MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia played so well against Kansas State on Tuesday night that two technical fouls couldn’t even slow down the Mountaineers.
Jonathan Holton had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 9 West Virginia to a 70-55 victory that gave the Mountaineers a sweep of the season series.
It was Holton’s second double-double in three games for the Mountaineers (17-3, 6-2 Big 12).
Justin Edwards had 11 points for Kansas State (12-8, 2-6), which cut West Virginia’s lead to single digits in the second half just once. Dean Wade had nine points for the Wildcats, who connected on 20 of 57 shots (35.1 percent), and lost for the fifth straight time.
West Virginia, which led 34-25 at halftime, picked up consecutive technical fouls in the first half with no time going off the clock.
First, Tarik Phillip was whistled for a technical after making a layup to tie the game at 7. That was at 16:35 and Wade made one of the two free throws. The West Virginia bench was then hit with another technical. Edwards missed two free throws so the Wildcats led by one point.
“It’s not what I was trying to do,” Phillip said of the drawing the technical. “I guess it’s our emotions. They’re just trying to control our emotions, so that they can focus on controlling the game, I guess. That’s just part of it.”
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was at a loss to explain the technicals.
“I don’t know (about the bench technical),” he said. “Ask them. I’m to the point (to where) I’m going to defend our guys. They can’t do it, obviously. Tarik got a technical for I don’t know what happened. But I’m going to defend them. It wears on you.”
The Mountaineers then went on a 10-0 run to go ahead 17-8.
When Edwards finally scored it had been over 6 minutes since the Wildcats had scored. It was 17-10 with 10:14 remaining in the first half and the lead would get to nine for the Mountaineers.
Kansas State scored six straight points to make it 21-18 with 4:48 to go.
But led by seldom-used Teyvon Myers, who scored seven points, the Mountaineers took the nine-point halftime lead.
In the second half, Kansas State got as close as 41-34 after seven straight points, but Nathan Adrian, playing for injured starter Esa Ahmad, knocked in a 3 and West Virginia led 44-34 with 12:12 to play.
“I think it’s always ironic, you get two technicals and we go 1-for-4 from the line,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “I think if you go study the next foul calls, I think it changed a lot. But that’s basketball and they’re a good team. He’s got them playing hard and they’ve got a lot of confidence and play well.”
West Virginia: The Mountaineers were tied with Oklahoma and Baylor for first place in the Big 12 coming in. Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 91-67 on Tuesday.
Kansas State: is 0-4 on the road in the Big 12, but two of those losses were in double overtime, to Texas and Baylor. The Wildcats are one of 10 schools to have at least 11 conference wins in the last three seasons.
Kansas State hosts Mississippi on Saturday in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
West Virginia goes to Florida on Saturday for the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Huggins led Kansas State to a 21-12 record in 2006-07, the Wildcats’ most wins in 19 years. He has a career coaching record of 782-315. That victory total puts him in sole possession of 10th place on the all-time winningest coaches list. He needs four wins to tie Lefty Driesell for ninth place.
Jaysean Paige, who has been the Mountaineers’ sixth-man through most of the season, is averaging 17.7 points in the Big 12. Phillip scored a career-high 20 points in the victory at Texas Tech. Neither player starts.
The Mountaineers’ bench outscored the Wildcats, 30-15.
Kamau Stokes, Kansas State’s freshman guard, was averaging 15 points over the previous four games. He delivered 42 error-free minutes in the Mountaineers’ double-overtime victory at Kansas State in early January.
Kansas State turned the ball over just five times in its first meeting with West Virginia. Huggins was forced into a 1-3-1 zone to break the Wildcats loose from the ball. On Tuesday, the Wildcats committed 19 turnovers.
West Virginia has allowed its opponent to shoot 50 percent or better only 49 times under Huggins in 295 games. West Virginia is 155-30 under Huggins when holding opponents to 69 points or less.