WVU continues to win ugly in K-State victory

It's starting to become a script that is sounding all too familiar as the West Virginia basketball team continues through this season.

Once again, as they have become accustomed to, the Mountaineers won ugly Tuesday night as they downed Kansas State, 65-59, in Manhattan to move to 17-3 and 5-2 in Big 12 Conference play.

It was a game in which West Virginia forced 25 turnovers - just the third time that has happened this season - and Kansas State missed 15 free throws and had a stretch of more than four minutes in the first half in which it did not even attempt a field goal. Yet, somehow, the Wildcats still had a chance to win as time winded down at Bramlage Coliseum.

With all of those things happening, it seems like it was a game that West Virginia should have been able to win pretty confidently. But between a handful of fouls, an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers, a star point guard ailing with a wrist injury and an inability to turn the turnovers they were forcing on the defensive end into points in transition, the Mountaineers seemed to do whatever they could to make things tougher on themselves.

But, more importantly for this group, it was a win. And it doesn't really matter how you win.

At this point, it's getting easier to figure out that this is just going to be how this team plays and wins. It will make its opponents uncomfortable, it will play at a frenetic pace and it probably won't look picture perfect. But it's where this team, in an odd way, feels the most comfortable.

This is a Mountaineer team that has figured out a formula that has been able to bring it success this season, and it won't be going away from that any time soon.

Huggins was pleased with his team after Tuesday's victory. And he should have been. West Virginia had to fight and claw to get this win in an environment where a lot of teams won't have success this season.

The Mountaineers are in the middle of a unique stretch of games in this year's Big 12. Starting with last Saturday's win against TCU, WVU was getting into a handful of winnable games with the Horned Frogs and Wildcats, as well as a showdown Saturday against Texas Tech before hitting the road to face an Oklahoma team West Virginia has already been able to beat convincingly this season and then hosting Baylor.

It's not unreasonable to think that, considering Texas Tech and Baylor will be at the Coliseum, West Virginia could leave this current five-game stretch it's in with four victories.

That will set this group up to hit the home stretch of the regular season in pretty good position when it comes to its postseason hopes, as well as an outside shot at a finish toward the top of the league.

But if the Mountaineers will have success, it will be by playing much like it did Tuesday. There haven't been a lot of times where the wins have looked pretty, but as a whole - when you look at a WVU team that only took 20 games to match the number of victories it had all of last season - the pieces have started to come together and look good as a whole.

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