Jayhawks dominate Mountaineers, 78-53
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Five Jayhawks scored in double-figures as No. 14/14 Kansas outdueled the West Virginia Mountaineers, 78-53, Saturday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse. KU outscored WVU 43-16 in the first half before cruising to the 25-point win, the Jayhawks’ largest margin of victory in conference play this season. Freshman guard Devon Dotson and redshirt-sophomore guard K.J. Lawson led all scorers with 15 points apiece to go along with a 52.8 percent shooting clip from the field.
The win improved Kansas to 20-6 on the year, marking the 30th-consecutive season KU has tallied 20 or more wins. The Jayhawks also moved to 9-4 in Big 12 play, just 0.5 games behind the league leader. West Virginia fell to 10-15 in its 2018-19 season and 2-10 in the conference.
The first 20 minutes featured an impressive showing from the Jayhawks on both ends of the floor. After WVU jumped ahead on a 7-6 lead five minutes into the game, KU’s defense, and consequently its offense, hit full stride. Kansas outscored the visitors 21-2 over the next nine minutes of game action. During that stretch, KU forced six WVU turnovers and made the Mountaineers pay on the other end. All seven Jayhawks who entered in the opening frame scored during that KU run. Dedric Lawson’s jumper at the 6:11 mark saw Kansas’ lead go to 25-9.
While the Mountaineers broke up the KU run over the next few minutes, the Jayhawks managed to once again construct a strong closing stretch to the first half. Dotson’s lay-up kick-started a 19-4 run over the final 4:40 of the opening frame and helped Kansas head to the locker room with a 43-16 lead. KU closed the half shooting 55 percent from the field and held the Mountaineers to 25 percent (7-of-28) shooting on the other end. The Jayhawks also forced 12 WVU turnovers over the first half of action.
It was a much more evenly contested game after the intermission; however, Kansas never let its lead shrink to less than 24 points. K.J. Lawson connected on a pair of 3-pointers as part of his eight second-half points and was one of nine Jayhawks to hit a field goal over the final 20 minutes.
KU’s final field goal came at the 2:23 mark, as sophomore guard Chris Teahan connected on a corner 3-pointer, the Jayhawks’ eighth of the day. West Virginia closed the game on an 11-0 run, but it was too little, too late, as Kansas finished off the 78-52 win.
K.J. Lawson’s 15 points marked his highest output as a Jayhawk. Dotson scored in double-figures for the fifth-straight game with his 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Dedric Lawson added 14 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Ochai Agbaji rounded out the KU double-figure scorers with his 10 points.
The Jayhawk defense held the Mountaineers to 33.9 percent shooting on the day, which included a 3-of-23 mark from beyond the 3-point line. Kansas took advantage on the other end, shooting over 50 percent (52.8) for the 11th time this season and hitting 14-of-18 from the free throw line.
QUOTES – Full Quotes
Head coach Bill Self
“We did some good things. Our offense was bad early but it was 22-9 with eight minutes left and then we got on a good roll to end the first half. We were up 26 (points) at halftime with a chance to go up 30 at the buzzer. But then we lost a little mojo, had a lot of turnovers and sloppy play the second half. But we did some good things and it was nice to see everyone contribute and do some good things, so I’m excited about that.”
On the next few games:
“The next two games are vitally important (for us) to win the league. I don’t know if Iowa State did us a favor or not because they have the best schedule to finish up. They’re in a great spot. It will come down to the last game of the year. For us to be a part of it, we need to be really good, but (especially during) that 48-hour stretch next Saturday and, of course, on Monday.”
Kansas redshirt-junior F Dedric Lawson
On the win:
“It was definitely a team win. I’m just proud of everyone. Devon (Dotson) played great; he had eight assists. Ochai (Agbaji) made athletic plays, Mitch (Lightfoot) and Dave (David McCormack) played well.”
Kansas freshman G Devon Dotson
On the late-game run made by the Jayhawks:
“It was big. We started to get stops on the defensive end and just getting out and running, and executing the offense. We put them away early.”
On his recent success on the court:
“I’m just playing in a flow. My teammates have been finding me and (I’m) just not getting down on myself.”
NOTABLES – Full Notes
- The win gave KU 20 victories for the 30th-consecutive season, beginning in 1989-90, which is the longest active streak in the nation and one behind the all-time NCAA D1 record of 31-straight 20-win seasons by North Carolina (1971-2001).
- The victory also improved KU to 142-30 (.826) under Bill Self when the Jayhawks are coming off four or more days off.
- Kansas won its 19th-straight home game, which includes 18-consecutive victories in Allen Fieldhouse.
- KU held West Virginia to a season-low 16 points in the first half, the lowest by a KU opponent in a half since TCU scored nine (2/23/13).
- KU’s 27-point halftime lead was the largest halftime margin this season by the Jayhawks.
- Kansas’ 56 percent shooting mark in the first half was its best in a half during Big 12 play.
- KU forced West Virginia to commit 24 turnovers, which marked the most by a Jayhawk opponent this season and the most since KU forced 24 turnovers against Howard on Dec. 29, 2011.
- West Virginia finished with a 33.9 shooting percentage on the day, the second lowest by a KU opponent in conference play this season (Baylor 33.3%).
- The Mountaineers’ three makes from deep tied a season low by a KU opponent (South Dakota 3-of-13).
- West Virginia’s 13 percent from beyond the arc was a season low by a KU opponent, and the third time this season Kansas has held its opponent to under 20 percent from 3-point range.
- Kansas was outrebounded for just the ninth time this season, the Jayhawks improved to 6-3 in those contests.
- Kansas improved to 12-1 in games in which its opponent commits more turnovers this season.
- The Jayhawks shot 52.8 percent from the field, improving its record to 11-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better. Kansas is now 249-9 in the Self era when shooting 50 percent or better.
- KU held West Virginia to 53 points, the third time this season an opponent has been held between 0-59 points. Kansas is 3-0 in those contests and 165-1 in the Self era.
- In its last three home games, Kansas has led its opponent for 111 out of 120 minutes played.
- Kansas led 78-42 in the second half, marking its largest lead in Big 12 play at 36 points. The total was just one shy of the season high when KU led South Dakota by 37.
- Devon Dotson scored in double figures for the fifth-straight game as the freshman tallied 15 points on the afternoon, going 5-for-7 from the field.
- Freshman Ochai Agbaji finished the day with 10 points, marking the third-consecutive game Agbaji has tallied 10+ points.
- RS-junior forward Dedric Lawson tallied 14 points including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from the free throw line. Lawson has now scored in double digits 24 times this season and 80 in his career.
After a seven-day break, the Jayhawks will return to action against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock on Saturday, Feb. 23. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., on ESPN. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series with the Red Raiders 35-5, which includes a 79-62 win over TTU on Feb. 2 in Lawrence. KU is 14-4 all-time in Lubbock and 10-3 inside United Supermarkets Arena.
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