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Undermanned Wildcats once again give up second half lead

Kansas St West Virginia Basketball
Posted at 5:38 PM, Jan 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-08 18:38:25-05

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Sean McNeil scored 19 of his 26 points in the second half and West Virginia rallied to defeat Kansas State 71-68 in Big 12 Conference play on Saturday.

The Mountaineers, who were playing their second game since Dec. 22 because of a pause for COVID-19 health and safety protocols, trailed 18-4 early and 40-27 at halftime.

West Virginia pulled even at 50 on a McNeil layup with 9:09 remaining and

took it first lead on McNeil’s 3-pointer 34 seconds later.

Nijel Pack answered with a 3 for the Wildcats, but Taz Sherman hit back-to-back 3-pointers and McNeil added a bucket in an 8-0 run to put the Mountaineers up 61-53 with 5:49 left.

Pack hit two 3s and a basket in a 10-4 spurt to get the Wildcats within 65-63 with 2:20 remaining. Ismael Massoud’s 3-pointer with 5 seconds to go pulled the Wildcats within 69-68, but Jalen Bridges hit two free throws and Markquis Nowell missed a game-tying 3 at the buzzer.

McNeil, who matched his career high, made 9 of 15 shots from the floor for West Virginia (12-2, 1-1), including 7 of 10 after intermission with three 3-pointers.

Sherman, who came into the game leading the Big 12 with a 20.9 scoring average, added 14 points.

Kedrian Johnson scored 11 with six rebounds. Gabe Osabuohien grabbed 12 rebounds.