Round two wasn't as exciting as round one, and that is perfectly fine with Mountaineer fans. After surviving in double overtime in Manhattan, #9 West Virginia (17-3, 6-2) mostly cruised in Morgantown over Kansas State (12-8, 2-6) by a score of 70-55 on Tuesday night at the Coliseum.
Getting his first start of the season, Nathan Adrian scored the first 5 points for the Mountaineers. Adrian replaced Esa Ahmad, who is dealing with a knee sprain but was available to play if necessary, according to Coach Huggins. Kansas State led 8-7 five minutes in before a 10-0 Mountaineer run capped off by a Jaysean Paige three gave West Viginia a 17-8 lead. The Mountaineers maintained a lead the rest of the half and a Jevon Carter three in the final seconds gave West Virginia a 34-25 lead going into the break. Devin Williams, still having trouble with double teams, had five first half turnovers.
The game was mostly in hand the entirety of the second half. West Virginia held a double digit lead most of the way, leading by as many as 17 points on their way to the 15 point victory.
Jonathan Holton had a really solid effort for the third straight game. The senior forward led the Mountaineers with 14 points and 11 rebounds. In his first start of the season, Nathan Adrian had his best game of the year. He scored 10 points on 4-5 shooting and 2-2 from three. Jaysean Paige added 12 points and 4 steals off the bench.
Devin Williams struggled tonight, scoring only 6 points and committing 6 turnovers.
Justin Edwards was the only K-State player in double figures, scoring 11.
West Virginia won the rebounding battle 42-36. They grabbed 16 offensive rebounds but allowed 13, most of them while Williams was on the bench.
Kansas State shot only 1-18 from three.
On to the notes:
- West Virginia covered the 10.5 spread in tonight's game.
- Early in the game Tarik Phillip picked up a technical after complaining about a non-call. After Phillip got the tech, Huggins picked up one. K-State made only 1 of the 4 technical free throws.
- Weather can't be used as an excuse this time. There were plenty of good seats available at the Coliseum tonight. What's it going to take to fill up an arena for a TOP TEN TEAM?
- Teyvon Myers made an appearance tonight at the end of the first half and gave the Mountaineers some good minutes. That is a good sign going forward.
Up next for West Virginia is a trip to Gainesville Saturday to take on the Florida Gators in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Mountaineers are 3-4 all-time against Florida, with the last matchup ending in a 70-57 Gator win. This is only the third matchup between the teams since 1971. The game tips at 12:00 PM and will be televised on ESPN and WatchESPN.