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Harris' Fouls Halt WVU's Comeback Bid

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MORGANTOWN -

The West Virginia Mountaineers have swept the three teams below them in the Big 12 standings, but failed to beat any of the five teams ahead of them.

WVU hoped to change that at Kansas State, but it did not happen. West Virginia fell behind early to Kansas State. The Wildcats eventually increased their lead to 21 points in the second half.

West Virginia kept fighting and cut that lead to 14 points with 9:24 remaining when WVU freshman Eron Harris committed a foul coupled with a technical foul away from the ball. It involved contact at mid-court with Kansas State's Will Spradling. Spradling went flying to the ground sparking the call by the official.

The two fouls on Harris were his fourth and fifth, which fouled him out of the game.

Spradling made all four free throws extending Kansas State's lead back to 18 points. The Wildcats also maintained possession of the ball.

There were a lot of questions by the WVU bench regarding the seriousness of Harris' foul on Spradling.

"Spradling, that's how he plays," WVU Forward Deniz Kilicli said. "He flops most of the time. That kind of killed us. It's not on Eron in any way. He did that. It happens in games."

"That foul hurt us because they went to the line, knocked four free throws down and the lead went from 14 to 18 and then they get the ball back with momentum," WVU Guard Juwan Staten said. "That was a rough spot in the game."

It was a freshman moment for one of the more consistent players over the past month. Harris was stunned by call. Head Coach Bob Huggins was furious with Harris telling him, "That was real bright. Give them four foul shots and the ball when we were making a run."

That run might not have been enough to lead WVU to victory, but it was applying pressure to Kansas State. West Virginia had completed an 18-point comeback against Iowa State earlier this season before losing in overtime.

"That was four points we gave up like that," Kilicli said. "They didn't have to work for it and they score four points and got the ball and on defense they have more momentum."

"I definitely feel like we were making a run," Staten said. "We were getting the ball inside. They were fouling us on our cuts. We were cutting hard. We were trying to play good defense and we were cutting the lead down slowly."

WVU ultimately lost by 10 points. Harris' foul may have halted West Virginia's run, but the Mountaineers need to do a better job of not getting down by that many points.

West Virginia returns to action Saturday afternoon against Oklahoma State.

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