|Field Goal %||29.8||54.9|
|Three Point %||34.6||41.7|
|Free Throw %||70.0||95.8|
The #15 West Virginia Mountaineers (17-6 6-4) got back in the win column against the Kansas State Wildcats (16-7 5-5) Saturday evening.
There was a lot of talk about the Mountaineer players having the flu as of late, but it didn’t seem to slow them down. “Beetle (Guard James “Beetle” Bolden) came in yesterday pretty much out right of the hospital and said coach I can go. Dax wanted to do some stuff, I didn’t let him do anything I just told him to sit there and watch.” Said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.
West Virginia sophomore guard Beetle Bolden would make his first career start Saturday evening and he would get off to a quick start. “He came in and said he wanted to play” said Huggins. “I thought we needed another ball handler.”
Bolden made an impact from the tip, jumping in front of the K-State player tipping the ball to Esa Ahmad and the Mountaineers won the tip-off.
Beetle put West Virginia on the board first with a three, after corralling an offensive rebound.
In the first two minutes of the game he would have three points, an offensive rebound and a steal.
West Virginia started the game with a lot of energy and continued to play hard throughout the first half. The defense was stifling, causing four turnovers in the first three minutes and they would hold a 7-3 lead.
West Virginia held Kansas State without a field goal for a little over 10 minutes, until Wildcat forward Levi Stockard got a put back as time was running off the clock. The Mountaineers only outscored Kansas State 15-9, during that time.
Kansas State played good defense, but West Virginia worked the ball around, getting everyone involved and found ways to score. It all started with guard Jevon Carter who had six of his eleven assists in the first half.
The Mountaineers would shoot 50% (14-28) in the first half. Bolden and forward Sagaba Konate would lead the team with nine points followed by Esa Ahmad’s nine.
In the second half, Beetle would get things started again for the Mountaineers with a pair of free throws.
West Virginia would go on a 6-0 run early to extend their lead to 15 and they would not stop there. The Mountaineers continued their pressure and would change defenses in the half-court to keep the Wildcats off balance. “I was really concerned about not having enough energy to press. I still want to be able to change things up.” Said Huggins.
Kansas State went a little over six minutes without a field goal and West Virginia went on a 12-2 run.
The Mountaineers would finish the game on a 20-4 run and holding the Wildcats to 21 points in the second half. “I though our pressure was pretty good.” Said Huggins.
West Virginia has been struggling the last few weeks in the second half and one of the reasons has been rebounding. Against Kansas State, they outrebounded the Wildcats 23-11. “We’ve watched us not block out on tape. We’ve hammered it in drills. I think the biggest thing is we kept us between them and the basket.” Said Huggins.
This is arguably the most complete game they have played since the Mountaineers hosted Oklahoma in the early part of January. Coincidentally, West Virginia goes on the road for another Big Monday game on the road to face the Sooners at 9pm est.
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