It was a familiar script for the West Virginia University men’s basketball team as the Mountaineers played host to the No. 23 Kansas on Saturday afternoon. For the fourth consecutive meeting, the Mountaineers held a halftime lead over the Jayhawks and for the fourth consecutive meeting, that halftime lead did not hold up.
In the previous three games, Kansas roared back in the second half and was victorious each time. On Saturday, however, it was the Mountaineers coming out on top, holding off the Jayhawks to win, 91-79.
No. 17 WVU (13-5, 6-3 Big 12) led Kansas (12-7, 6-5) by 10 points, 44-34, after one half of play Saturday. It took all of two minutes for the Jayhawks to erase that lead, tying the game at 47 with 17:53 left to play.
Kansas hit each of its first six shots in the second half while West Virginia made just one of its first four. After Kansas tied the game at 47 with a nine-point run, neither team could put together any sort of run to pull away as West Virginia slowly but surely rebuilt its lead. A 3-pointer by Emmitt Matthews Jr. with 3:35 left to play put WVU back up by 10 points.
Matthews’ 3-pointer proved to be the dagger as Kansas could never get closer than nine points as WVU made its free throws down the stretch and cruised to the double-digit win.
Matthews finished with 10 points in his first start since January, but the stars of the game for WVU were guards Miles “Deuce” McBride and Taz Sherman and forward Derek Culver. After a couple of sub-par performances, McBride bounced back to score a career-high 31 points against the Jayhawks. He shot 8 of 15 from the floor with four three-pointers to go along with seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Sherman also set a new career-high, scoring 25 points himself on 9 of 17 shooting with four 3s of his own.
Culver out-dueled Kansas big man David McCormack to score 19 points with nine rebounds. McCormack scored 17 with nine rebounds in the losing effort. Each of KU’s starters finished in double-digits with Marcus Garrett (18 points), Jalen Wilson (16), Ochai Abaji (13) and Christian Braun (11).
The loss was the Jayhawk’s fifth in their last seven games. It was the Mountaineers’ first of six consecutive games they will play against currently ranked opponents. WVU’s next game will be on the road against Texas Tech on Tuesday.
This story has been updated to include Miles McBride’s corrected point total of 31