University of Kansas

No. 6 Kansas beats No. 10 West Virginia 75-65, moves into three-way tie atop Big 12

KU's Landen Lucas came up huge for the Jayhawks Tuesday night. He got by West Viginia's Devin Williams (left) and put down a thunderous dunk during the second half of Tuesday night's game at Allen Fieldhouse. Lucas finished with nine points, four blocks and a game-high 16 rebounds. KU won, 75-65.
KU's Landen Lucas came up huge for the Jayhawks Tuesday night. He got by West Viginia's Devin Williams (left) and put down a thunderous dunk during the second half of Tuesday night's game at Allen Fieldhouse. Lucas finished with nine points, four blocks and a game-high 16 rebounds. KU won, 75-65. rsugg@kcstar.com

Kansas will break down film from its 75-65 win over West Virginia on Tuesday night and detail Landen Lucas’ work on the boards, Perry Ellis’ efficient scoring and the backcourt mostly holding up under the Mountaineers’ pressure.

But Jayhawks coach Bill Self doesn’t need the breakdown. Tuesday’s victory was about responding.

“We got punked in Morgantown,” Self said. “Tonight, we were much more competitive, made many, many more competitive plays.”

The sixth-ranked Jayhawks didn’t succumb to No. 10 West Virginia’s pressure in the backcourt, and that led to a couple of man-advantage baskets. Self was delighted that Kansas won the board battle 33-28, and that Lucas turned in the rebounding game of his college career with 16.

Kansas played smarter and tougher than it did three weeks ago in an 11-point loss at West Virginia, and because it did the Jayhawks not only avoided getting swept by the Mountaineers, they forged a first-place tie in the Big 12 standings with the same 8-3 record as West Virginia and No. 3 Oklahoma.

A loss would have put Kansas two games behind, and the Mountaineers would have become the first team to sweep a Bill Self-coached Jayhawks teams.

“We played more like men than we did in Morgantown,” Self said.

Kansas coach Bill Self called Landen Lucas the best player on the floor in victory over West Virginia.

Still, overcoming West Virginia took one of Kansas’ best efforts of the season. This is a Mountaineers team that arrived in Lawrence having won four of five Big 12 road games. That’s been the Kansas recipe for 11 straight conference titles.

But the Jayhawks established their intention from the outset. West Virginia is one of the nation’s top offensive rebounding teams because it sends everybody to the glass. The game’s first offensive board went to KU point guard Frank Mason.

Kansas ran its offense efficiently, shooting 56.1 percent for the game and averaging 1.14 points per possession. Five players finished in double figures, and in a game in which 42 fouls were called, KU made a healthy 22 of 27 from the line.

But the Jayhawks never felt comfortable. They grabbed a double-digit lead in the first half only to have West Virginia score the final five points and slice the margin to seven.

A Devonte Graham three-pointer off terrific ball movement extended the Jayhawks’ lead to 13 early in the second half. Four straight Kansas turnovers later, the Mountaineers had cut it to four.

If the game had a big basket, Wayne Selden provided it, hitting a three-pointer with 7 minutes remaining that provided some breathing room at 59-52.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins looked inward for the turning points.

“We probably helped their cause, it wasn’t all them,” Huggins said. “You’ve got to give us credit for screwing the game up.”

Mostly, the Mountaineers didn’t shoot well, just 22 of 59 for the game, and couldn’t speed up the Jayhawks with their pressure. Their best big man, Devin Williams, was solid with 14 points and nine rebounds, but was limited because of foul trouble.

But some Kansas players deserved attention, primarily Lucas. He’s the Jayhawks’ weak scoring link in the starting lineup, with a 4.3 average before Tuesday. Shots around the basket can be an adventure.

At 6-10 and 240 pounds, Lucas is Kansas’ biggest available body, and he threw it around like he never had in a game. He had seven rebounds in the first half, and nine in the second. He was credited with four blocks. Lucas had just five in his first 21 games.

“I think I did all right,” Lucas said.

Ellis, who finished with 21 points, expanded on the understatement.

“He was great,” Ellis said. “That was a tremendous game he had. We needed that.”

Lucas also had nine points, missing a double-double when he doinked a free throw. But he was Kansas’ best player and hardest worker Tuesday.

“He does a lot of dirty work,” Ellis said. “He’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. You definitely saw that tonight.”

More than any player, Lucas answered Self’s call for more competitiveness against a team that pushed the Jayhawks around earlier.

Among the awards was a postgame television interview on the floor, a duty that usually goes to Ellis, Mason or Selden, and a selfie with ESPN analyst Dick Vitale.

“There I am taking a selfie with him,” Lucas said. “It was cool.”

No. 6 KANSAS 75

No. 10 WEST VIRGINIA 65

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

West Va.

Min

FG-A

FT-A

O-R

A

PF

PT

Carter

19

2-6

2-2

2-3

0

4

6

Miles Jr.

18

1-8

0-0

0-2

0

3

2

Adrian

24

3-3

0-0

3-3

1

5

8

Ahmad

27

0-2

4-5

1-1

2

1

4

Williams

24

4-10

6-9

3-9

2

3

14

Paige

31

5-16

2-2

0-1

2

2

14

Phillip

24

5-10

0-1

3-4

2

4

11

Macon

20

2-2

0-1

1-1

0

2

4

Myers

7

0-1

2-2

0-1

0

0

2

Watkins

5

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

TEAM

   

1-3

   

Totals

199

22-59

16-22

14-28

9

24

65

Percentages: FG .373, FT .727. Three-Point Goals: 5-20, .250 (Adrian 2-2, Paige 2-6, Phillip 1-2, Myers 0-1, Ahmad 0-1, Miles Jr. 0-4, Carter 0-4). Blocked Shots: 2 (Macon, Adrian). Turnovers: 10 (Paige 4, Phillip 3, Carter 2, Macon). Steals: 9 (Adrian 3, Carter 2, Paige 2, Phillip, Macon). Technical Fouls: Phillip. Fouled Out: Adrian.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Kansas

Min

FG-A

FT-A

O-R

A

PF

PT

Mason III

37

3-7

7-8

1-5

2

1

14

Selden Jr.

26

4-9

2-4

0-2

2

2

11

Graham

38

3-6

2-2

0-4

4

3

10

Lucas

29

4-5

1-2

4-16

0

3

9

Ellis

38

7-9

6-7

0-1

3

3

21

Greene

16

2-3

4-4

0-3

0

0

10

Traylor

9

0-1

0-0

0-1

1

3

0

Mykhailiuk

4

0-1

0-0

0-0

1

1

0

Diallo

2

0-0

0-0

1-1

0

1

0

Bragg Jr.

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

TEAM

   

0-0

   

Totals

200

23-41

22-27

6-33

13

18

75

Percentages: FG .561, FT .815. Three-Point Goals: 7-17, .412 (Greene 2-3, Graham 2-4, Ellis 1-2, Mason III 1-2, Selden Jr. 1-5, Mykhailiuk 0-1). Blocked Shots: 8 (Lucas 4, Traylor 2, Selden Jr., Ellis). Turnovers: 15 (Graham 5, Lucas 2, Traylor 2, Mason III 2, Selden Jr. 2, Ellis, Mykhailiuk). Steals: 5 (Traylor, Lucas, Mykhailiuk, Graham, Mason III). Technical Fouls: Selden Jr. Fouled Out: None.

Half: Kansas 36-29. Attendance: 16,300. Officials: John Higgins, Doug Sirmons, Terry Oglesby.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas on importance of the Jayhawks' 75-65 win over West Virginia on Tuesday night.

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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