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Kansas defeats West Virginia, 76-69

  • 8 p.m., March 3, 2015
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

No asterisk necessary: Jayhawks come back to win Big 12 outright

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0), center, holds the 2015 Big 12 trophy after KU defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 76-69 Tuesday, March 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse..

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0), center, holds the 2015 Big 12 trophy after KU defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 76-69 Tuesday, March 4, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse..

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Kelly Oubre Jr., who had fouled out of a fierce overtime battle, charged off the Kansas University basketball bench to greet Wayne Selden Jr., at center-court as the buzzer sounded on Kansas University’s 76-69 come-from-behind victory over West Virginia on Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawk players put on their blue Big 12 championship hats and T-shirts and waved to the student section following an improbable victory attained without junior forward Perry Ellis, who sprained his right knee late in the first half and didn’t return, except to help clip the nets after the game.

Yes, the Jayhawks won their 32nd straight game on Senior Night, and wrapped up an undisputed 11th straight Big 12 crown, despite trailing by a whopping 18 points in the first half.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self impressed with Jayhawks' ability to rally and beat WVU in OT

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discusses the highs and lows of a long night that included an 18-point comeback, overtime and an outright Big 12 championship.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Mason, Traylor and Graham discuss KU's wild comeback

Kansas basketball players Frank Mason III, Jamari Traylor and Devonté Graham discuss the Jayhawks' wild comeback and overtime victory over West Virginia in KU's regular-season home finale.

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KANSAS 76, WEST VIRGINIA 69 (OT)

Box score

“I don’t know how we did it but we did it,” said KU junior forward Jamari Traylor. 

He scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds and put the Jayhawks ahead to stay with a vicious dunk in overtime helping KU prevail on a night it went 0-for-15 from three-point land to the Mountaineers’ nine of 25 mark.

The Jayhawks, who trailed, 40-22 with 1:22 left in the first half and by 14 at halftime, also were out-rebounded, 46-34.

And still won.

“Senior Night (this year for Christian Garrett) is a special night. It wouldn’t have been the same if we hadn’t won this game,” KU coach Bill Self said after the Jayhawks improved to 24-6 overall and 13-4 in the league with one game remaining Saturday at Oklahoma.

It turned out to be one of the most “special” nights of the 12-year Self era.

“I would say that’s as good a win as we ever had here,” Self stated. “We’ve not had a better win here for higher stakes than what that was. You can’t get anything going and the kids figure out a way to do it. It’s pretty special to sit there and see those guys pull it off. We found a way to do it.”

KU won with Ellis sitting out a half and Cliff Alexander missing his second straight game over possible eligibility issues. Meanwhile, Oubre (12 points, three boards) fouled out and had to miss an overtime that KU won, 17-10.

“The only game that would compare to it when you play this poorly and get dominated when you don’t have anything going, lose your best player and have another starter sitting out .. the Missouri game would rival it. We were down to them 19 in the second half (in final game of KU-MU series), 18 today,” Self said.

The night could have been disastrous had Ellis sustained a severe injury.

Instead, MRIs showed a right knee sprain that is not deemed serious. 

In fact, Self would not rule out Ellis for Saturday’s game against Oklahoma, though the plan is to have him ready for next week’s Big 12 Tournament, starting a week from Thursday for KU in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Perry had the flu. He got off to a bad start anyway, then gets hurt,” Self said. “We think he can be back in a week or so. We think Oklahoma can be a long shot.”

He added ... “The MRI was very positive. It’s a sprained knee. With so many things going on, I’ll not say we’ll try to get him to practice Friday for Saturday. I don’t think that’s realistic. Doctors said it was realistic getting back next week but could be pushing it (for Saturday at OU). I will not say he won’t play Saturday, but the likelihood is not good.”

The Jayhawks trailed this one, 40-22, with 1:22 left in the first half and by 14 points at the break. However, KU clawed back and finally tied the score at 59 on two Devonté Graham free throws at :11.5. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter missed a three and Nathan Adrian had a stick-back shot swatted inside by Landen Lucas as the game went to an extra session.

