Huggins, now 1-4 against Kansas State and 1-3 since he coached here in the 2006-07 season, said the Wildcats pass better than they play defense. That defense, which leads the Big 12 in scoring and 3-point percentage and is second in field-goal percentage, bothered a WVU team that continues to misfire.
The Mountaineers shot 32.7 percent, the worst since a home loss to Oklahoma State in February, and missed 11 of 15 3-point attempts after shooting 37.7 percent and missing 21 of 25 3-point shots against Texas. They made fewer than six 3s just three times in the first 16 games, but have now made only four in both of the past two games.
WVU also had 15 turnovers to just five assists.
"Everyone knows that Kansas State is a great help defense team," Staten said. "They help early and they help on every play. The only way to really get good shots against them is to move the ball and move bodies. Sometimes we'd move the ball and people weren't cutting hard or weren't cutting to score. If you're not giving the passer a good look cutting like that, it's pointless to do it."
Harris led WVU with 21 points and made 4 of 8 3-point attempts. He's only the second player to make more than three 3s in a game against the Wildcats this season. Staten had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but also a career-high seven turnovers. The rest of WVU's starting lineup contributed 13 points -- nine from Devin Williams -- on 4-for-18 shooting. Then again, the bench got six points -- all from Gary Browne -- on 2-for-9 shooting.
"I think it's less about the other team than it is us," said Harris, who was 5-for-12 overall. "If we can't make out shots, it's our fault. We're just not that good at making shots."
The Mountaineers didn't start as poorly as they would play. Back-to-back 3s from Harris, who was 1-for-13 the past two games, followed a putback basket from Williams. WVU had made 3 of 5 shots and led 8-3, which ended up being its largest lead. The Mountaineers then shot 3-for-15 the rest of the half, went 5:50 between baskets and had just two in the final 12:51.
The Wildcats, who subscribe to a deliberate style that keeps possessions to a minimum to compliment the defense, were unstoppable. They played fast. They made 3s. They dunked. They scored nine straight points in a 16-6 run that saw the Mountaineers go nine minutes with just one basket. It was a 30-19 game when WVU committed a turnover while running a play out of a timeout for the second time in the half.
Southwell hit a 3 and then answered Staten's two free throws by lobbing pass to Wesley Iwundu for a dunk and a 35-21 lead, largest of the half.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. Is blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu.