Justin K. Aller
The Mountaineers put in a valiant effort but come up short at home against the Wildcats.
The Mountaineers may have played their best game of the year against the Kansas State Wildcats, but it was all for naught as WVU's final shot attempt at the buzzer was blocked.
Both teams managed to shoot extremely well in the first half with WVU trailing by 3 heading into the break. Returning to the court for the second half, WVU and K-State exchanged runs with WVU starting with a 8 point run and the Wildcats answering with a 7 point run of their own. No lead ever went over 5 in the second half, as the teams took turns exchanging the lead and had several ties.
In what was definitely a poorly officiated game for both teams, Kansas State had several of their big men in foul trouble but the Mountaineers couldn't consistently take advantage of the situation. Questionable fouls on the Wildcat players and several baffling out of bounds calls and travels on the Mountaineers was most of the officiating story.
West Virginia also couldn't take advantage of the foul situation from the foul line where they usually excel, only going 12 for 22 on the day. Jabarie Hinds led the Mountaineers in scoring with 15 points. Murray chipped in 11 and Terry Henderson dropped in 10 as the other Mountaineers in double figure scoring.
Bottom line is that this was a winnable game and would have been a huge boost to a tournament resume. Though the Mountaineers certainly played better than they have all season, they came up short.
WVU (8-7, 1-2 Big 12) returns to action on Wednesday when they travel to Ames to take on Iowa State in the first hardcourt edition of the Riot Bowl.