Devin Williams' career night was not quite enough to stop streaking Kansas, and the Mountaineers fell in the Big 12 Tournament final, 81-71. Williams was more or less unstoppable in the post, finishing the night with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
The Mountaineers lead at the half, 34-33, with Williams contributing 18 points and five rebounds, but Kansas started the second half on a 7-0 run and never really looked back.
The problem for the Mountaineers tonight was its strength in victories over TCU and Oklahoma earlier in the week -- guard play. Where the Mountaineers four headed monster of Jevon Carter, Jaysean Paige, Daxter Miles, and Tarik Phillip struggled, Kansas' duo of Wayne "Uncle Anthony's Nephew" Selden and Devonta Graham shined in Kansas City.
Graham led the way for the Jayhawks with 27 points on 6-10 shooting with Selden going for another 21 on 8-13 and a couple of absolute daggers to the Mountaineers late.
West Virginia's guard play couldn't have been more the opposite, with no Mountaineer guards scoring more than Daxter Miles' seven points. Tarik Phillip especially struggled and was the focal point of a key late game sequence that turned out to be West Virginia's last gasp attempt at seizing momentum.
The Mountaineers had made a small run to pull within four at 67-63 and in vintage #PressVirginia fashion created a turnover off of Kansas' subsequent inbounds pass. Phillip drove to the hoop and was fouled, but came up weak on the layup attempt and proceeded to miss both free throws. Kansas scored on the next position, creating a five point swing from which West Virginia never recovered.
The Mountaineers now look ahead to tomorrow where they'll find out their NCAA tournament fate which, in all likelihood, will end up being on the three line. Kansas furthered their case for the overall number one seed in the tournament with a conference tournament victory.
While it's always disappointing to come up short of a goal, there are many positives to take from this game. Devin's emergence couldn't have came at a better time and West Virginia would have been run out of the gym without it. Combining these kind of performances with the guard play we've come to expect this season creates a nasty offensive combination that will make this team incredibly tough to beat.
Full box score HERE.