MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia is still looking.
Confident they were changing their fortunes after Wednesday's comeback win at Texas, the Mountaineers left the Coliseum Saturday with another loss to a ranked and RPI top-100 team.
Kansas State, No. 18 in the Associated Press poll and No. 43 in the RPI, used a late run to push back WVU's rally and emerged from a series of late swings to beat the Mountaineers 65-64 before a crowd of 10,039.
"We had it," WVU guard Terry Henderson said. "I think we had this game. Down the stretch, we had mental lapses we can't have. We can't allow that to happen as a team."
The Mountaineers, three days removed from erasing a 13-point second-half deficit to win on the road against the Longhorns, (8-7, 1-2 Big 12) are now 0-3 against ranked opponents and 0-7 against the RPI top 100.
"They're better than people realize," Kansas State Coach Bruce Weber said.
They had opportunities against Kansas State with a lead in the final minute and then three shots when they had a chance to win in the final 20 seconds, but nothing went right. The Wildcats had their game-winning points come at the foul line with 21.4 seconds to go, nearly stole the ball on WVU's final inbound and then blocked the game's final shot.
"We're getting better, we're making steps in the right direction, but instead of taking a big step today we took a very small one," forward Kevin Noreen said. "There really aren't any moral victories right now. We need to get to 20 (wins). Dropping one like that hurts."
WVU was ahead 41-36, its biggest cushion of the entire game, early in the second half, but couldn't maintain the lead. The Wildcats (13-2, 2-0) scored 12 unanswered points to go up 48-41, the largest lead either way, but the Mountaineers reacted with six unanswered points, all from Aaric Murray.
The spurt ended on a questionable goaltend call against Murray, but Jabarie Hinds tied the score 50-50 with a 3 from the left side. The score would be tied once and the lead would switch five times after that. Neither side led by more than three points, that when Shane Southwell's layup gave the Wildcats a 59-56 lead with 4:10 remaining.
The Mountaineers would get close and Gary Browne's layup made it 61-60, but Southwell's steal preceded a tricky layup on the right side by Angel Rodriguez with 2:13 to go.
After Murray scored inside with 1:17 remaining, Kansas State missed a mid-range jumper and the Mountaineers took the lead when Eron Harris sunk a leaning jumper from the right side with the shot clock running close to zero.
Southwell was fouled by Dominique Rutledge with 21.4 seconds to go and made both his free throws.
"It was a dumb foul," Harris said. "I don't even think it was a foul, honestly. I think the guy just tripped. But, whatever, he got fouled and they go up. That's the difference in the game."
Hinds missed a short jumper, but WVU retained possession when the rebound went out of bounds in front of WVU's bench with 9.1 seconds left. On the inbound, Hinds stumbled working free from Rodriguez and Browne's inbound pass was tipped into the backcourt.