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Without Johnson, Kansas State falls at West Virginia 85-66

Virtually every number on the stat sheet was bad.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

One could be forgiven for expecting K-State to lose today in Morgantown. But it’s unlikely that anyone would have predicted how it would happen.

With D.J. Johnson sidelined after suffering a sprain against Kansas on Monday, the Wildcats simply couldn’t get the ball to stay inside the rim as they fell 85-66 to West Virginia at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown. The plague affected all quarters of the shooting game, as K-State (16-9, 5-7) was only 35% from the field, 33% from three, and even a miserable 68% from the free throw line.

Turnovers were also a problem, relatively speaking, as unlike in Manhattan the Mountaineers won the turnover battle. Worse, K-State’s inability to score also kept the assist count low, leading to a woeful 0.53 assist-to-turnover ratio. Being forced to play small in Johnson’s absence also afforded West Virginia (20-5, 8-4) the opportunity to amass a commanding advantage in rebounds.

The only item on the stat sheet which K-State won was fouls, which isn’t surprising against West Virginia. Yet even with that, Kamau Stokes and Xavier Sneed spent the final 10 minutes playing with four fouls; their inability to be aggressive severely hindered K-State’s ability to cut the Mountaineer lead.

Johnson’s absence broke a string of 35 straight starts and 51 straight appearances. His place in the starting lineup was taken by Xavier, with Dean Wade and Wesley Iwundu rotating to the 5 and 4 respectively.

Iwundu led K-State with 14 points and eight rebounds. Stokes had 12, while Sneed and Barry Brown added 10 each. Wade also grabbed eight boards, but only had five points. Forced into his largest role of the season, Brian Patrick had eight points, and ran the Wildcat offense for the final two minutes of the game after Bruce Weber emptied the bench.

Jevon Carter scored a game-high 19 for the Mountaineers and added nine rebounds, with Esa Ahmad scoring 11. Lamont West also had n1ne boards.

The Cats return home for a Wednesday contest with Iowa State (14-9, 6-5), who host Oklahoma this evening.