WVU Continues Run for Big 12 Title against K-State - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Continues Run for Big 12 Title against K-State

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Freshman Sagaba Konate and Maciej Bender block a shot in the quarterfinal round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. Freshman Sagaba Konate and Maciej Bender block a shot in the quarterfinal round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship.

Two big upsets in the quarterfinal round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship have tonight’s semifinal bracket looking a lot different than most thought.

Before No. 2 seed West Virginia took the floor against No. 10 seed Texas on Thursday, No. 8 seed TCU stunned the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks 85-82. In the final match up of the evening, No. 6 seed Kansas State overpowered No. 3 seed Baylor 70-64, leaving the No. 2, 4, 6 and 8 seeds remaining in the quest for the Big 12 Title.

Jevon Carter netted 21 points in WVU’s 63-53 victory over the Longhorns, and Barry Brown matched that number, one shy of his career-high, in K-State’s win over Baylor, advancing both teams to tonight’s 9 p.m. semifinal game.

“We talked about success is when opportunity meets preparation, and that's when you have success. You know, we gotta be prepared, we've got another opportunity we've got to be prepared and dealing with their press, dealing with their zones,” Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber said.

“They've gone 1-3-1. They've done some different things, taking care of the ball and play strong. But I think the big thing is get mentally ready and get locked in. I told them we came here to win the championship not to just win one game, and that's what our focus has to be, getting to that championship game.”

WVU and KSU split the regular season series, both earning victory’s on its home court.

In the first meeting on January 21 in Manhattan, Kansas, the Wildcats overcame a 12-point first half deficit to defeat then No. 7 West Virginia 79-75. All five Kansas State starters scored double figures.

It was the second game in a row where a double-digit lead slipped out of WVU’s grasp.  The Mountaineers struggled defensively, committing a season-high 23 turnovers.

But the tables turned as the two met at the WVU Coliseum on February 11. Carter lead the Mountaineers to a 85-66 victory with 19 points and Esa Ahmad added 11. The contest saw 54 fouls called on both teams. The Mountaineers had the advantage from the line, knocking down 17 out of 21. KSU attempted 40 but only managed to hit 27.

Turnovers were still an issue for WVU as it committed 18 and forced 19.

Wesley Iwundu had a team-high 14 points for Kansas State. Starting center D.J. Johnson watched from the bench with a sprained ankle.

Last year, the Wildcats tournament run ended in the quarterfinal round with a 85-63 loss to Kansas. For West Virginia, this is will be it’s second consecutive trip to the semifinal round. The Mountaineers lost to the Jayhawks by 10 points in the 2016 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship final.

No. 2 seed West Virginia faces No. 6 seed Kansas State tonight at 9 p.m., the winner advancing to tomorrow’s title game against No. 4 seed Iowa State/No. 8 seed TCU.

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