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RaeQuan Battle's numbers game tells a story that goes in many directions

Jan. 10—MORGANTOWN — A tricky thing those numbers. While they can be erased, you can never escape from them.

Sometimes they tell the story, sometimes we are told they don't tell the whole tale.

They can make us rich or poor and can go as far as making one look impressive or simply average.

RaeQuan Battle had some good looking numbers Tuesday night inside the Coliseum, and it's those numbers that did, indeed, tell a tale that covered everything from domination to deception.

First, there was the rare—dare we even say unprecedented—numbers that came with the WVU guard.

He had nine points over the first six minutes of the Mountaineers' 81-67 loss against Kansas State.

To get those first nine points, Battle was officially credited with just one shot attempt.

WVU STATS "I think his first half explosion catches you off guard, " K-State head coach Jerome Tang said afterward. "His athleticism, his quickness, his ability to stop and go straight up in the air is tough to guard."

Battle kept taking 3-pointers and Kansas State defenders kept fouling him. He scored his first five points from the foul line and then added a four-point play when he nailed a 3-pointer and was fouled again.

"I mean he shot nine free throws in the first half, because we fouled him shooting 3-pointers, " Tang continued. "You don't face a lot of guys who can come off a screen that hard and plant and go straight up in the air."

From the numbers-telling-the-story department, we tell you Battle finished with 18 points in that first half, a major reason why WVU (5-10, 0-2 Big 12) held a 42-40 halftime lead.

Inside that WVU locker room at the half, Battle said he could almost sense that he was just minutes away from some major changes.

"A lot of teams, if we're in the game, they come up with a whole new game plan at the half, " Battle said. "Teams are going to guard us a certain way. If we continue to do the same thing in the second half, it's just going to be repetitive."

And then there was deception.

No basketball coach in America is going to complain about one of his players scoring 21 points in a single game, the number Battle reached against the Wildcats.

Yet they would also be concerned when their top gun goes 18 minutes and 11 seconds without scoring a single point, which also happened to Battle.

His only three points of the second half came early to help keep the Mountaineers in the game.

As K-State began to pull away, Battle fell into the same funk the rest of his teammates were in.

WVU was held to just 30.8 % (8 of 26) shooting in the second half. Battle finished 1 of 7.

"It's a credit to (Kansas State). They seemed very connected and they have a great culture they're building in year two, " WVU head coach Josh Eilert said. "They play with a lot of enthusiasm and they came in here ready to win. They bought in that second half on the defensive end, and it really changed the game."