|Field Goal %||44.8||39.7|
|Three Point %||44.4||41.7|
|Free Throw %||79.3||66.7|
The #7 West Virginia Mountaineers (16-5) fall to the Kentucky Wildcats (16-5) inside the Coliseum Saturday night. It’s their fourth loss in five games.
The Mountaineers blew a 17-point lead in the second half. This is the third time in their last four losses they have blown a double-digit lead.
West Virginia looked great in the first half and had Kentucky rattled from the outset. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 10-3 lead and forward Sagaba Konate was leading the way with four points, a block and a steal. Sags had the fans into the game early.
Kentucky head coach Jon Calipari would take a thirty second timeout to stop the bleeding and his Wildcats would respond with a quick 4-0 run off back to back dunks by Kevin Knox to cut the lead to three, 10-7.
The Mountaineers would start to go on little run to build on their lead, but none were bigger than the 14-2 run the Mountaineers put together in just 3:09 of play and was ahead 38-22 with just 3:18 to go in the first half.
West Virginia was being aggressive on both ends of the floor. They forced 11 turnovers, shot 47.1% (16-34) from the field, 58.3% (7-12) from three and was getting to the foul line, going 9-12 (75.0%). The Mountaineers were also keeping pace with a great rebounding team, out-rebounding Kentucky 21-20.
Jevon Carter was hot, hitting all four of his threes, leading all scorers with 18 points and had four assists.
Sags was a force in the middle, scoring 9 points, grabbing four rebounds and 5 blocks.
West Virginia guard Beetle Bolden came in and knocked a couple threes down and contributed 8 points and the Mountaineers would take a 15-point lead into halftime 48-33.
In the second half, talent took over and Kentucky completely dominated the game after halftime. “I thought we tried to run offense the first half. We did a pretty good job of running offense, but then we didn’t run offense the second half. They took us out of some things, and we had some guys going to be heroes rather than team players. And the truth of the matter is, they are just better than we are. They are more talented.” said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.
Kentucky would cut the lead to seven in the first five minutes of play and would take their first lead at the 10:38 mark, 58-56, finishing off a 25-8 run.
Beetle Bolden would come back into the game and hit back to back threes then a turnover would give Daxter Miles a lay-up on the other end and just like that, the Mountaineers would go on an 8-0 and take a four-point lead, 66-62 with 7:58 to go in the game.
The Wildcats would respond with a 6-0 run reclaiming the lead 68-66, and the Mountaineers would never grab the lead again.
Bolden hit a three to tie the game at 74 with 1:26 to in the game, but Kevin Knox went down on the other end and hit a three of his own on the ensuing possession. That was a back breaker for Mountaineers, they never responded after that.
Kentucky forward Kevin Knox was dominate. He had 34 points and 7 rebounds to lead his Wildcats in the upset win over the Mountaineers. “The thing that kills me is we come out and the whole idea was don’t leave Knox. I don’t even think we knew where he was. He was the guy who was making shots.” Said Huggins.
West Virginia was outscored 50-28 and outrebounded 29-13 in the second half.
This was another tough loss for the Mountaineers, again blowing another double-digit second half lead.
They travel to Ames, Iowa Wednesday to take on the Cyclones at 7 pm est.