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Southwell's heroics lead Kansas State past West Virginia

The SportsXchange

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Kansas State's Shane Southwell sank two free throws with 9.1 seconds to play then blocked a desperation shot by West Virginia guard Gary Browne to secure a 65-64 victory over the Mountaineers and give the Wildcats a 13-2 start for just the second time in their history.

Southwell's heroics erased a chance for WVU freshman Eron Harris to steal the game. His acrobatic, twisting baseline jump shot with 21.4 seconds left had given WVU a 64-63 lead.

Southwell, who finished with 17 points to tie Rodney McGruder for top scoring honors, was fouled by WVU's Jabarie Hinds following Harris' jumper and calmly sank his two free throws with 9.1 seconds left.

"I told them last night: I just want to win by one. And we did. I'd like to win by 20, but that's probably not going to happen," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said.

WVU had one more chance, but Hinds slipped and failed to control a pass from Browne that was tipped by K-State guard Angel Rodriguez on an inbounds play out of timeout. The ball rolled into the backcourt, where Browne ran it down. He drove toward the basket, only to be stuffed by Southwell.

"We were running the same play we ran for Da'Sean Butler (when he was senior) when he made five game-winning shots," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "We just didn't get it to go."

Weber said, "I talked about it in the huddle. How do you win games? You get stops and people make plays. Shane made plays."

Down 36-33 at halftime, WVU came out on fire, scoring eight straight points to test Kansas State's will. But the Wildcats weren't about to fold, even on the road, as Rodney McGruder scored a huge basket and then Southwell followed with a tying 3-point dagger that made it 41-41.

With McGruder firing away, Kansas State stretched its lead to 48-41 and seemed on the verge of taking control of the game.

WVU's Aaric Murray had other ideas, however, scoring six in a row to bring the Mountaineers back to within a point at 48-47. The margin stayed within two or three points the rest of the way, setting up Southwell's heroics at the end.

NOTES: Kansas State played its first game in Morgantown in 60 years. ... WVU starting guard Juwan Staten, who was benched in the second half of the Texas game after coach Bob Huggins said he wasn't following orders, did not start Saturday. ... WVU is normally a proud offensive rebounding team but did not have an offensive rebound in the first half. That streak ended when Browne got an offensive rebound off his own miss at the start of the half and scored. ... Bruce Weber's 13-2 start is the best for a first-year coach in K-State's 109-year history.
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