MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State rode the Big 12 Conference's best defense to a 71-61 victory over West Virginia on Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum. The 13th-ranked Wildcats (21-5, 10-3) took a half-game lead in the Big 12 standings over Kansas and Oklahoma State, who square off in Stillwater, Okla., on Wednesday night. Kansas State held West Virginia to 40.5 percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats were led by Will Spradling, who tied a career high with 19 points. Nino Williams scored 13 off the bench for Kansas State. Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson added 11 and Rodney McGruder had 10. Deniz Kilicki led the Mountaineers with 16 points. He was the only Mountaineer in double figures. Aaric Murray had nine points and a game-high nine rebounds. West Virginia (13-13, 6-7) fell behind by double digits after less than eight minutes and by 16 twice in the first half. The Mountaineers could get no closer than 13 until the final minute of the game, when they scored the final 10 points of the night. The teams combined for 49 fouls, with Kansas State whistled for 28. West Virginia scored the final five points of the first half to cut the lead to 13, but Kansas State opened the second half on a 10-2 run to put the game away. Kansas State used a stifling defense to shut down the struggling Mountaineers' offense in the first half. West Virginia shot just 30.4 percent (7-of-23) and trailed 33-20 at intermission. Particularly ineffective were the starters, who scored just seven points. Five of those came in the final minute of the half from Jabarie Hinds. West Virginia was as cold as the 27-degree wind chill outside. The Mountaineers went 5:19 in the first half without scoring. During that stretch, K-State went on a 12-0 run to open up an 18-4 lead. Kansas State used the outside shot early. The Wildcats made three 3-pointers and two Rodriguez free throws before Gipson scored the Wildcats' first two-point field goal at the 13:22 mark of the half. NOTES: West Virginia coach Bob Huggins made his first visit to Manhattan since leaving the Kansas State program following the 2006-07 season to return to his alma mater. Huggins led the Wildcats to a 23-12 record that season, the most wins at Kansas State in 19 years. Kansas State extended its streak of at earning least 20 wins in a season to seven with a victory over Baylor on Saturday. The streak started under Huggins. ... Monday's game was the fourth time this season the Wildcats played against a former head coach. Kansas State defeated West Virginia 65-64 in Morgantown, W.Va., earlier this season. The Wildcats also defeated Oklahoma and head coach Lon Kruger twice.
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- West Virginia