Tuesday, January 12, 2016

No. 11 West Virginia outplays, upsets No. 1 Kansas

Kansas forward Perry Ellis drives to the basket for two points in a game between the Jayhawks and the Mountaineers at the WVU Colliseum in Morgantown, W.V. Tuesday.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis drives to the basket for two points in a game between the Jayhawks and the Mountaineers at the WVU Colliseum in Morgantown, W.V. Tuesday.


— There's a new No. 1 in the Big 12 Conference — at least for now.

No. 11 West Virginia outclassed top-ranked Kansas in just about every way imaginable inside WVU Coliseum, 74-63, on a cold, snowy night, and gave KU its second loss of the 2015-16 season.

The Jayhawks (14-2 overall, 3-1 Big 12) never seemed to get in sync on either end of the floor. The West Virginia pressure and tenacity forced Kansas into several uncharacteristic mistakes and WVU simply looked as if it wanted this one more from start to finish.

As has become customary in this rivalry, the WVU students stormed the floor after the final buzzer and faint chants of "over-rated" could be heard coming from the student section late in the game. 

There was very little to like about the way KU played in the first half. Despite coming out hot and hitting 3 of their first 5 three-point attempts, the Jayhawks went ice cold after that and looked like they were not comfortable doing anything against that WVU defense.

Perry Ellis, when KU could get him the ball, led Kansas with 11 first-half points, but even the majority of those looked sloppy.

Meanwhile, Jaysean Paige played like a world-beater, scoring 17 first-half points to pace the Mountaineers to a 37-29 halftime lead.

Three telling stats from the first half: Even though their makes were even, WVU attempted nine more shots than KU (10-of-33 to 10-of-24), went to the free throw line 10 more times (15-of-19 to 5-of-9) and forced KU into twice as many turnovers (12 to 6).

Ellis led KU with 21 points and KU actually out-shot the Mountaineers, 42 percent to 33 percent. But none of that mattered in the big picture, where KU was throughly whipped by Bob Huggins and company for the third year in a row in Morgantown.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: West Virginia responded to an early 14-9 deficit with a 27-12 run. That both set the tone for the rest of the night and ignited the late-arriving home crowd. WVU led by eight at the break but seemed to spend more time in the second half ahead by double digits than single digits.

• Offensive highlight: Ellis, once again, flashed his all-around game in this one and was the only Jayhawk who consistently did anything even remotely well on the offensive end. Ellis scored with his back to the basket, in transition, from behind the three-point line and at the rim on put-backs and easy set-ups by his teammates. Given the way the rest of the Jayhawks played on offense, every one of Ellis' buckets qualified as a highlight on this off night. The most notable was an alley-oop flush on a lob from Devonté Graham after KU sliced through the WVU press with just under 10 minutes to play. The dunk pulled Kansas to within six, 50-44.

• Defensive highlight: There were a lot of drives to the rim by both teams in the first half, and, as a result, there were a lot of blocked, altered and challenged shots. A couple of those went KU's way. The first came from Landen Lucas, who swatted a layup attempt by Jaysean Paige off the glass to start transition for Kansas. And later, hustling back on “D,” Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk also got a block in transition, this one looked a lot more like a volleyball kill than anything else, as Svi rose high in the lane and swatted a floater by Tarik Phillip.

• Key stat: Free throws, second-chance points … is heart and toughness a stat? You name it, West Virginia won the battle on Tuesday night, but the one stat that might have factored into the outcome the most was the fact that WVU forced Kansas into 22 turnovers and committed just 11.

• Up next: After one of the Big 12's worst road double-headers, the Jayhawks will be back in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip-off against TCU.

— See what people were saying about No. 1 KU at No. 11 WVU during’s live blog

More news and notes from No. 1 Kansas at No. 11 West Virginia

By the Numbers: West Virginia 74, Kansas 63

By the Numbers: West Virginia 74, Kansas 63


Deb Fitch 4 years, 9 months ago

What a pathetic effort! A team that did not play like they had anything to prove. Got what they deserved.

Janet Olin 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm not bothered KU lost, but that KU made 22 turnovers and beat itself, rather than being bested by an opponent. Yes, I give credit to WVU for shutting down Mason and Selden. But poor free-throw shooting and turnovers were the ultimate culprit, most disappointing to me. Every team is going to lose some ugly games (hopefully ours will be on the road, not at home). Shore up the defense, take care of the ball, and concentrate on making freebies. Things will end up well if the team does these three things. Tonight wasn't our night. Regroup and move on. Rock Chalk.

Jim Keen 4 years, 9 months ago

Janet said it... poor free throwing (20 point deficit,,, yikes!) and throwing the ball away. Pathetic. It certainly looked like WVU wanted it more. I had tickets but after a 5 hour drive I aborted within 1.5 hours in the blizzard. I'm sort of glad I didn't have to suffer through the Mountaineer fans for the 3rd year in a row. The guys will learn from the mistakes and press on. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

Michael Leiker 4 years, 9 months ago

WVU does that to everybody, you can't say KU lost this game and WVU didn't win it. That's a solid team that just flat speeds you up and is a whole lot more athletic than KU.

Janet Olin 4 years, 9 months ago

Hopefully will be better prepared mentally for the away games at ISU, Baylor, and OU, in no particular order...

Ray Wyatt 4 years, 9 months ago

Wasn't unexpected. However I did expect them to play better. Hard gym to play in, hope KU plays better when West Virginia comes to Allen.

