Kansas City, Missouri – The West Virginia Mountaineers lived to see another day by beating the Kansas State Wildcats 73-67 in the opening round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
West Virginia looked like they didn’t want their season to end.
There were several games this season where the Mountaineers didn’t appear to care whether they won or they lost. Tonight – with their season on the line – there was some real urgency.
Seniors Sean McNeil and Malik Curry in particular had strong showings and looked like they refused to let the Mountaineers lose tonight. McNeil had his best game in a long time, finishing with 21 points on 7-10 from the field and 3-5 from three point range. Malik Curry was aggressive getting to the basket, adding 17 points off the bench.
West Virginia finally shot the ball well.
The Mountaineers were 28-53 from the field (53%), 6-16 (38%) from three point range and 11-14 (79%) from the foul line. If they shoot like that, West Virginia can beat anyone in the conference.
One more win could change West Virginia’s entire season around.
Beating Kansas tomorrow in the 2nd round would completely erase all of the disappointment of this extraordinarily frustrating season. Having said that, it will take an incredible effort by the Mountaineers to beat the top-ranked Jayhawks.
But, on a neutral court and with their backs against the wall, West Virginia is certainly capable of pulling off the huge upset, particularly if they go on a run like they did late in the second half of tonight’s game.
The Mountaineers will play Kansas tomorrow at 3:00PM in the second round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.