“I didn’t have any nerves, ice water in my veins (on the two free throws),” Graham said after scoring 10 points and hitting six of eight free throws. Mason hit 11 of 12 free throws and had 19 points in 42 minutes.

“I stepped up to the line and was saying, ‘Game time. Game time.’ I had to make the free throws even though I missed a couple before that,” Graham added.

The game-winning points in overtime came off a vicious slam by Traylor with 3:02 left, breaking a 65-65 tie. He hit one of two free throws at 2:08, giving KU a 68-65 lead.

Mason went all coast to coast for a layup at 1:23 to up a 68-66 lead to four points. Mason then hit two free throws at :44.4 and KU was up six, 72-66

Daxter Miles Jr. hit a three to make it interesting, 72-69, at 31.3. However, Mason made two free throws at 16.6 seconds to up the lead to four and give KU breathing room.

“For a bunch of young kids to win that game ... how that game went, they hung in there. I’m tired,” Self gasped. “I think all our coaches are tired.”

Of prevailing on Senior Night once again, Self joked: “We were almost the asterisk.”

KU will meet Oklahoma at 3 p.m., Saturday, in Norman with the game meaningless except for potential NCAA seeding.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. West Virginia


By the Numbers: Kansas beats West Virginia, 76-69, in overtime

By the Numbers: Kansas beats West Virginia, 76-69, in overtime

Comments

Jerry Collins 5 years, 7 months ago

What a job Hunter, Landen and Jamari did filling in the void left by an injured Perry. Also appreciated the leadership shown by Wayne.

Jeff Soisson 5 years, 7 months ago

My comment is 31 straight senior nights of making it happen and this team will not quit. Best comeback I can remember in a long time. A heavy weight fight for the ages.

Mason would not give it up, Awesome! Traylor awesome and when Ellis goes down, everyone rallies. Great win guys go celebrate and if it was up to me, no classes tomorrow.

JD Roth 5 years, 7 months ago

I believe I said in a recent post that Hunter would be big for us. Keep working Hunter! Pay Heed!!!!! Get well Perry! Get over the flu and rest that knee. Congratulations undisputed Big XII Champs!

Russ McCaig 5 years, 7 months ago

Am I missing something?...This entire year I have been asking why Hunter doesn't see more playing time...I was excited to see him play, and play well last night...not sure why he wasn't in the game at the end of OT, however...

RJ King 5 years, 7 months ago

Hunter had 4 fouls and Lucas 3. Maybe that, plus Lucas has a few more big game minutes behind him. Only Self knows.

Reggie Flenory 5 years, 7 months ago

I guess one of the good things we can take from this game is that we have shot horribly from the 3 point line the last two contest against a very big Texas team and this one was against a very good pressing West Virginia team and we still found a way to win if we can even hit 30% of those three point shots we would have won the game easily now looking forward to the NCAA tournament this cannot happen. And as much as I hate cliff Alexander play with Ellis being hurt I sincerely hope we can at least get him back for the tournament

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 5 years, 7 months ago

damn graham, if that's what you listen to before games i'd be invincible, untouchable. heads up for my theme song when i'm feeling like i need headphones. kudos bro.

Mo Golany 5 years, 7 months ago

The Missouri game was also for 1st place in the Big 12. That was such a great comeback. This game vs West Virginia leaves me scratching my head "how did we come back" to win this game? Frank was fabulous he is def the MVP for this team! Hope Perry and Wayne are ok.

Mike Riches 5 years, 7 months ago

What an amazing way to clinch #11 outright! Simply unbelievable. Also finished up another undefeated season at home! He now has TWO more conference crowns than home losses during his tenure at Kansas. In my mind that statistic, as well as 11 straight, are two of the most incredible accomplishments in the current sports world.

Greg Lux 5 years, 7 months ago

How big was the AFH crowd tonight? HUGE!!! Without our fans we never win this game. Thank-you's to every Kansas fans at the game last night...

Bryce Landon 5 years, 7 months ago

When was the last time Kansas won a game without hitting a three-pointer? The last one I can remember was in 2008 when Kansas beat Baylor 100-90, but maybe it was more recent than that...

Roger Hoff 5 years, 7 months ago

Ok. Help me out here folks. Why do you think Coach Self hasn't been playing Mickelson more? He plays with great energy, and he does a decent job of protecting the rim, which is something we need. Thanks!

Andy Tweedy 5 years, 7 months ago

If I had to guess, it's more about who would have to come out than why he himself isn't in the game. When Alexander is healthy, I don't know that you'd take him out and Lucas has done a nice job off the bench more often than not. Just my first thought.

Roger Hoff 5 years, 7 months ago

That makes sense Andy. I was really impressed with his energy last night as well as the other guys who stepped up with Perry out and Cliff on the bench. It will be interesting to see how they play now that they have the conference wrapped up, and the monkey off their backs so to speak.

Andy Tweedy 5 years, 7 months ago

Of all the great things to take away from the last 15:00 last night, the thing that just kept getting notice for me was the crowd! I've been to some pretty loud games in Allen, but that place looked like it was just going to come right off its foundation! Well done to everybody in the building last night, wish I could have been there!!!

Dale Rogers 5 years, 7 months ago

On the Traylor slam, which was magnificent, I'd also like to see some kudos to Selden who took the cross court pass (from Mason?) and in a single motion received that pass and threw a dead-on bullet to the running Traylor across the court for the slam. That was a fantastic heads-up play. It should get some mention in these articles.

John Boyle 5 years, 7 months ago

It was a great play, unfortunately his four turnovers in the first four minutes cause part of the original problems for the Jayhawks. He did play with a lot of grit and determination in the second half.

Dale Rogers 5 years, 7 months ago

I'd still like to see more kudos to Selden for that pass during that play sequence when it's mentioned in the media. Just because a guy has a bad start doesn't mean he shouldn't also be praised for something he did very well that was a key to the success.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 7 months ago

Good question, Roger, and great answer Andy. I'm just happy that, when his number was called in such a big game, Hunter responded. Maybe that will be a sign of things to come.

It reminds me somewhat of the 2008 championship season, when Cole Aldrich came to life in the national semi finals game against UNC. He followed that up the following year with a marvelous season and eventually a spot in the NBA.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 7 months ago

Should have mentioned you too, Dale. Indeed, Selden's pass was amazing. The play doesn't occur in that fashion without it.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 7 months ago

How to say this without sounding negative or putting down the team..

I loved seeing the team rally together and winning with our front line being severely diminished. I loved the way we played tough in the 2nd half after being pushed around in the 1st. I didn't think we had much, if any, chance on winning this game without at least one player getting hot at the 3 pt line. Somehow we found a way to win in a game both sides needed

We kept the winning streak on Sr. night going, went another season winning every game at home and we won the BIG 12 by kicking down the front door instead of sliding in the back door.

But when I look at this team, I do not see a top 10 team and it's not just Kansas. I've watched every team in the top 10 at least once and most multiple times. For the Top 10, the majority do not look like top teams when compared to teams in the past. Although my favorite sport to watch is college basketball (by far), the game seems to be watered down. I have been watching CBB for about 40 years and I think the quality of CBB has fallen over the past decade or so. There are always a few teams that stand out as truly good teams but I remember when every top 10 school was a team capable of winning it all.

Just an opinion.

Mike Riches 5 years, 7 months ago

I tend to agree with you Walter. I think a lot of this is due to kids leaving early for the NBA. It's not just that kids don't develop as much while they're still in college, it's that teams don't develop as well. When guys are playing together for 2-4 years, they just become more cohesive. They know the system they are playing in forward and backward and the game is played at a much higher level.

I do look forward to watching Kansas next year. I would imagine the extra time they will have in Korea may make for a smoother season next year.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 7 months ago

I don’t think you can build a team with players who are only around for one year. As much as I enjoyed watching Andrew Wiggins, his contribution is negated by his lack of team experience. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Bills two final four teams were also the most experienced squads during his tenure.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 7 months ago

If only KO leaves for the NBA and Cliff has his eligibility straightened out (NCAA doesn't seem to be in any hurry) then next year could be special. Just need one BIG recruit aka Zimmerman to put us in position for a deep run.

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