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WVU

West Virginia blows 21-point lead in loss to Kansas State

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, 9:54 p.m.
West Virginia forward Logan Routt (31) blocks a shot by Kansas State guard Barry Brown Jr. during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 in Manhattan, Kan.
West Virginia forward Logan Routt (31) blocks a shot by Kansas State guard Barry Brown Jr. during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 in Manhattan, Kan.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Barry Brown scored 29 points, including the go-ahead layup with 28.9 seconds to go, and Kansas State rallied from a 21-point second-half deficit to beat West Virginia, 71-69, on Wednesday night.

Mike McGuirl added 18 points and Kamau Stokes, dealing with a lingering foot injury, added 12 as the Wildcats (11-4, 1-2 Big 12) used the largest comeback in school history to beat the Mountaineers for only the second time in their last 11 meetings.

West Virginia (8-7, 0-3) led 42-21 early in the second half before Kansas State used a 17-0 run to get back in the game. Still, the Mountaineers had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but Derek Culver’s off-balance shot in the lane missed wide and the Wildcats secured the rebound.

Xavier Sneed added a foul shot, and West Virginia couldn’t get off a half-court heave.

Lamont West scored 21 points, and Culver finished with 17 for the Mountaineers, who had never lost their first three conference games. In fact, they’ve won at least 11 each of the past four seasons.

Many fans showed up to Bramlage Coliseum to see the Big 12’s two worst offenses wondering whether the first team to 50 would win, and for a while it looked as if 40 might do it.

Kansas State’s only field goal over the first 11-plus minutes came on a goaltending call, and at one point the Wildcats went more than seven minutes without a point. It wasn’t until Stokes hit a jumper just before the final media timeout that they scored from more than 3 feet.

Not that West Virginia was lighting things up.

The Mountaineers were 6 of 14 from beyond the arc in the first half, and a series of turnovers and sloppy execution allowed the Wildcats — down 20-3 at one point — to stay within 36-21 at halftime.

Kansas State’s comeback bid appeared to be in jeopardy when big man Makol Mawien picked up two fouls in the first minute of the second half, sending him to the bench with four. The Mountaineers pushed their lead to 42-21 with 18:45 to go, but they couldn’t bury the Wildcats.

What came next was as stunning as it was unexpected.

The Wildcats, so inept on offense, ripped off 17 points during a run that never slowed even when West Virginia coach Bob Huggins called timeout. Brown led the way with nine during the charge, but it was McGuirl — averaging 2.4 points a game — who provided the emotional lift.

His 3-pointer got the Wildcats within 44-41 with 12:10 to go.

West Virginia stretched the lead back to 10, but the Wildcats kept answering every run, and Sneed finally gave them their first lead when he converted a four-point play with 2:30 remaining.

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