|Field Goal %||40.0||56.4|
|Three Point %||33.3||55.6|
|Free Throw %||100.0||50.0|
The #18 West Virginia Mountaineers fall to the #9 Kansas Jayhawks in the Big XII Championship 81-70 for the second time in three years.
The Mountaineers played their hearts out and you couldn’t ask more of the two senior guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. They combined for 42 of West Virginia’s 70 points and there’s no stat track for all the hustle plays on the floor.
This was a game of runs and unfortunately for West Virginia, Kansas made a big run in the final minutes behind superb second half shooting.
The Mountaineers went up 5-0 behind a Daxter Miles Jr three and a Sagaba Konate dunk before Kansas went on a 7-0 to take the lead. Neither team started off shooting the ball well, but they would start to heat up.
West Virginia trailed 21-16 and they would go on a 10-0 run taking a five-point lead, 26-21. Sags and Teddy Allen led the way with a combined eight points.
West Virginia and Kansas were got but the Mountaineers held a one-point lead going into halftime, 34-33. Carter and Sags led all scorers with 10 points. Carter had four assists, three rebounds and a steal, while Sags had three rebounds, two blocks and an assist.
Dax scored 11 of West Virginia’s 17 points to start the second half and the Mountaineers held a 51-43 lead with 15:12 left in the game.
Kansas came roaring back with a 10-0 run and took a two-point lead behind guard Devonte’ Graham’s back to back three’s but Carter answered with a three to give the lead back to the Mountaineers 56-53.
Both teams were hitting big shots and after Kansas took a 66-63 lead from a Malik Newman three, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins took a 30 second timeout.
Out of the timeout, Dax hit a three to tie the game back up at 66. Kansas would bring the ball up the floor and Newman got trapped at half-court and was forced to take a timeout. It was their last timeout of the game and there was 6:11 remaining.
That timeout wouldn’t matter. Kansas finished the last six minutes going 5-7 from the field, 2-4 from three and 3-6 from the free throw line scoring 15 points.
West Virginia could not find the bottom of the net to end the game. During that same stretch, the Mountaineers went 1-9 from the field, 0-5 from behind the arc and 2-2 at the charity stripe. That’s only four points in the last stages of the game.
In the second half, Kansas shot 72% (18-25) and 69.2% (9-13) from three-point range. That’s tough for any team to overcome. “They’re going to beat everybody when they do that. They were contested shots. We didn’t give them wide open shots, they were contested and they made them.” Said Huggins.
The Jayhawks had five different players score in double figures while West Virginia only had three players in double digits (Carter, Miles, Konate) and they made up 60 of the 70 points.
It’s a tough loss for the Mountaineers but their season is not over. West Virginia will find out Sunday evening who, where and when they will play in the NCAA Tournament next week.
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