What a way to start conference play. Though the usual pressing style was ineffective and only one starter scored double-figures, #19 West Virginia (12-1, 1-0) found a way to defeat Kansas State (10-3, 0-1) 87-83 in double overtime in Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday afternoon.
The game was close the entire way. Kansas State led at the half 34-33. West Virginia outscored the Wildcats 36-35 in the second half. Midway through the second half, with the Mountaineers unable to create many turnovers out of the press, Bob Huggins switched to a 1-3-1 that gave the Wildcats trouble and allowed the Mountaineers to pull out the victory.
Jaysean Paige was the story in this game. The senior wing, already having an incredible season, scored a new career high 25 off the bench. Paige attacked the basket constantly, resulting in 10 free throw attempts.
With the game tied at 83, Tarik Phillip drove to the basket and hit a mid-range jumper to give the Mountaineers the lead. On the next K-State possession, freshman Dean Wade (an impressive player) missed a three and a chance to give the Wildcats the lead. Daxter Miles missed a jumper on the other end, then with six seconds to play, Jonathan Holton blocked Wesley Iwundu's layup attempt. The ball went off Iwundu's hands, and then two Jevon Carter free throws clinched the four point victory.
Both fanbases will have their complaints about the officials in this game. The two teams combined for 74 free throws, with West Virginia making 20-31 and Kansas State making 28-43.
Both teams struggled from the three point line. WVU was 3-20 and K-State was 3-19.
Aside from Paige, Tarik Phillip had a nice game, scoring 14 on 6-8 shooting. Only one starter scored double-figures, with Daxter Miles getting 10.
Barry Brown led the Wildcats in scoring, with 20 off the bench. Wesley Iwundu had 16, Kamau Stokes 15, and Dean Wade 13.
Some quick notes:
- With 1:07 to go in regulation and West Virginia up one, Jaysean Paige was fouled driving to the basket. After the whistle, Daxter Miles inexplicably grabbed the rim, hung on it, and then did a chin-up. Unsurprisingly, he was whistled for a technical and nearly made Bob Huggins' head explode. Thankfully for Dax, K-State missed the free throw.
- Devin Williams sat out all of the crunch time minutes late in the half and didn't return until a couple minutes into overtime. Williams was visibly frustrated all game.
- The offense for the majority of the second half and overtime ran through Jaysean Paige, and rightfully so.
- The final few seconds of OT took forever. After an awful possession by West Virginia that resulted in Tarik Phillip throwing the ball off the side of the backboard, the game stalled. First they reviewed if the ball was tipped by Kansas State, then to review how much time was on the clock and if the shot clock had expired. Initially it seemed like they were going to give the ball to Kansas State, but then gave it to West Virginia with one second on the shot clock. The ball was clearly tipped by a K-State defender. Jevon Carter missed a tough fadeaway after all the chaos.
- After dominating the boards in the first half, West Virginia was outrebounded by Kansas State in the second half and OT. West Virginia still won the rebounding battle 43-35 and had 15 offensive rebounds.
- Both teams had 15 turnovers in the game.
The Mountaineers are back in action on Monday when they travel to Fort Worth to take on TCU. West Virginia's depth will certainly come into play in this one, with today's contest requiring a ton of energy. The game tips at 7:00 PM and will be televised on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.