K-State Basketball: ‘Cats concede to West Virginia

West Virginia's Juwan Staten, left, drives past Kansas State's Thomas Gipson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va. West Virginia won 81-71. (AP Photo/Andrew Ferguson)

West Virginia’s Juwan Staten, left, drives past Kansas State’s Thomas Gipson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va. West Virginia won 81-71. (AP Photo/Andrew Ferguson)

It seems as though consistency is not K-State’s strongest suit this season as the Wildcats fell to the West Virginia Mountaineers 81-71 in Morganville on Saturday.

With the exception of their take down of TCU in Ft. Worth a few weeks ago, K-State  (15-7, 5-4) has lost every conference road game this season. This also marks their third loss in their last four games. 

Juwan Staten helped the Mountaineers (13-9, 5-4 Big 12) clinch their second consecutive win with a career high 35 points, and led the team with four rebounds and five assists.

Free throws gave West Virginia the advantage they needed to win the game, shooting 12 of 16 for 75 percent in the first half and 17 of 21 for 81 percent in the second. Staten contributed 18 of 21 points from the line, breaking a school record set in 1963.

Kansas State fell short, only making 1-4 in the first half and 7-15 in the second.

Marcus Foster showed up to play, contributing 23 points this game, however, once again the team did not give a collective group effort. For whatever reason, it seems that when Foster is on his A-game, the rest of the team takes a back seat instead of providing the kind of effort it’s capable of putting out.

Thomas Gipson gave a solid 19 points but suffered on free throws, only making 3 of 8. Shane Southwell was virtually unheard from the whole night with only 5 points to show for his 25 minutes of play time.

Outside of Gipson and Foster, no other Wildcat broke the double-digit barrier and it was ultimately reflected in the final score.

Mindless turnovers also plagued the Wildcats, collecting 14 over the course of the game, many in crucial moments. Though the Mountaineers had ten of their own, they were still able to convert when it mattered most.

Neither team had outrageous advantages throughout the game. K-State even shaved down West Virginia’s 68-67 lead with 3:09 left in the  game before Gipson threw the ball away, giving the Mountaineers the opportunity to squeeze by again.

Staten’s dunk at the end of the game, preceded by six straight team free throws, is what gave the Mountaineers the upper-hand at the game’s close.

Whatever funk the Wildcats are going through on the road, they seriously need to overcome their half in, half out effort if they want to walk away from this season with their dignity intact. The team seems to ease off the gas whenever one player begins to score key points and it simply won’t work if they hope to collect more wins.

K-State basketball will return home for back-to-back games on Saturday against No. 25 Texas at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats lost to the Longhorns 67-64 earlier in the season and will need to be firing on all cylinders if they hope to snap Texas’ momentum.

Tip off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CT on the Big 12 Network.