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Feb 25, 2024 2:03 pm

Arthur Kaluma, Kansas State look to topple West Virginia

Arthur Kaluma

A single day off between games can be a blessing and a curse.

It certainly can prepare you for the NCAA Tournament if you’re headed that way. But your mindset heading into the second contest largely is dependent on the result of the first game.

Kansas State (16-11, 6-8 Big 12) will host West Virginia (9-18, 4-10) on Monday night in Manhattan, Kan., in a quick turnaround for both teams. The Wildcats will enter the game with a smile after knocking off No. 25 BYU 84-74 on Saturday. The Mountaineers, in turn, fell 71-64 at No. 6 Iowa State.

Arthur Kaluma had a career-high 28 points for Kansas State, topping his previous best of 27 set against BYU when he played for Creighton. Kaluma was one of five players in double figures on Saturday for the Wildcats, who had lost seven of their previous eight games.

“I thought we made really good strides,” Kansas State coach Jerome Tang said. “I thought the staff did a great job this week of identifying small areas that we could improve on. The team did a great job of buying into it. It’s a huge win over a Top 25 team on our home court. Now we’ve got to put it in a box and move on to the next one.”

The next one will be against a struggling West Virginia squad that has lost five of its last six games. Against the Cyclones, the Mountaineers hung tough. They held their last lead at 51-50 with 9:05 left before Iowa State ultimately pulled away.

The biggest problem for West Virginia was 23 turnovers, which led to 29 Iowa State points.

“Preparing to play a team like that, it’s hard to simulate their tenacity on defense,” West Virginia interim head coach Josh Eilert said. “That’s as good a defense as we’ll see all year.

“Part of toughness is being able to face adversity. I didn’t think we did a very good job in that aspect. The critical stat coming in was how were we going to handle that pressure and would we turn it over. We didn’t take care of the ball and we lost our poise at times.”

RaeQuan Battle, who averages a team-best 16.2 points per game, made just 2 of 11 shots and finished with nine points versus Iowa State.

–Field Level Media

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