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Huggins picks up win in first game as Kansas St. coach

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Bob Huggins made a successful return to college basketball Saturday, as Kansas State defeated William & Mary 70-60 in the season-opener for both teams.

Lance Harris scored 22 points and junior swingman David Hoskins added 15 points for the Wildcats, who struggled to put away a team from the Colonial Athletic Association that won only eight games a year ago.

Kansas State missed 15 of its first 18 shots and fell behind 18-7 midway through the first half, forcing the typically animated Huggins to sit grim-faced on the scoring table and throw his hands up in frustration.

But after Harris converted a turnover into a reverse dunk, sparking a 20-2 run that put Kansas State up for good, the 53-year-old coach leaped from the scorer's table and reverted to his pugnacious self.

One minute he was quarreling with officials, the next he was getting on freshman forward Luis Colon for not playing defense. A moment after imploring guard Clent Stewart to pass to an open man, Huggins was telling 7-foot-3 center Jason Bennett to work in the post.

Blake Young had 11 points and Akeem Wright 10 for the Wildcats, who shot a sloppy 29 percent from the field and showed little resemblance to the crisp, up-tempo teams that Huggins cultivated during 16 sometimes stormy seasons at Cincinnati.

Freshman David Schneider had 18 points and Laimis Kisielius 16 for William & Mary, which should be getting used to being the punching bag for big-name coaches getting a second chance in the Big 12. The Tribe were routed in 2001 by Bob Knight's first Texas Tech team.

This time, overmatched William & Mary seemed to out-hustle and outwork its Big 12 foe at both ends of the floor -- much to Huggins' chagrin.

Kansas State Athletic director Tim Weiser hired him March 23, hoping that he could rejuvenate a team that has wallowed in mediocrity, a fan base that had grown apathetic and a program that has not reached the NCAA Tournament in a decade.

Weiser also hoped that Huggins' much-publicized past would remain there, and from the moment he stepped on campus for an introductory news conference that drew thousands of fans, he has done everything right.

He drew a standing ovation from a sellout crowd inside Bramlage Coliseum when he appeared before the game in a dapper purple suit, rather than the black outfits he made a trademark with the Bearcats.

Pop singer Nick Lachey, a close friend of Huggins, welcomed Kansas State fans to a new season with a taped message on the video board. A moment later, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis welcomed fans to "Huggieville" -- which draws its name from the popular Aggieville student hangout across the street from campus.