"They take things away from you," Huggins said. "You watch all their games and nobody runs offense. They're like we were the last your years. They take you out of what you want to run and you end up having to ball-screen. You end up having to spread it out and play one-on-one. Everything is off the bounce. We haven't done a very good job of that."
McGruder led Kansas State with 20 points. Gipson had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Will Spradling made four 3s and scored 16 points.
The Wildcats (5-1) opened a 41-34 lead early in the second half, which matched the largest lead in the first half, but the Mountaineers (5-2) would stay close. A hook shot by Kilicli in the paint made it 46-42 and actually pushed WVU's shooting percentage to 50 percent in a game defined by defense.
Kilicli was WVU's offense early in the second half and had 10 of the team's first 15 points, but he picked up his fourth foul with 12:03 to go. He went to the bench with the Mountaineers trailing 50-46.
WVU had a chance to take the lead, but freshman Keaton Miles missed two free throws. Kansas State scored in transition off a WVU turnover for a 54-51 lead. Jones was fouled shooting a 3-pointer. He went 1-for-3 to make the Mountaineers 9-for-20 in the game. Kansas State missed and Browne came out of a timeout and flipped in a whirling left-handed layup to tie the score.
After Kansas State scored in transition, Jones answered with a layup and a free throw with 4:17 to go to give the Mountaineers their first lead since it was 29-27 with 3:12 to go in the first half.
It didn't last long. McGruder scored for Kansas State and Bryant lost his dribble to Rodriguez, whose layup made it a 60-57 game.
WVU won the second meeting between the two schools that will soon both occupy the Big 12 and the first since a win in 1951. The Mountaineers also rewarded Huggins, who coached Kansas State in 2006-07 to a 23-12 record, the most wins the team had had in 19 years. The Wildcats broke an eight-year postseason drought with an appearance in the NIT.
WVU plays host to Miami at 7 p.m. Saturday. The game inside the Coliseum will be televised by ESPN2 and the Mountaineers, who lost last Saturday at Mississippi State and earlier at home against Kent State, no longer have quite as much pressure to win one of these non-conference games to use toward a NCAA bid.
"We talk to them about it every day," Huggins said. "Some guys say you shouldn't talk about that, you shouldn't put pressure on them. The reality is I don't want a guy coming to me saying, 'I wish I would have known. If I would have known, maybe I prepare a little harder, play a littler harder.'
"I don't want that to be on me. I want to make sure they know where we are and what we've got to do and what's got to happen so they can't come back and say, 'I wish I would have known.' "
Contact sportswriter mikecasazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.