For the first time since 1983, West Virginia defeated the #1 ranked team in the AP poll as the #11 Mountaineers (15-1, 4-0) defeated #1 Kansas (14-2, 3-1) 74-63 on a snowy Tuesday night at the Coliseum.
The Jayhawks led for about the first 8 minutes in the game, but a Nathan Adrian fallaway three at the end of the shotclock gave West Virginia a 17-14 lead at 11:44 to go in the first and the Mountaineers never trailed again. West Virginia maintained a double digit lead for most of the second half on their way to the 11 point victory.
Jaysean Paige attacked the rim like a madman tonight. He shot 14-17 from the free throw line and scored 26 points overall. I can't imagine there's a player in college basketball having a better season coming off the bench.
Turnovers and offensive rebounds. That's where this team thrives, and tonight was no different. West Virginia forced 22 turnovers and only committed 11. They grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and only allowed 7.
The Mountaineers were able to be super aggressive without committing too many fouls tonight. The Jayhawks actually committed 12 (32-20) more fouls than West Virginia.
After Paige, Devin Williams was next in scoring with 17 and 12 rebounds. He also found a way to get to the line, making 9 of 12 free throws. Jevon Carter added 10.
Perry Ellis led Kansas with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Frank Mason had 12 and Wayne Selden added 11.
The Mountaineers only shot 33.3% to Kansas' 41.7%, but West Virginia attempted 26 more free throws and made 20 more.
On to the notes:
- West Virginia is now 4-7 all-time against AP #1 ranked teams. Their last victory before tonight was in 1983 against UNLV at the WVU Coliseum 87-78. Their other victories were in 1964 against Duke 94-90 at the Charleston Civic Center and North Carolina 75-64 at an in-season tournament in Lexington Kentucky in 1957 (they beat #5 Kentucky the night before).
- Horrible road conditions in Morgantown resulted in the game being played in front of a half-empty Coliseum. The students were there, though, and they were loud.
- The Mountaineer bench nearly outscored the entire Kansas team in the first half - KU 29, WVU bench 26.
- Fran Fraschilla mentioned it tonight and I agree: The Mountaineer bench unit just might be better than the starting lineup.
- After missing the Oklahoma State game, Daxter Miles returned and as again apart of the starting five.
- West Virginia has now defeated Kansas in Morgantown for three straight years.
The road doesn't get any easier from here. The Mountaineers travel to Norman on Saturday for a matchup against the #2 Sooners. The Mountaineers are 3-6 all-time against Oklahoma and split the series last season 1-1. The game tips at 4:00 PM and will be televised by ESPN2. If West Virginia wins that game, are they the #1 ranked team in America next Monday?