Teddy Allen scored 22 points, Lamont West added 19 and sixth-ranked West Virginia beat pesky Kansas State 77-69 on Monday to push the Mountaineers’ winning streak to 13 games.
James Bolden and Daxter Miles Jr. added 10 points apiece for the Mountaineers (13-1, 2-0 Big 12), who have not lost since their season opener against Texas A&M in Germany.
West Virginia was clinging to a 65-61 lead down the stretch when Allen went to work, slicing down the lane and picking up fouls. He kept knocking down the free throws, scoring eight points in the closing minutes while helping the Mountaineers to their first win on New Year’s Day.
West Virginia had lost its previous four games on Jan. 1.
The Wildcats (11-3, 1-1) were led by Xavier Sneed with 20 points and Dean Wade with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but the duo couldn’t compensate for miserable performances by guards Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes.
Brown finished with 14 points, but he was just 5 of 13 from the field and committed seven of the Wildcats’ 15 turnovers. Stokes was 0 for 10 from the field and had six points.
The Mountaineers’ pressure defense caused several lengthy first-half droughts for Kansas State, and at one point West Virginia had built a 25-15 lead with just over three minutes to go.
It took little-used guard Brian Patrick, whose career-best night came against West Virginia last season, to get the Wildcats going. He entered just before the break and knocked down a 3-pointer, then fed Brown for another 3, closing the deficit to 31-26 heading to the locker room.
The Mountaineers kept the Wildcats at arm’s length most of the second half, relying on their tough defense, some ugly misfires and a few fortunate calls to maintain their advantage.
Kansas State trailed 65-55 with 5 1/2 minutes left when it made a final run. Wade got to the foul line, Brown followed him there and Sneed knocked down his sixth 3-pointer from right in front of his bench to claw the Wildcats within 65-61 at the under-4 media timeout.
Allen and the Mountaineers showed their poise down the stretch.
The freshman forward went to the foul line on three consecutive trips down the floor, knocking down six straight free throws. And when Wade threw the ball away and failed to convert on a free throw of his own, the Mountaineers built enough of a cushion to hold on the rest of the way.
West Virginia is often undersized, but the Mountaineers had a 38-27 rebounding advantage and a 40-18 edge for points in the paint. That kind of production inside makes the frenetic, guard-oriented team of coach Bob Huggins a nightmare to defend.
Kansas State scorched the nets in a win at Iowa State to open Big 12 play. But throw out Sneed’s 3s and the Wildcats were 4 of 17 from beyond the arc and shot 35.7 percent from the field.
West Virginia heads home to face No. 7 Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Kansas State travels to No. 18 Texas Tech on Saturday.