|Field Goal %||44.3||46.8|
|Three Point %||53.8||31.8|
|Free Throw %||50.0||74.3|
The #20 West Virginia Mountaineers (19-8 8-6) lost another heartbreaker in Allen Fieldhouse against the #13 Kansas Jayhawks (21-6 10-4).
The Mountaineers had a good start to the game, keeping the Jawhawks from building any momentum early.
West Virginia forward Wesley Harris put the first points on the board with a corner three to give the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead.
The first half was a battle of two heavy weights going back and forth.
There was a theme starting in the first half. West Virginia did not shoot a single free throw while Kansas went 8-12.
Despite the free throw disparity, the Mountaineers were hanging tough.
They shot the ball well in the first half and seven different Mountaineers scored. West Virginia went 6-12 from three-point range and shot 14-29 from the field. They outrebounded Kansas 16-11 as well.
The glaring stat in the first half was turnovers. West Virginia had six turnovers to the Jayhawks four. Kansas had five steals to the Mountaineers one.
There was no surprise that two of the best teams in the Big XII would be tied up at 34 going into halftime.
Kansas Center Udoka Azubuike got the scoring started in the second half with a layup and Kansas would take the early two-point lead 36-34. Udoka had a big second half and was a Mountaineer killer, scoring 15 of his 21 points in the final 20 minutes.
West Virginia built a 12-point lead behind the play of Daxter Mile Jr, 58-46 with 10:18 to go. Dax played arguably the best game of his career. He led all scorers with 22 points and got 14 of his points in the second half.
Kansas would start to make their comeback and it wasn’t like it was in Morgantown.
The Jayhawks would go 14-17 from the free throw line in the final seven minutes of the game. West Virginia would get one attempt that doesn’t count in the box score because Daxter Miles Jr went over the free throw line before the ball hit the rim.
It was telling what was about to happen with just under five minutes to go in the game when Udoka was setting a moving screen on West Virginia’s Lamont West and Udoka flopped for the foul call.
West Virginia went up eight after Miles hit another three with 3:47 to go in the game, but Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham responded with a three of his own to cut the Mountaineer lead to five.
After a missed jumper by Jevon Carter, Udoka dunked the ball on the next possession, moving the Jayhawks within three.
On the ensuing possession Carter drove down the lane and create contact not once but twice and there was no whistle. The shot was blocked which led to a runout for the Jayhawks and an open corner three for Kansas guard Malik Newman to tie the game.
West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate got the ball down in the paint and again there was contact and again no call.
On the next possession for the Kansas Jayhawks Esa Ahmad was called for a foul going for a rebound and Esa would receive the bloody nose. Kansas forward Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk hit both free throws to give Kansas 68-66 lead with a 1:40 left in the game.
Lamont West missed an open three pointer and Daxter Miles Jr passed up an open shot to try and force it down to Esa and it resulted in a turnover.
With Kansas shooting 35 free throws to West Virginia’s three, but technically two, (Dax’s free throw didn’t count on the stat sheet) that hard for any team to overcome.
The lack of consistency in the officiating was horrendous and West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins showed his frustrations in the final seconds of the game getting a technical and then getting tossed from the game. All resulting after Dax drove the lane and was fouled for yet another no call.
“I’ve been doing this for forty years. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a game where we shot two free throws. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a game were the disparity was 35-2. I have never been in a game like that.” Said Huggins.
After the game, Huggins told his players “It wasn’t their fault and the best way to respond is to go win the rest of them.”
West Virginia didn’t take bad shots at the end of the game they got some good looks, but with the way this game was called, I don’t think they really could have done anything else to win the game, other than playing completely perfect.
The Mountaineers had 13 turnovers, to the Jayhawks eight. That’s a tough stat to overlook, but some of those turnovers should have been called fouls.
If the officials would have called the fouls on Kansas at the end of the game and gave West Virginia free throws instead of those runouts, who knows how the game would ended.
The Mountaineers need to put this game behind them because they go into Waco, Texas on Tuesday night to play the Baylor Bears.