Last Second Dooms No. 8 Kansas at No. 23/22 West Virginia, 62-61
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Perry Ellis wanted the final basket so badly. He already had 15 second-half points, more than any player on the floor, but in the final seconds he caught the full-court pass over his shoulder. In stride, he went directly to the hoop.
The ball rolled off the rim.
No. 8/8 Kansas lost in the final seconds to No. 23/22 West Virginia, 62-61, on ESPN Big Monday inside WVU Coliseum. The reported crowd of 7,033 rushed the floor where the ranked Mountaineers had defeated the Jayhawks just one year ago. This time was different. A year ago, Kansas led by a single point for a meager 90 seconds. On Monday, the Jayhawks stayed in front for nearly all of the second half – until Juwan Staten hit the game-winning layup with four seconds to play.
One game after surpassing the 1,000-career point plateau, Ellis led the charge with a team-best 19 points. He was joined by sophomore guard Frank Mason III who put up 18 points, 10 of which came in the last half. Freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr., followed on the leaderboard with 14 points. Those three marked the only Jayhawks to score in the second half, but together they combined for a 12-of-23 shooting efficiency.
Kansas (21-5, 10-3) spent its one-day turnaround time to prep for the nation’s most disruptive defense. West Virginia (20-6, 8-5) entered the matchup forcing 12.0 turnovers per game and logging 8.4 fewer turnovers than its opponents, both bests by any team in the NCAA. Kansas committed 14 turnovers, but forced 10 out of West Virginia. The Mountaineers made it hurt with a 17-9 points-off-turnover advantage.
The most notable NCAA-best, however, was the Mountaineers’ formidable hold in the offensive rebound category. Averaging 16.9 boards under its own basket, WVU also holds the country’s best offensive rebound numbers. The Mountaineers pulled down eight off their own glass before the Jayhawks logged one offensive board. For the night, the Mountaineers doubled the Jayhawks on the offensive glass (22-11) and pulled down more overall (37-32).
Kansas, on the other hand, had the upper hand in nearly every other column. Kansas shot 49 percent (24-for-49) to WVU’s 37.5 percent (24-for-64) and 54.5 percent (6-for-11) to WVU’s 38.1 percent (8-for-21) from three-point range. Kansas outscored the home team in the second half and had more players in double-figures – but it didn’t matter.
Staten made the case for his Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year selection. Of his game-high 20 points, none were more important than the game winner. He also led the floor with four assists and no turnovers. The senior guard’s nine field goals tied a season-high by a Jayhawk opponent. Freshman guard Jevon Carter was the only other Mountaineer in double-figures with 13 points.
In the first half, “Press Virginia” certainly did its job early as the Mountaineers forced two turnovers through the first three minutes on their way to an 8-0 start. Oubre was the only Jayhawk to connect on a shot by the first media timeout. Down 10-2, Kansas got its first kick start from a steal of its own, which resulted in a transition layup for Mason. Yet, even as the Mountaineers missed six-straight shots, the Jayhawks still found themselves looking up at a 14-6 deficit.
Though West Virginia appeared to have a stronghold on the first half’s momentum, Kansas stayed poised. Ellis got to the line and hit both free throws and Oubre followed with back-to-back makes, including a nicely-executed transition dunk from a pass from Wayne Selden, Jr. Instead of its recent three-point game as of late, Kansas made adjustments and worked the ball inside. Oubre’s aggression toward the goal was awarded with a pair of free throws, while Selden, Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas connected on layups, sparking the Jayhawks on a 5-for-9 shooting run.
A free throw from Mason almost pulled the Jayhawks over the hump, 26-25. West Virginia worked to prevent any further rallies, but Mason drilled KU’s first three of the game. What started as a Mountaineer-dominated evening went to halftime with the Jayhawks trailing by one possession, 33-30.
Out of the break, the Jayhawks immediately cashed in on the momentum they captured to end the first half. Ellis came out with a jumper and Oubre followed with his first three of the night, handing Kansas its first lead of the game in less than 60 seconds, 35-33.
As Kansas caught fire, Ellis carried the torch.
Exactly 30 seconds after connecting on a layup, the Jayhawk junior drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key to extend KU’s lead to 40-33. Mason joined him from behind the arc, sending a message that the Jayhawks’ three-point threat was still alive and well. Kansas hit seven of its first 10 shots to open the final frame, five of which were threes.
With 10 minutes on the clock, however, Kansas’ lead had gone stagnant after six minutes passed without scoring. West Virginia certainly wasn’t going to wait around, getting buckets from Staten and a put-back layup from Johnathan Holton to cap a 6-0 run and tie the score at 49-49.
