getting whistled for a 5-second call on four occasions. They also combined for 25 fouls and shot 26 free throws.

Those are ugly numbers for a game, let alone a half.

By the time West Virginia turned the ball over with 20 seconds left, and Kansas State turned it right back just before the buzzer, the Mountaineers had forged a 26-24 halftime lead.

West Virginia extended its lead to 49-41 midway through the second half, finally putting together a couple of solid offensive possessions. Phillip was the surprising catalyst, following up a three-point play with another bucket with 8:31 remaining to keep Kansas State at bay.

As the Mountaineers got into foul trouble — Jonathan Holton and Jaysean Paige had each picked up their fourth by that point — the Wildcats tried to make one last run.

Foster’s first free throw with 2:04 left made it 55-50, but the All-Big 12 guard missed the second of them. Another missed opportunity by Kansas State in a night full of them.

The Mountaineers were still leading 63-57 after Foster’s 3-pointer with 24 seconds left, but Staten made the first of two free throws at the other end to put the game away.

TIP-INS

West Virginia: Won at Bramlage Coliseum for the first time in three tries under Bob Huggins, who coached the Wildcats in 2006-07. … The Mountaineers are 10-1 away from Morgantown.

Kansas State: Coach Bruce Weber was called for a technical foul for yelling at the officials late in the first half. … The Wildcats had won six straight against ranked teams at home.

UP NEXT

West Virginia returns home to face Texas Tech on Saturday.

Kansas State visits ninth-ranked Kansas on Saturday.

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