Busting Brackets

West Virginia Basketball: Mountaineers fall to Kansas State in Big 12 home opener

Jan 9, 2024; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Noah Farrakhan (1)
Jan 9, 2024; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Noah Farrakhan (1) / Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia Basketball took a 42-40 lead over Kansas State into halftime behind 18 points from RaeQuan Battle. It was a bounce-back performance from Battle after his worst game in a Mountaineer uniform in the blowout loss to Houston on Saturday. The Wildcats outscored the Mountaineers 41-25 in the second half en route to an 81-67 victory.

Poor second halves of games have been the storyline on a couple other occasions for the Mountaineers this season. Albeit a different WVU team a few weeks ago, SMU outscored West Virginia 45-22 in the second half. In the backyard brawl, Pitt won the second half 44-28. The Mountaineers fall to 0-2 in conference play and 5-10 overall. 

Notables vs Kansas State

RaeQuan Battle - 21 points | 5-13 FG | 2-6 3PT | 9-12 FT 

Kerr Kriisa - 11 points | 5 assists | 3-8 3PT

Noah Farrakhan - 11 points | 2-9 FG | 6-7 FT 

Kobe Johnson - 9 points | 4-5 FG

What went wrong?

West Virginia did not look like the same team in the second half on Tuesday night. Throuhgout the game they showed flashes of defensive intensity, there were too many costly mistakes that gave K-State easy baskets at the rim or open looks from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers struggled to defend simple pick & rolls or pick & pops.

On the offensive side, Battle never got it going in the second half. If West Virginia wants to win games in the Big 12, they will need consistent production from their best scoring threat in Battle for all 40 minutes. Battle scored just 3 points in the second half. Quinn Slazinski moved to a bench role to start the game but still struggled for the majority of his 21 minutes. Meanwhile, Josiah Harris was inserted back into the starting lineup, and he finished the game with 0 points in 17 minutes. 

Above all else, the team lacks continuity, and it shows. These guys just have not played many games together. We still have yet to see this West Virginia team with their full roster intact. Big man Jesse Edwards remains sidelined with a broken wrist. Edwards (14.8 points & 8.7 rebounds per game), is missed tremendously; without him they lack much of a post-presence offensively. Edwards, Battle, and Farrakhan have yet to play together. Kriisa and Edwards have played in just one game together, the game in which Edwards got injured against UMass.

Upcoming Schedule 

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West Virginia will look to get in the conference win column when the Texas Longhorns visit the WVU Coliseum on Saturday.

Texas at West Virginia | 6:00 PM ET | BIG 12, ESPN+