Ellis again powered his way to the rim and broke up the drought with back-to-back layups to return the lead to his team, 53-52. West Virginia wasn’t impressed. Carter stuck a dagger through the Jayhawks’ lengthy lead, hitting consecutive three-pointers to steal the lead, 60-59.
Two minutes remained and they would decide the game. Mason willed his way to the basket, driving in for his 10th point of the half. Kansas up, 61-60.
But the basket with 2:13 to play was the last Kansas would score. Although Kansas had four seconds to work with following Staten’s layup, Ellis’ last-second attempt to win it rolled the wrong way out of the basket. He hit the ground at the baseline, stunned by the 62-61 West Virginia win.
Kansas will host TCU on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 3 p.m., on ESPN2. KU will then play its final of four ESPN Big Monday appearances in 2015 when it travels to Kansas State on Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks return home to host Texas on Feb. 28.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (26/29), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (26/61), Fr. G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (18/18), Jr. F Perry Ellis (26/63), Fr. F Cliff Alexander (4/4)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 3-2
ATTENDANCE: 7,033 (14,000 capacity)
- Made Kansas 21-5 overall and 10-3 in Big 12 Conference play.
- Lessened KU’s all-time series advantage to 3-2, including a 1-2 mark in games played in Morgantown.
- Dented KU’s solid reign on ESPN’s Big Monday. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas is now 54-18 on ESPN’s Big Monday (31-1 at home, 23-17 on the road).
- Made Self to 346-74 while at Kansas, 3-2 against West Virginia and 553-179 overall.
- Made KU 2,147-827 all-time.
- For the season, Kansas is now 8-3 against opponents ranked on the Associated Press poll (9-3 vs. USA Today Coaches’ Poll foes).
- Through the entirety the second half, only three Kansas players scored. Junior F Perry Ellis (15), sophomore G Frank Mason III (10) and freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (6) were the only Jayhawks to score in the final 20 minutes. That’s the fewest KU players to score in a half since the record began being tracked in 2004.
- After WVU led 33-30 at halftime, Kansas has trailed at the half this season nine times and now has a 5-4 record in those contests.
- Entering Monday night, West Virginia led the nation in steals per game (12.0), turnover margin (8.4) and offensive rebounds (16.9). Kansas held the Mountaineers to eight steals and a 4.0 turnover margin, but they doubled the Jayhawks on the offensive glass, 22-11.
- With Monday’s 37-32 rebound discrepancy in favor of West Virginia, Kansas has now been out-rebounded in consecutive games (Baylor, 33-32, 2/14).
- Although there was a three-game span in the 2011-12 season where Kansas was out-rebounded, then tied in the rebound column the next game and followed that performance up by being out-rebounded in the third game, the Jayhawks have not been out-rebounded in consecutive games in the same season since a 33-37 effort against Arizona on Nov. 27, 2010. The Jayhawks followed that performance up with a 32-37 margin against UCLA on Dec. 2, 2010.
- Along with TCU’s 26 offensive rebounds on Jan. 28, West Virginia’s 22 offensive boards on Monday marked the first time a Kansas team has allowed two opponents in the same season to grab 22 or more second possessions on the offensive glass since letting Colorado and Oklahoma each snatch 22 offensive rebounds on Feb. 5, 2006 and March 1, 2006.
- West Virginia is now 17-0 when holding its opponents to 69 points or fewer. Kansas is now 11-2 when keeping its opponents to fewer than 69 points.
- The Jayhawks did not record an assist until the 7:42 mark of the first half when sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., hit freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., for a dunk. They ended up with 10 assists compared to WVU’s 11 for the night.
- The 13 combined made free throws (7 for Kansas, 6 for West Virginia) are the fewest since Kansas and Oklahoma combined for 13 on Feb. 5, 2006.
- The 21-6 bench point deficit was KU’s second-largest of the season (34-12 vs. Kentucky).
- Junior F Perry Ellis totaled 19 points on Monday to push his career total to 1,034, passing David Magley and Cedric Hunter (T-52nd, 1,022), Thomas Robinson (51st, 1,026), Bill Bridges (50th, 1,028) and Jerry Gardner (49th, 1,030) on KU’s all-time scoring list.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III snapped his 21-game streak in double figures against Baylor (2/14), but got right back after it against West Virginia. He scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting.
- Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., scored 14 points. For the first time this season, Kansas lost when Oubre connects on multiple treys (2-for-2). KU is now 8-1 in those contests.
- Junior F Jamari Traylor tied his career-high with three assists.
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