Sophomore guard Barry Brown capped an impressive second half with a crucial steal with 25 seconds remaining, as Kansas State held off a late charge from No. 7/8 West Virginia, 79-75, before a sold-out crowd of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum.
Brown scored all 15 of his team-tying points in the second half on 5-of-10 field goals, as all five Wildcat starters registered double figures for the fourth time this season. Fellow sophomore guard Kamau Stokes scored 15 points to go with 3 assists and 3 steals, while senior forward D.J. Johnson (14), senior guard Wesley Iwundu (13) and sophomore forward Dean Wade (13) also registered double digits.
The win gave the Wildcats (15-4, 4-3 Big 12) consecutive Big 12 victories for the first time since 2015 and ended a 5-game losing streak to the Mountaineers (15-4, 4-3 Big 12). K-State also earned its first Top 25 win of the season and extended its streak of at least one victory over a ranked opponent to 11 consecutive seasons.
K-State connected on 50 percent or better from the field for the 10th time this season, including the fifth time in Big 12 play, hitting on exactly 50 percent (28-of-56) of its field goals. The Wildcats used defense and rebounding to offset a poor shooting night from 3-point range and the free throw line, converting a season-high 23 Mountaineers turnovers into 25 points and scoring 16 second-chance points on the strength of 12 offensive rebounds.
West Virginia shot just 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the field, including 38.1 percent (8-of-21) from 3-point range, but kept itself in the tight affair by knocking down 21 of 24 free throw attempts. The Mountaineers, who entered the game first in the nation in average turnover margin and total steals, scored 15 points off 16 Wildcat miscues and added 15 second-chance points on 14 offensive boards.
Reserve Tarik Phillip paced three Mountaineers in double figures with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-11 field goals, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, while All-Big 12 performer Jevon Carter notched a double-double with 14 points and game-high 10 rebounds to go with game-best 5 steals.
Early in the second half, Iwundu became the first Wildcat in school history to total 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 steals in a career. After becoming the 27th Wildcat to eclipse 1,000 career points in the win at Oklahoma State Wednesday, the senior entered Saturday’s game needing just 7 rebounds for the milestone.