WVU, KSU cagers collide

MORGANTOWN – After going on the road to knock off Baylor (66-64) West Virginia University’s men’s basketball team returns to the friendly confines of the Coliseum at 1:30 p.m. today to take on a Kansas State squad which laid a 78-56 whipping on them 14 days ago.

The Wildcats (15-6, 5-3 Big 12) are coming off a 66-58 win against Texas Tech on the same night on which the Mountaineers (12-9, 4-4 Big 12) received a game-winning layin from Juwan Staten with three seconds remaining to knock off the Bears.

A year ago Jabarie Hinds led three Mountaineers into double digits with 15 points, but it was not enough as KSU’s Shane Southwell and Rodney McGruder tied for game-high scoring honors with 17 points apiece as the Wildcats escaped Morgantown with a one-point, 65-64, victory.

Southwell, now a senior, returns and is one of three Wildcats averaging double figures. Freshman Marcus Foster leads the way with 13.4 points per game followed by South well (11.3 ppg) and junior Thomas Gipson (11.8). Junior Will Spradling (7.7) and freshman Wesley Iwundu (7.0) round out KSU’s starting lineup.

Veteran head coach Bobby Huggins will counter with sophomores Eron Harris (17.3 ppg) and Terry Henderson (12.2) and Staten (17.2), a junior, at the guards with junior Kevin Noreen (2.0) and freshman Devin Williams (9.1, 7.5 rpg) at the forwards.

WVU and Kansas State will be meeting for the sixth time in a series that dates back to 1949, but only resumed when the Mountaineers moved from the Big East to the Big 12 last year. The Wildcats hold a 4-1 edge in the series, including a sweep last season.

As it has all season long, the bench will be very important to any success WVU enjoys today. Junior forward Remi Debo is the top scorer coming off of the bench, averaging 7.4 points per game. The 6-foot-7 player is second on the team with 34 triples this season.

Also look for junior Gary Browne (5.9 ppg), freshmen Nathan Adrian (5.1) and Brandon Watkins (3.1) as well as sophomores Tyrone Hughes and Richard Romeo to see action.

The game will be televised by the Big 12 Network. Locally, fans can watch the game on WIYE-My 5. MSN from IMG will be on Sirius 138 and IM 194.

West Virginia comes into the game ranked No. 10 nationally in the latest NCAA rankings in fewest turnovers per game (9.9), but will face a KSU squad that has held four of its last five opponents to 67 points or less.

Head coach Bruce Weber’s team is 25-2 all-time when holding teams below 60 points, including 11-0 this season.

In other Big 12 Conference action TCU (9-10, 0-7) plays at Texas Tech (10-11, 2-6), Baylor (13-7, 1-6) travels to No. 8 Oklahoma State (16-4, 4-3), No. 7 Kansas (16-4, 7-0) looks to remain unbeaten in conference play at No. 25 Texas (16-4, 5-2) while No. 23 Oklahoma (17-4, 6-2) travels to Ames, Iowa, to face No. 16 ISU (15-4, 3-4).

The Mountaineer women (18-3, 7-2 Big 12) will look to improve on their No. 20 ranking in the latest Associated Press poll when they travel to face TCU (12-8, 3-5 Big 12) at 8 p.m. today.

Mike Carey’s squad is coming off of a 67-56 victory over No. 23 Iowa State. Four players scored in double figures for WVU as the Mountaineers swept the season series from the Cyclones.

Sophomore guard Bria Holmes led WVU in scoring with 16 points. Senior center Asya Bussie recorded her fifth double-double on the season with14 points and 11 rebounds. Junior forward Averee Fields added 12 points and Chrystal Caldwell chipped in with 11.

The game can be heard on the Mountaineer Sport Network from IMG on WADC-AM 1050.