Tuesday evening we lamented that Kansas State (5-11, 1-7 Big 12) scored only 50 points against Oklahoma on the road. Well, as Kansas City Royals manager Buddy Bell famously said after his team dropped a 10th consecutive game in what would be a 100-loss season in 2006, “Never say it can’t get worse.”
The Wildcats managed only 47 points at home against No. 14 West Virginia (10-4, 3-3) on Saturday, dropping a 69-47 decision to a team that had not played in two weeks and that suffered the defection of promising post player Oscar Tshiebwe not long before the layoff.
Though the Mountaineers started hot, their play did not affect the outcome of this game nearly as much as K-State’s own play. K-State’s first five possessions resulted in a single shot and four turnovers. It would turn out to be the theme of the day. In the first half, the Wildcats committed 18 turnovers and only scored 17 points. By the end of the game, they had made 19 shots and turned the ball over 28 times, eclipsing the Bruce Weber-era single game turnover record by three.
The K-State school record for turnovers in a game is 32, so history was threatened but somewhat miraculously escaped harm.
If you are looking for bright spots, you will have to look hard. Might also have to pretend, a little. Selton Miguel did score the first nine K-State points after the intermission, and when Mike McGuirl made both free throws after a technical foul on West Virginia’s Seny Ndiaye, K-State quite unexpectedly found itself within eight points of the Mountaineers, 36-28, with 15:31 to play. But a blown defensive assignment led to a back-door cut and dunk by Jalen Bridges, and Taz Sherman hit three-point buckets on back-to-back possessions to stretch the West Virginia lead back to 16, at 44-28 less than two minutes later. K-State would not threaten again.
Squint harder and you’ll see a 37-24 K-State advantage on the rebounding chart. But, again, with the Wildcats simply giving the ‘Eers the ball twenty-eight times, the rebounding “edge” is fool’s gold. Nobody can rebound shots that aren’t even attempted.
Beyond sloppiness with the ball, K-State broke down defensively early in the contest to give up wide-open three-point looks and got lost several times in the second half for easy Mountaineer dunks. It was, in the end, an awful performance in virtually every way. K-State never led in this game, and it honestly felt like a much larger blowout than 22 points.
A look at the leaders shows Mike McGuirl with 15 points and Selton Miguel with 10. McGuirl (the lone senior, mind you) also “led” the way with six turnovers. DaJuan Gordon and Rudi Williams followed his example, with five apiece.
West Virginia had three players reach double figures, highlighted by Miles McBride’s 18.
That’s as much recap as this game deserves. “Three in the Key” is intended to highlight points of interest and pivotal moments or stats for the game. In this case, that’s simple.
Three in the Key
- 28 turnovers.
- 28 turnovers.
- 28 freaking turnovers.
The Wildcats travel to No. 2 Baylor for an 8 p.m. tip. Sounds fun.