No. 13 Wildcats roll past West Virginia, 71-61
By DAVE SKRETTA
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Just about every time Kansas State huddled up, coach Bruce Weber reminded his team to keep its poise, even while whistles seemed to be sounding every time they turned around.
They managed to do it better than West Virginia.
Will Spradling scored 19 points, Nino Williams added 13 and the No. 13 Wildcats used a big first-half run to beat the Mountaineers 71-61 on Monday night, spoiling the return of coach Bob Huggins to the school he helped rebuild.
Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson each had 11 points, and Rodney McGruder added 10 for the Wildcats (21-5, 10-3), who slipped into first place in the Big 12 by a half game over ninth-ranked Kansas and No. 14 Oklahoma State. Those two teams play each other Wednesday night.
"It was just a very physical game," Weber said. "I'm glad our kids kept their poise for the most part. ... We stayed the course and stayed strong and did what we needed to."
The officials called 49 fouls, and both teams spent more than 18 minutes in the bonus. The Mountaineers had center Aaric Murray and leading scorer Eron Harris foul out, the Wildcats lost Jordan Henriquez, and there were three others who had four fouls when the game finally ended.
The teams combined to shoot 53 free throws.
"You got to stand your ground," Weber said. "One time I just said, `What do you want us to do? Let them cut and get a layup?' You have to guard them somehow.
"It was a very hard game to officiate," Weber added. "I know people get upset. I get upset. But I wouldn't take their job for anything."
Huggins received a warm reception in his first trip back to Bramlage Coliseum, where he went 23-12 as coach of the Wildcats during the 2006-07 season. Huggins led the program to the NIT, its first postseason appearance in eight years, before skipping town for his alma mater.
The reception was probably the highlight for Huggins on this night.
He watched the Wildcats use an 18-2 run to seize control in the opening minutes, and then was whistled for a technical foul for arguing with officials in the second half. Moments later, his leading scorer - freshman guard Eron Harris - fouled out after throwing an elbow on defense and then picking up a technical foul of his own.
"I mean, I really like this place," Huggins said. "I like the people. The people have been wonderful. It's nice to see people you haven't seen in a while, but at the end of the day, it's a business trip. We're supposed to win. We didn't."
Deniz Kilicli had 16 points for the Mountaineers (13-13, 6-7), but he didn't get a whole lot of help. The rest of their starters combined for 13 points, with two of them getting shut out.
"We were just holding the ball," said the Mountaineers' Jabarie Hinds. "We didn't have that much movement in our offense, so it was kind of easy for K-State to defend us."
After conceding the first basket a minute into the game, the Wildcats went on their big run that covered the next 8 minutes. Gipson did most of the damage inside for the Wildcats, the burly sophomore forward at one point scoring seven consecutive points.
West Virginia was just 1 of 8 from beyond the arc over the first 20 minutes, and committed eight turnovers - six of them during Kansas State's big run early in the half.
The Wildcats led 33-20 at the break.
"Let's be honest. We give them five, maybe, layups in half-court defense in the first half," Huggins said. "Maybe another three or four in the second half. You're talking somewhere between 16 and 20 points that were point-blank layups that eighth-graders make."
The first half took close to an hour to finish because of a multitude of fouls - 19 in all. Both teams were in the bonus with 8:42 remaining, the Mountaineers getting there when the Wildcats were twice called for holding as West Virginia tried to inbound the ball under its own basket.
Kansas State extended its lead to 41-22 in the opening minutes of the second half when Kilicli tried to make a move on the low post. This time, no whistle blew and Huggins roared out onto the court in a rage, his face beet-red and an assistant coach holding him back.
Huggins was hit with the technical foul, drawing a roar from the crowd, and Spradling made both free throws to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the night with 16:25 remaining.
The outburst seemed to rile up the Mountaineers, who scored the next seven points to get within 43-29 with just under 14 minutes left in the game. But the Wildcats started to match them basket-for-basket, and another technical foul - this one on Harris, who threw an elbow toward Spradling's head while guarding him at the top of the key - finished off West Virginia.
"It was something we talked about in several huddles. `Keep your poise. Let them do what they need to do. Don't retaliate,'" Weber said. "We can't back down, but we still have to guard."
The Wildcats coasted down the stretch, with the Mountaineers scoring a few buckets in the final minutes to make the final score much more competitive than the game itself.
"When we win, it's because we play hard. We guard," Weber said, before adding: "And we've gotten better on offense."
Updated February 19, 2013
Dale brings up how before the year started, fans and media alike thought Bill Belichick was a little crazy to let Welker leave the way it happened. Now it doesn't seem like he was that insane. Sure Wes is having some success in Denver, but the combo of Edelman and Amendola has been awesome. This leads to a discussion on Julian Edelman specifically, his role, his improvement and if the Pats will look to lock him up long term.
The guys discuss just how well things have gone for Belichick this season and how many of his decisions have worked out for the positive. They also get into the Stevan Ridley situation and how BIll has handled it. The guys aren't giving up on Ridley and think he can eventually contribute again, maybe even today.
Dale Arnold, Matt Chatham and Chris Price kick off NFL Sunday live from "Toby Keith's: I Love This Bar and Grill" in Foxborough and kick off the show with reaction to the Houston Texans firing head coach Gary Kubiak. The brutal loss to the Pats set the wheels in motion and then Thursday's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars sealed the deal. Just how bad are the Texans though? They've come up short in a bunch of very close games. The guys also discuss the situation in NY with Rex Ryan being forced to start Geno Smith who looks awful. Also, Matt discusses the Pats defensive miscues last week, including some evidence he found on tape of Spikes missing some big plays.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Peter King joins Mut and Merloni to go across the NFL and address the latest news. He discusses Kubiak's firing, Tomlin's fine, and Dennard's possible suspension.
Brick makes his weekly appearance on Mut and Merloni and discusses the Bruins loss to Montreal and the hit on Johnny Boychuck.
Michael Fabiano, fantasy expert and Yankees fan, gives his opinion on the Cano signing, discusses Julian Edelman's rising fantasy value, and actually suggests starting Ryan Fitzpatrick
We check in with Herm Edwards on the Pats, Stevan Ridley, and a great many things around the NFL.
We stir up a pot of crap when we debate the world cup and the popularity of soccer... pro callers, con-callers, plus Jack Edwards!
We tackle four topics at 4PM.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.More from this show
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.More from this show
Jackie Mac joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Rajon Rondo, the Celtics, and the Jacoby Ellsbury deal with the Yankees.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.More from this show