Kansas State Wildcats drop regular-season finale to West Virginia Mountaineers 89-81

The Kansas State Wildcats will enter next week’s Big 12 Tournament off a loss after falling to the West Virginia Mountaineers 89-81 in their final game of the regular season.

Saturday’s contest was a tough one for the Wildcats defensively. They allowed the Mountaineers to shoot nearly 51% from the floor overall while posting a 44.8% shooting clip themselves. WVU also got to the free throw line 25 times, making 22 of those attempts, while K-State went just 9-of-12 from the stripe.

“Credit to them and what they did and were able to do, especially in the second half,” K-State coach Jerome Tang said. “We couldn’t guard them.”

Senior guards Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell shared the Wildcats’ game high in scoring with 24 points apiece. Johnson added six rebounds in the losing effort while Nowell tallied a game-high eight assists.

West Virginia had three players score 20 or more points, led by a game-high 27 from senior guard Erik Stevenson.

“It was a good learning experience,” Tang said. “Some things happened out there that hadn’t happened during the last five games that are things that we can address and be more prepared for next time.”

Had the 11th-ranked Wildcats won, they would have clinched second place in the Big 12 standings this year and the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament next weekend. Instead, they must await the final score of Saturday’s Kansas Jayhawks versus Texas Longhorns game. If Texas wins, K-State will be the No. 3 seed, but will reclaim the 2 if Texas loses.

The Mountaineers picked up a vital win for their NCAA tournament hopes by beating K-State. That win gets West Virginia to 7-11 in Big 12 play, and entering the weekend The Bracket Project composite bracket had WVU pegged as a 10 seed.

Regardless of the Texas result, K-State will open its Big 12 Tournament run on Thursday at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri, while West Virginia will play on Wednesday night.

For more reaction to the Kansas State Wildcats 89-81 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers, check out Mic’d Up with Jake and Fulton from noon-3:00 p.m., and 580 Sports Talk with Brendan and Dan from 3-6:00 p.m. Monday on 580 WIBW.