MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–With a deflating loss to Oklahoma in the rear view mirror, No. 7 West Virginia University looks to bounce back against Kansas State on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.
“Press Virginia” struggled defensively and at the charity stripe on Wednesday. The Mountaineers forced just 12 turnovers and often looked in disarray at times.
Typically, WVU’s high-pressure defense flusters opponents. The Mountaineers lead the nation in scoring margin (25.1), turnover margin (12.5), turnovers forced (23.6) and steals (12.3). WVU ranks third in offensive rebounds (15.6), sixth in assists (18.2), sixth in scoring offense (89.0) and 31st in scoring defense (63.9).
However, the Sooners were not at all bothered by the Mountaineers’ press, which lacked effort most of the night.
To make matters worse WVU allowed the game-winning basket on an end-to-end drive by Jordan Woodard.
“We’re supposed to be the best pressing team in America,” Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins said after the loss. “How do you let a guy drive right down the floor and shoot a layup? Five seconds. In five seconds, he drove it the length of the floor and shot a layup to win the game.”
Don’t look for WVU to make that mistake two games in a row.
Jevon Carter (11.9 points) is a vital component to the Mountaineers’ defensive success. He leads the Big 12 and is fourth in the nation in steals.
Esa Ahmad (11.7 points) is second on the team in scoring but has been in a scoring slump the last two games.
Nathan Adrian (10.7 points and 6.5 rebounds), Daxter Miles Jr. (10.2 points) and Brandon Watkins (7.4 points) round out the starting lineup for WVU.
Elijah Macon appears to have recovered from a knee injury and has been playing good basketball of late. The junior forward tallied 13 points against the Sooners.
The Wildcats are coming off their first road win of the season, defeating Oklahoma State 96-88 on Wednesday.
During the win point guard Kamau Stokes (11.3 points) suffered an injury to his left ankle late in the game. The 6-foot, 165-pound sophomore did not return and is listed as questionable for the game.
Sophomore Barry Brown leads Kansas State, averaging 12.7 points. D.J. Johnson (12.3 points), Wesley Iwundu (12.1 points) and Dean Wade (10.1 points) all are all average in double-figures.
The Wildcats are 9-1 at home this season.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN2.
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS