West Virginia defeats Kansas, 92-86

  • 11 a.m., March 8, 2014
  • WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, WV

Saturday, March 8, 2014

West Virginia unwelcoming to Andrew Wiggins, Jayhawks

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins and West Virginia guard Terry Henderson for a loose ball during the first half on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins and West Virginia guard Terry Henderson for a loose ball during the first half on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Andrew Wiggins, Jamari Traylor discuss loss at WVU, what's next for KU

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, freshman Andrew Wiggins and sophomore Jamari Traylor discuss the Jayhawks' loss at WVU, and what's next for KU.

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Box score

— Fans in the state where Kansas University freshman Andrew Wiggins played high school basketball booed him and/or chanted “USA, USA” in derision pretty much every time the Canadian sensation touched the ball on Saturday at WVU Coliseum.

He didn’t quite get the last laugh, as the West Virginia Mountaineers, who led at one point by a whopping 25 points, beat the Jayhawks, 92-86, before a sellout crowd of 14,038.

Yet the 6-foot-8, 200-pound off guard did make a statement of sorts in scoring a KU freshman record 41 points off 12-of-18 shooting. He made 15 of 19 free throws in surpassing Ben McLemore’s old KU rookie record point total of 36 points, coincidentally set against West Virginia on March 2, 2013.

“I’m just happy to be here, blessed to be in the moment playing in front of people who showed me love the past two years. It’s a blessing,” said Wiggins, who also had eight rebounds, five steals and four blocks.

“It’s a good thing, but we lost,” Wiggins added of becoming the school’s top single-game freshman scorer of all time. “I’d rather score five points and win than score 40 and lose. To me, it’s not really something that great because we lost.”

Wiggins, who had 24 points the second half off 7-of-11 shooting, helped the (23-8, 14-4) Jayhawks slice a 25-point deficit (64-39, 16:44) to five points 85-80, at 1:21. 

However, (17-14, 9-9) West Virginia, which was led by the offensive onslaught of Eron Harris (28 points), Juwan Staten (24) and Devin Williams (22), scored three straight points off Staten free throws to lead 88-80 at :34.

“I never stopped believing in my team. We fought hard until the end and we almost had it,” said Wiggins, who scored the most points by a Jayhawk since Terry Brown went for 42 against North Carolina State on Jan. 5, 1991. It was the second-best scoring game by a freshman in Big 12 history, behind only Michael Beasley of Kansas State, who had 44 against Baylor in 2008. Wiggins’ 15 free throws were the most by a Jayhawk since Tyshawn Taylor hit 15 against Kentucky on Nov. 15, 2011.

“I didn’t want it more,” Wiggins said of playing in the state where he led Huntington (W.Va.) Prep to greatness for two seasons. “I want it every game. I play every game like it’s my last so this is no different from any college game I’ve played this year.”

Still ... “It just shows what I can do when I’m aggressive and attacking. It puts pressure on the defense,” Wiggins said.

KU coach Bill Self, who showed his displeasure with point guard Naadir Tharpe (no points, no assists, 16 minutes) by playing him just seven minutes the final half to Frank Mason’s 15, recognized the special outing by Wiggins.

“Their big three had 74 on us. Our big one had 41,” Self cracked, “so I thought Andrew probably played as well as he has played all year long. He was plugged into the game. He gets eight rebounds, is our best defender even though we didn’t guard worth a flip. He had four blocks, five steals. Anytime you get 41 points, which I never did (as guard at Oklahoma State) on 18 shots means you had a pretty good day. There’s nobody in America will have a better game than what Andrew had today. He was really good.”

Of junior floor general Tharpe, who missed the only three shots he took, Self said: “He didn’t play as much. I thought he got off to a rough start. He needs to do things probably to help lead us a little bit when things aren’t going well. We tried to play our most competitive guys late. I thought Jamari (Traylor, six points, seven boards, 24 minutes) was terrific with his energy.

“One thing that (49ers coach) Jim Harbaugh spoke to the team about (on Wednesday at shoot-around) was, ‘Energy always finds the ball.’ When you think about it, it’s true. We played with more energetic guys late. They did a better job swarming to the ball and some good things finally happened,” Self stated.

Self thought his team might pull this one out after Mason (10 points, two assists) drilled a three at 1:21 to cut the gap to 85-80.

“We (Mason) fouled with :02 on the shot clock. They were going to shoot a bad shot or have to throw one up. We fouled. It basically went from five to seven (off Staten free throws),” Self said. “Everything had to go perfect. When one or two things didn’t go perfect, it was too much to overcome.”

A major problem was defense. West Virginia outscored KU, 50-38, the first half.

“We were lucky they only had 50,” Self said. “They were on pace to get 60 halfway through the half. They were terrific. We didn’t guard at all. It’s as poor as we have been.”

It was KU’s second-worst half of the year. Wake Forest scored 52 in the second half of a Nov. 28 game in the Bahamas. It was most points allowed in a first half since Texas torched KU for 54 in March of 2007.

Wiggins remained the one, huge bright spot on a day Perry Ellis had 14 points and five boards, Wayne Selden eight points and Tarik Black just two tallies and four fouls in 22 minutes.

“He’s a great player. I mean the sky is the limit for him,” Traylor said of Wiggins. “When you come out like that and play, nobody can play with him.”

“He played great. If it wasn’t for him, who knows how bad the game would have gone. He was terrific,” Tharpe said.

KU will next meet the winner of Wednesday’s 6 p.m., first-round Big 12 tournament game between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech at 2 p.m., Thursday in a tourney quarterfinal in KC’s Sprint Center.


kellerman411 7 years, 9 months ago

Two takeaways:

  1. Wiggins had a look in his eye that we hadn't seen yet. I thought he was absolutely sensational. His defense was stifling and he bullied everybody and their dog on his way to the rim time after time. I think the light might have come on but we'll see.

  2. Bill has a decision to make at PG. When Naadir is bad, he is really, really bad. The problem is that when his shot isn't falling, he doesn't have a lot of other was to contribute..

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

I think Wiggins best two games were against Florida and West Virginia when he scored the majority of his points after the game was no longer in play.

I thought he did a tremendous job in both games, trying to get his team back into the game.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 9 months ago

Jo Jo covers up a lot of blemishes on our defense, Naadir, Frank, Perry not being able to guard anyone.....I taped this game and will keep it just for watching a superstar emerge in the second half.

Actually, not horrrible...KU most likely trades a #1 seed in the East for a #2 seed in the Midwest!!

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 9 months ago

I thought Mason defensed Staten a LOT better than Tharpe. Sorry, but just judging reaction times, and quickness of feet (eye-foot coordination & reaction), Mason, not only gets it, but has the physical ability to guard on-ball much better than Tharpe. I'm watching and analyzing this not as a KU alum or fan, but PURELY as a basketball player myself. Especially as a guard, that crossover on Tharpe where Staten got all the way to the rim was downright embarrassing just from a simple basketball player's perspective.

I do agree that Self may have a decision to make at PG, at the worst possible time of the season.

On the positive side, enjoy Andrew Wiggins, folks. I literally got teared up (in a Dick Vermeil sort of way) watching that kid give his ALL, even as we were going down in flames. That is called effort on both ends of the floor. Thank you, Andrew Wiggins, for coming to KU. You deserve everything good that is about to come your way. RCJH!

Shawn Otrimble 7 years, 9 months ago

At the end of this regular season, I can honestly say what a fun ride. I try not to read too much into the comments and the negativity (none on here yet), because it sounds like we are spoiled rotten. Let face it, not one returning starter and we still have 20 + win season and win our 10th (in a row) Big 12 championship. Wiggins was awesome all year and today he looked like the next NBA star that will emerge in a few years. I never put too much stock into the NCAA tournament because upsets always happen. That way I can just enjoy it for what it is. It's all about the pairings and what team gets hot, even if for one game. The good news is that no matter who goes pro this year, we have a couple of beasts coming in to make names for themselves next year. It's great to be a Jayhawk!

Bill Kackley 7 years, 9 months ago

If were lucky and win first NCAA tournament game it will be the only game we win the rest of the season. I don't care if they are young, when you have that talent, a little effort carries you a long way. When does football start.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

For anyone interested, go back to your DVR at appx. 15:25 of the second half to see what Staten did to our starting point guard. Just one example. Simple cross over, Tharpe gave zero effort, was literally left in the dust, and Black was put in a position to commit a foul at the rim. Tharpe shouldn't be in the same gym with Staten.

The fact that Tharpe was benched on March 8 of his junior season is quite unfortunate, but well deserved. It really tells the story. The supposed team leader, the driver of the bus, drove our team into the lake the first half. He was again obviously lacking in effort. I'm sure someone will try to defend the guy, but I simply can't remember a KU player that appeared so devoid of grit, energy and determination.

Two guys that do give effort -- Mason and Frankamp. CF, actually, was pretty impressive defensively today. And Mason is always working hard when defending.

But there is just no good answer at this point. I'm afraid if Self took Tharpe out of the starting lineup that he'd wilt like a three day old daisy. The best Self can do is to do what he did today -- bench Tharpe when he is overwhelmed, or lacking in effort.

Tharpe scores 16 against Tech; that's sure nice. But against OSU and WVU, no shows. Tharpe is the antithesis of what coach Self desires from his players. In March, one loss and you're done. As a pretty ardent Tharpe supporter coming into the season, my opinion has changed 180 degrees.

Win or lose going forward, unless there is a marked change in Tharpe's "want to", I cannot imagine a scenario where Self trots him out there next season as our starting point guard.

What we can hope for is that Embiid makes a return, and that Andrew Wiggins is Carmelo Anthony, because he was absolutely spectacular today.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

100% agree on Tharpe. Supporters of him point to the OK game or when he does score, but it his games like today that shows his true grit or lack thereof. Your DVR video timestamp is a perfect example of why so many miss how many things he does not do that cost our team past his own minimal stats. He just cannot play against quality guards. That cross over was good but not amazing and Tharpe was beat so bad he did not even react and Black was in no mans land. Its why Self has to sit him. I am always amazed on here how many think he is elite or our leader. I would take just about anybody else's PG over him, and at this point in the year that is just sad. Self will say all the right things, he has to he has no other options, but it has to be tearing him up inside that he has such a weak player in a critical position on his team. Even more so that he has to start him. Self's actions speak louder than his words, sitting Tharpe who would not be starting on any other team in the B12, it is his only option right now. The kid just cannot play at this level.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

Great post Jack. There is not a competent or consistent point guard on this team and I believe that will be the reason we will not win the NCAA.

As for the scenario where Tharpe does not start next year relies solely in the hands of Mason and Connor unless Self can pull a starting point guard either transferring or coming out of a junior-college. There is nowhere else to find one for next year.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes, HEM, as I posted under Tony's post...I believe you and I saw the same play where Staten with a SIMPLE crossover got by Tharpe with 2 steps while Tharpe was still hitting the brakes going the other way. Very embarrassed for him from a simple player's perspective.

Blow-bys put pressure on our interior bigs to come over to help, and usually they pick up cheap fouls.

2 problems on this team: Without the "clean-up job" that Embiid provides, our D is exposed even more--as there is no safety net. The other problem is "soft" post play by players not named Embiid and Traylor. I'm having problems with Perry Ellis showing himself to be a Roy-type finesse big, instead of a Bill Self position&hustle big. 2yrs in the system now, but we see Ellis not an above rim player. His introspective demeanor needs to take a lesson from Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden. Notice I mention frosh. Next year comes another frosh named Cliff Alexander that will arrive with an off-the-charts energy level...(beware Mr. Ellis)

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Ellis will be watching a lot more basketball next season then this season but I think he will still be the starter.

Armen Kurdian 7 years, 9 months ago

Tharpe would start on probably 2/3 of the teams in the country, but as you say, we don't have anyone else at that position. 38 points at half is fine, but boy was our D abysmal today. I can't be upset w/them, not w/their level of experience, but it kills me to see them when they play w/a lack of energy.

Right now there are no gimmes with this team, and they have proven they have a hard time on the road or neutral courts (I think we actually have a losing record in true road games this year, don't we). This team could very easily exit in the first round.

I don't care if they don't win it all at this stage, I just want to see some fight for 40 minutes. No shame in losing to a great team. But dang it, play like you mean it.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

"It was KU’s second-worst half of the year. Wake Forest scored 52 in the second half of a Nov. 28 game in the Bahamas. It was most points allowed in a first half since Texas torched KU for 54 in March of 2007."

How can you not count our first half against Oklahoma State? The score might not have been near the 50 point level but the play was as bad as any half during this year's season.

I really hope we can get somewhat capable of running this team. I'm hoping that there is someone out there who can immediately jump in and start.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 9 months ago

I thought you were just going to count to 2.

  1. 54 > 50

  2. 52 > 50

  3. 50

Most first graders could correctly answer 50 is the third worst.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

LOL.. Sorry Dick, I was including turnovers and our scoring output (like shooting 24%) into the equation. If we had shot 50 points also, like we did in the 88 championship game, or 54 points also in this game, would it still be the worst half of basketball we've played?

I think most first-graders would be able to do more than just add and subtract. If you had read my comment Dick, I think I mentioned that I was talking about more than just points.

Bernard Gregory 7 years, 9 months ago

I know he made a couple of turnovers , but what is needed is to let Frank play without having to look over his back and I know a lot of posters don't believe this, but the kids desire to win and the effort he is going to give, will make this a better team because he is going to always show up with the intensity.Now that he has gained the confidence in his outside shot you will see a much better player. I said it a long time ago he has to believe and figure out exactly what coach needs him to do and once he does and can play with the confidence that he needs, he will lead these guys to victory.If you watch sometimes he gets beat trying to help his teammates and the foul that he got called for with the shot clock at 2 seconds was pretty touchy. Some guys the coach has more faith in than others and I know he believes in Frank but they he has to put him on that comfort level and this kid will show why he is at Kansas.

Eric TheCapn 7 years, 9 months ago

Mason will be the boss in the near future and I like him a lot. His issue is making decisions to early, but Self will teach him to slow down while still being explosive. Unfortunately, if it hasn't happened by this point, it won't be until the off-season.

I'd still start him at the 1 over Tharpe every game this season. I'm content with Tharpe as a 2, despite the lack of defense. The dude has become a major shooter this season, so set him up and keep him from defending the other team's point guard. Self had the same issue with loyalty to EJ last year; it happens time and time again and costs us.

Boss Mason has passion... and is probably also a rapper.

Beau Woolsey 7 years, 9 months ago

Tharpe gets way to much blame for losses and not enough credit for wins. I think he needs to develop into an off point guard like George Hill for the Indian pacers, Selden and Wiggins can be Lance and Paul and Perry and Joel are like David and Roy. The Indiana pacers aren't exactly fluid on offense but that's because George hill doesn't pass and nadir is actually a pretty good passer. This team should do three things, Drive with wiggins, pass to embiid/ or Ellis, run screens to get threes. If we take out a few dumb threes by Tharpe and a less passes to perry when he doesn't have room to drive or shoot, KU's offense would have much less turnovers.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

Beau what did you like about Tharpe's game yesterday? His complete lack of defense, his zero assists, his 0 for shooting, his zero points, no energy, his lack of leadership, or him sitting on the bench for 24 minutes while his team got creamed because his coach saw him as a liability? This is not the first time it has happened this year either. This late in the season that kind of play is inexcusable from your PG. He has also had many games where we won this year where he just does not show up but others step up to cover him. He has had way to few games where he has played well. He has been benched early in the season, in the middle and late due to poor focus and play. His job is to run the offense, set the tone of our team and if possible defend against his guy. He continually misses on all 3. Its hard not to blame him for most of the losses this year.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 9 months ago

His continual misses on 3 also had led to the 2nd best %age from 3 - behind Perry Ellis, whom some think shouldn't shoot 3's because of all the superior long-range shooters on the team.

I'm not here to defend Naadir's game yesterday, but while we have had games where we won in spite of PG play, we have also had games that we won b/c of PG play. Not that would should allow facts to cloud our reactions/rants.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

Dick, stick to counting, it's what you're best at. You're a one trick jackass.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

Dirk: I respectfully think that you miss the point (though I do admire that you are sticking up for Tharpe). Sure, Tharpe has improved his shooting, much to his credit. A nice surprise. He'd probably be one of the guys I'd want taking a late three. And his shooting has been a huge part of our success in some games. But that is a selected, particular skill.

On a macro level, this is about leadership, effort, mental preparation, determination, and making your team better as a point guard. And don't forget, he is our junior point guard that is nearly a senior. It is the depths of Tharpe's valleys that most threaten this team's chances in March.

It is why Self benched him during our comeback yesterday -- because Tharpe would have hindered the efforts. As bad as his performance was yesterday, it wasn't near the debacle that was evident at OSU the week before.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

The problem is that Dick is constantly missing the point. Use smaller words, not sure it will help but may be worth a try.

David Gisi 7 years, 9 months ago

This figured to be a difficult game. Especially without Embiid. I thought Frankamp played well and had a number of open looks. He just doesn't seem comfortable enough yet for those to go in with consistency. But defense was awful, and that was the difference. They often looked as if they've never played together before. This game was lost between the 16 and 12 minute marks of the first half. It was 9-9 when Black picked up foul #2. Williams drove the side of the lane. Ellis immediately tied up the ball. Williams took 4 steps while Ellis had the ball tied up. He couldn't do anything with it but just keep running toward the basket, couldn't lift the ball up or anything. Somehow the sideline ref saw through Ellis and Williams to call a foul on Black. Even if Black committed a foul, which he clearly didn't. That official had to ignore the obvious held ball, the obvious travel, and then call a foul he could not possibly have seen. Worse yet he sent Williams to the line for 2 points when he could not possibly have attempted to shoot the ball, because Ellis had it tied up the entire time. At the 12 minute mark was the inexplicable held ball call with Wiggins driving. The WVU player was behind him, reaching across Wiggins shoulder, grabbing his arm. In between those 2 calls, Selden turned it over twice, Traylor watched the ball bounce by for an easy dunk and KU completely fell apart defensively.

Beate Williams 7 years, 9 months ago

So I guess your point is that last year Coach should have put Nadir in for EJ. Whoa....

Brian Mellor 7 years, 9 months ago

It is a little amusing to hear, after I do distinctly recall a significant number of times last year that Tharpe should be our man and E.J. needed to go.

Then of course there was all the Tyshawn Taylor hate forgotten completely after the tournament run. Following the Sherron Collins love completely forgotten after the UNI loss.

There are times that I find it difficult to like some other KU fans. Too often we sound quite a bit like the rich 16 year old, angry that their daddy only got them the 2002 BMW M-series, instead of the convertible Jag that they wanted.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

To be fair Brian, EJ never needed to play the point until his senior year. Tharpe as a sophomore was still unable to stay on the court. Not discounting EJ's meltdown against Michigan but we've had several sophomore point guards running the team in the past. I think Mason and Frankamp will be much improved next year. Not sure about Tharpe, hopefully yes but maybe what you see is all we will get.

Titus Canby 7 years, 9 months ago

OSU is the only game I've seen all year where we played good team defense. If we don't bring that, we go down in the first round of the tournament. Both tournaments.

Ethan Berger 7 years, 9 months ago

Tharpe deserves a lot of criticism after yesterday. But a lot of our guys do. On defense, Tharpe was out of it and distracted. But there were so many other guys who deserve blame. Mason drove deep and put himself in bad situations. Black and Ellis didn't block out. Communication on screens was horrible. Wiggins scored 15 strait at one point. That Traylor play where he let the ball sneak by him was the theme for 35 minutes. Something has to be going on outside of basketball with tharpe. Last year, he made great passes, scored from every where. Maybe we are still seeing chemistry issues and that's not rare with young teams. But lest also remember he was our pg for the 10th title. He is a jayhawk. Yesterday the whole team was bailed out by Wiggins. Energy is contagious and we need our upperclassman to have it.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 9 months ago

It is an interesting dog pile on Tharpe after a game when 3 of their players go for 20+. I believe one of those was also defended by Wiggs.

Definitely agree regarding the need for energy, but at this point in the season everyone needs to understand and meet the need. Otherwise, upperclassmen = 1 Jr or 3 Sr subs or 1 Soph?

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

Just curious Dick, why do you think Coach Self had Tharpe sitting? Pretty sure it was his frustration that his PG doesn't get it and never has.

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 9 months ago

It was nice to see that it was a 6 point loss instead of a 20 point loss, but still frustrating nonetheless. One more thing I would have loved to see from Wiggins is getting into the other players faces and firing them up. And I still like Tharpe, but he's got to do something ASAP or everything he's done for us will be erased. How do you not want to defend? I find defense as the most intriguing part of the game. Self said it best, "you have to take it personal when you play defense." I feel that our guys are always in reaction mode instead of attack mode. Hopefully the tourney plays out well for us. Would like to see these guys make a nice run this year.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 9 months ago

Nice sentiments. But I dont think getting in someone's face is Wiggins' personality. Nor is it Ellis's personality. And with the up-and-down benchings, I think Tharpe may feel like he's lost credibility as the leader? Your point about Wiggins trying to assume the leader role is a great one, simply because Wiggins has earned everybody's respect with consistent play lately...while the same cannot be said for Tharpe. Tharpe has played great as well as playing awful...all here lately.

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 9 months ago

You're right. Wishful thinking I guess? I just figure if Wiggins got fired up then it would catch the guys off guard and really fire them up. But like you said, just not his game though. Wiggins did have a look in his eye against WVU though. If that carries over he will have a fruitful March.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

Would kind of like to see Wiggins take over the leadership of this team. As it stands, I don't know if there is even a leader on this team. As for the up and down benching on Tharpe, I can't see leaving him in the game when his head isn't into the game.

This is his junior year. This is when players in the past have started to play at a different level.. Examples are the Morris twins, TRob, Withey, Kuan and so on.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

You still like Tharpe? For what, what do you think he can do ASAP? If you are saying he is the best we got, ok, but my word how bad does he have to play to get an honest reaction? That was tragic Saturday. He does not take it personally, otherwise he would not keep getting benched during the season.

Luca Rossi 7 years, 9 months ago

RockkChalkk Thoughts:

1) Pointing fingers is easy. Being positive and supportive fans when our team needs us most is not easy. Theres no doubt being a player at KU means a high standard for expectations for performance on the court. But at this time of the year, we are who we are and need to make the best of it. Winning the tourny isn't easy but KU has the talent to do so, they are capable of beating anyone when they play well. Lets pick up our boys and hope we get hot. Jack referenced it above, Wiggins is capable of going on a Carmelo-esk streak, several others have shown they can step up and have breakout performances too. This team turns on and off like a light switch with their consistency, hopefully the lights stay on when they need them to the most.

2) I still think if we win the Big12 tournament that KU will be a #1 seed. Just looking at the teams ranked above us that have lost this week (Duke, Arizona, Virginia, Syracuse x2) we should still be in the running. Winning the "toughest" conference outright by several games AND winning the conference tournament SHOULD be deserving of the 1 seed. But you never know, a lot of stuff can still happen with one week left.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

After this game, best scenario is a two seed in the Midwest. Would like to see Kansas go up against Wichita State to make the Final Four.

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