|Field Goal %||43.5||52.4|
|Three Point %||27.3||40.0|
|Free Throw %||47.1||87.5|
The West Virginia Mountaineers (14-20) momentum came to a halt Friday night. WVU ran out of gas in the 88-74 loss to the No. 17 Kansas Jayhawks (25-8) in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
West Virginia jumped out to a five-point lead in the first two minutes. However, the Mountaineers quickly had two turnovers and that sparked a 6-0 spurt that gave Kansas a 15-13 lead.
The Mountaineers made a little run of their own and battled their way to a seven-point lead, highlighted by a pair of threes from Jordan McCabe and Chase Harler.
Then Jayhawk guard Quentin Grimes took over the game outscoring the Mountaineers 13-10 during a 18-6 Kansas run. Grimes ended the half with his fifth three and extending the Jayhawk lead to eight, 48-40.
“We just didn’t get back on defense.” Explained West Virginia guard Brandon Knapper. “Our transition defense wasn’t good enough and they was getting the rebound and pushing the ball up the court. We just made simple mistakes on getting back on defense that what hurt us.”
Fatigue looked to be settling in the first half for the Mountaineers. WVU was 3-9 from the line, including a missed opportunity on the front end of a one and one.
“We failed to get back in transition defense.” Stated Culver. “We weren’t talking. Just little mishaps like that can make a big difference in the game. It’s a lack of paying attention to what’s going on around you. I’m the first one to blame. We just got to go back to the drawing board and try to fix it.”
Freshmen Forward Derek Culver dismissed the idea of being fatigue, but lack of execution.
West Virginia was battling the No. 17 Jayhawks but coming out of the half, it was evident the Mountaineers didn’t have much left after knocking off No. 7 Texas Tech the night before.
Kansas made it a point to get the ball to Dedric Lawson and David McCormack on their way to an 16-4 run to start the second half, leading 64-46.
The Mountaineers couldn’t capture any momentum as the Jayhawks remained poised on their way to a 14-point win.
There’s no certainty on the Mountaineers post-season future; however, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins cited recently that the team would accept an invite to the CBI and WVU athletic director Shane Lyons has come out in support of the idea.
Although there has been some suggestion that the Mountaineers played their way into the NIT Tournament, that scenario seems highly unlikely, but Huggins prestige and the WVU basketball brand does carry some weight.
The announcement is expected to be made on Sunday.
West Virginia Stats