Bill Self wandered into the West Virginia Coliseum wearing a Bob Huggins-esque pullover but his Kanas Jayhawks did not play like a Bob Huggins team in the first half. In the second half, the Jayhawks turned the Mountaineers over and chipped away at the massive first half lead.
The story of the first half was Sagaba Konate. The West Virginia Mountaineers got on the scoreboard first thanks to a Daxter Miles three then the Konate show was on. Konate blocked the first two shots by the Kansas Jayhawks. Those however were just the warm up for the premiere shot-blocker.
Later in the first half, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk thought he had an in-your-face, sure fire slam dunk, however Konate had other plans for the ball.
Sorry, young man. You have to quit basketball and leave the country now. Those are the rules. pic.twitter.com/JjCmqOUOPG— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) January 16, 2018
At the halfway point in the first half, #PressVirginia had turned Kansas over 8 times. After a Mykhailiuk three-pointer pulled the Jayhawks to 14-17, the Mountaineers used a 16-3 run to open up a 33-17 lead at the under 6 mark.
But again the story of the first half was Konate and his shot-blocking prowess. Mykhailiuk wasn’t the only Jayhawk to get embarrassed trying to dunk on the Mountaineers.
At the end of the first half, the Mountaineers not only led 41-28, but the 28 points were the fewest first half points for the Jayhawks this season.
Kansas put itself in trouble early when Udoka Azubuike drew a technical foul early and missed a large portion of the first half with two personal fouls. He drew a third personal one minute into the second half. While Konate was blocking shots at the rim, Jevon Carter was proving his defensive prowess on the perimeter.
Carter, the defensive player of the year last year, held his own with Devonte’ Graham. Graham played all 20 minutes of the first half, yet only had 4 points.
The second half proved to be a much more whistle-charged half. The Mountaineers were only called for six fouls in the first half but had five at the under-12 timeout. The Jayhawks were also called for five and Azubuike drew two more fouls in the second half to give him four with a half to play.
The Jayhawks were able to cut the lead to 7 following a Mitch Lightfoot score to 42-49. the Mountaineers then used a 6-1 run to build their lead back to double digit at the 8 minute mark.
Jevon Carter picked up his fourth personal foul when Devonte Graham stole a pass and went in for a layup. Konate picked up his fourth personal with five minutes left in the game and Kansas tied the game at 59 on a Graham three point at the under five mark.
West Virginia retook the lead when Esa Ahmad’s long two point shot was reviewed at the under four timeout and confirmed as a three-point shot. Kansas then immediately took the lead following Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk two free throws.
The final minutes belonged to Kansas as the Mountaineers threw up poor shot after poor shot and Bill Self and the Jayhawks earned their first win at WVU in five years. The Mountaineers will face Texas on Saturday.