Some things are not meant to be and a win was not meant to be, again, for the Mountaineers Tuesday night in Lawrence.
The Mountaineers fell 79-65 to Kansas as a sparse crowd looked on, remaining winless all-time at the Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Sean McNeil put together a memorable first half, giving the Mountaineers a first half of hope. McNeil started the game hot, scoring 14 of West Virginia’s first 18 points. He capped off his torrent of shots from outside the arc with a wild, straight-on shot from seven feet behind the arc that banked in. His wild shot would give WVU the lead going into the half 36-35, leaving him 6-6 from behind the arc.
The second half saw Kansas continue their hot three point shooting, making nine of 20 attempts. West Virginia was unable to answer and keep the game close, giving Kansas the victory, 79-65.
West Virginia didn’t have to deal with foul trouble from it’s front court in Lawrence, but their floor general, Miles McBride found himself in foul trouble after a suspect call gave him his third personal foul. McBride still finished with 19 points and five rebounds.
Despite the hot shooting from outside by Kansas and the plethora of illegal screens set by Mitch Lightfoot, a few things stood out that contributed to the West Virginia loss.
Despite the McNeil’s hot hand, the Mountaineers shot only 34% from three for the game, 8-23.
West Virginia managed to get only five points from their bench. Most of their bench scoring comes from Taz Sherman. Sherman had been in double figures in all but one game this season (VCU, 9 points). He was a non-factor and a non-spark off the bench, contributing only two points.
The Mountaineers grabbed 19 offensive rebounds but also allowed an unprecedented 19 offensive rebounds and were out-rebounded for the game by Kansas. While it isn’t a completely valid excuse, much of that can be attributed to the Mountaineers having to play zone most of the night to combat the Kansas shooting barrage.