Well, it was fun while it lasted.
West Virginia's reign at the top of the Big 12 was short-lived after their 75-65 defeat to the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence on Tuesday night.
A 13-4 run to start the game by the Jayhawks (20-4, 8-3) had The Phog rocking. West Virginia (19-5, 8-3) never led in the half and trailed by as many as 10. A Jaysean Paige three in the final seconds brought the Mountaineers to within 7 at 36-29 at the break.
There was a big change to the starting lineup to begin the second half. Out were Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles and in were Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip. West Virginia started the half on a 9-4 run that was capped by a Nathan Adrian three to cut the lead to 40-38. Kansas followed that up with an 8-0 run to push the lead to double-digits at 48-38.
Kansas extended the lead to 13 with twelve minutes to go and were looking to put the Mountaineers away, but West Virginia again battled back. WVU forced several turnovers over the next few possessions and Nathan Adrian again hit a huge three to cut the game to a 54-50 Jayhawk lead.
There's a reason Kansas never loses at home, though, and another Jayhawk run was too much for the Mountaineers to handle. Kansas pushed the lead back to double-digits and held on for the 10 point victory.
Jaysean Paige and Devin Williams led the Mountaineers with 14 points each. Williams was one rebound shy of a double-double. Tarik Phillip added 11 and Nathan Adrian scored 8 on 3-3 shooting.
Perry Ellis led Kansas with 21. Frank Mason added 14. Landen Lucas, who averaged 4 points and 5 rebounds coming into tonight, had 9 points and 16 rebounds.
Kansas shot the ball extremely well. They were 56.1% from the field, 41.2% from three, and 81.5% from the line. West Virginia was outrebounded 33-28.
On to the notes:
- Jonathan Holton was out for a fourth straight game due to suspension. The "indefinite" suspension was rumored to be for three games, but we're all still waiting for an official announcement.
- Late in the second half, Tarik Phillip was fouled driving to the basket. Replay showed that Phillip elbowed Frank Mason as he drove, and the refs decided to review it and charged Phillip with a flagrant one. Philip shot a 1-and-1 and then Kansas shot the free throws for the flagrant. Phillip's attempt missed everything. Interesting sequence.
- Kansas has now won 37 straight home games.
- West Virginia, Kansas, and Oklahoma are now all tied at the top of the Big 12 standings at 8-3.
Up next for the Mountaineers are the TCU Horned Frogs this coming Saturday. West Virginia is 7-0 all-time against TCU and have already picked up a 95-87 road victory over the Frogs this season. The game tips at noon and will be televised on ESPNU and WatchESPN.