The No. 17 West Virginia Mountaineers moved into sole possession of second place in the Big 12 Conference this afternoon with a 91-79 win over the No. 23 ranked Kansas Jayhawks in Morgantown.
West Virginia opened the game with six points from Derek Culver in the paint, followed by back-to-back threes from Jalen Brides and Miles McBride to put the Mountaineers up 12-2 at the first media timeout.
Back-and-forth action throughout the first half would allow the Jayhawks to close West Virginia’s lead to four points on two occasions, but the Mountaineers would immediately respond to extend the gap in their favor.
Taz Sherman would hit consecutive threes in the final 1:30 to put the Mountaineers up 44-34 at the half.
West Virginia’s lead quickly evaporated as the Jayhawks went 7-for-7 in the opening 2:07 of the second half, tying the game up at 47-47 and forcing Bob Huggins to take a timeout to regroup.
The teams traded buckets back-and-forth over the ensuing ten minutes, with McBride and Sherman providing the spark to allow the Mountaineers to pull away once again — combining for 33 of West Virginia’s 47 second half points.
West Virginia grew their lead back to 10 points with 3:35 remaining, as Kansas went over three minutes without a made field goal. The Mountaineers were able to keep control of that lead at the free throw line to send the Jayhawks back to Lawrence with their seventh loss of the season — and likely into the “Others Receiving Votes” section of Monday’s AP Poll.
McBride finished with a career high 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, the best for a WVU player since 1971. Sherman turned in a career high of his own, going for 25 points. Culver finished one rebound short of another double-double, finishing with 19 points, nine rebounds. Emmitt Matthews chipped in 10 points, and Jalen Bridges had three points.
The Mountaineers travel to the West Texas plains on Tuesday, when they’ll take on the No. 13 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders (13-5, 5-4 Big 12) in Lubbock. That game tips off at 9:00PM ET and will be broadcast on ESPN.