Niraj Shah 4 years, 9 months ago

Pathetic effort--beat by a team that shot less than 40%. KU weak effort all around

Niraj Shah 4 years, 9 months ago

At least the Lady Hawks gained a measure of vengeance. This game is like food poisoning makes you sick but hopefully it is only in passing.

David Kemp 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes as has been said poor effort and U poised play. I am now of the opinion that I would rather see us lose with Bragg and maybe Diallo than continue to win games with Lucas and traylor because in the end they don't have the talent to take us anywhere.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 9 months ago

It’s beginning to look like the Big 12 officials are determined to bring down KU. The OU game, notably the first half, was the warning shot. Tonight’s WVA game went along way to further the point….21 FTs for Kansas/47 for WVA!!!! Not only were the calls blatantly one sided, they allowed WVA to maul us with the no-calls. It’s a lot easier to create TOs when the officials won’t make call. Regardless 22 TO is was too much especially when 13 of those come from our guards (Mason and Selden).

The Boards were close but like the TOs, it is easier to crash the boards when the officials are reluctant to call a foul. Self should send a tape of this game to the Big 12 official’s office for review.

WVA is not that good. They need friendly refs to excel against quality teams. OU will annihilate WVA this weekend…the game is in Norman.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 9 months ago

That's weak sauce. The officiating was pretty fair in the games against Baylor and Texas Tech.

Tom Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

"It’s beginning to look like the Big 12 officials are determined to bring down KU."

And our competitors always complain about an alleged conspiracy FOR KU. Neither are plausible.

"WVA is not that good. They need friendly refs to excel against quality teams."

This is true, which is why their style doesn't translate across a league schedule or a tournament. It's a gimmick, and if the refs aren't having the physicality, WVU has no way of staying with a good team.

Doug Clark 4 years, 9 months ago

What a bad effort, that's 2 games in a row that Selden and Graham has played bad, all west Virginia had to do on offense is drive past out guards and either score layups or get fouled, and they made their free throws, we didn't. Graham gets beat off the dribble so easily and it compromises our whole defense, and he takes terrible shots at times. Svi played much better defense and got some significant minutes, unfortunately I think he got sped up on offense and couldn't make his shots even though he had a few good looks. I wish Bill wouldn't have been so stubborn and tried a zone defense to help stop dribble penetration, but west Virginia isn't a very good outside shooting team and he was probably scared they would get every offensive rebound and score outbacks, but they did get tons of offensive rebounds anyway, so why not try a zone out? Coach K is not too proud to play zone if his team can't stop dribble penetration so why not at least give it a shot, it couldn't have been much worse than our poor man to man defense. Just a thought. Anyway, I hope they learn from this and get on another winning streak.

Niraj Shah 4 years, 9 months ago

No excuse, we all know WVa gets away with muggings and our guys whimpered in the face of a hostile crowd, a hostile environment and unfavorable officials, despite supposedly being a "veteran" team.

Michael Maris 4 years, 9 months ago

Even more undisciplined tonight than against TTU. Roy Williams solution to such exhibits of basketball. Set the players and put the bench players in to prove his point about playing hard the entire game.

David Kemp 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm saying lose if necessary but play Bragg and Diallo. Lucas and traylor will not take u to the next level

Rodney Pain 4 years, 9 months ago

Well this game played out the way I feared it might. We got be on the boards badly. Yes, they forced 22 TOs on us, almost double our season average coming in, but they hardly got any points off those as they were mostly dead balls. The thing that killed us was getting out hustled to 50/50 balls and 2nd/3rd chance points. This was an effort loss more than anything. A good mid-season reminder that if you don't come to play, you'll get beat. No reason to panic. Just regroup, whip TCU, then get back on track for another Big 12 title and a deep run in March. Rock Chalk!

Bryce Landon 4 years, 9 months ago

Missed the game because of work commitments, and from the sound of things, that was just as well.

But let's keep our heads on here. We've got ten games left in Big 12 play. And West Virginia isn't going to run the table in the Big 12; nobody is. There's still plenty of time to rip this thing back. A 12th straight Big 12 title is far from out of the question.

Janet Olin 4 years, 9 months ago

Suzi, I agree officiating sucked. But there is no getting past 22 turnovers and poor free throw shooting in this one. Credit WVU for stifling Mason and Selden. But I'm watching Mason throw a full court pass out of bounds to nobody and seeing the normally precise Lucas step on the in-bounds line, among other things. Their focus was just not there.And then, of course, as a snowball rolls downhiill, nothing rights itself. Guys will regroup and things will adjust. I liked it that Coach put in his babies for a time while the game was close to get them game experience without jeopardizing a W. Can't win 'em all--just wish we hadn't beaten ourselves...

Michael Leiker 4 years, 9 months ago

KU fans need to admit it, Huggins has bested Self in the last 3...not taking anything away from Mason's effort last year against WVU at home but save some mystery foul calls and WVU has that one too. Bob has Bill's number. KU players react poorly to that type of team, always have under Self.

Jaston Archie 4 years, 9 months ago

There are different levels of coaching and Bill Self is simply on a much lower level than Coach K and one or two below Izzo. A blind man can see that Graham wouldn't start for any other team in the top 25. Frank is a poor mans poor mans Iverson and both of them get exposed against very competitive teams. Selden's problem along with most of the team is a lack of self belief, which is Selfs fault. He doesn't instill confidence in his players. Can you imagine your father never letting you do anything bc he doesn't believe you will succeed? But when your dad believes in you you are able to do something you probably couldn't do otherwise. Diallo, Greene, Svi and Bragg need for their coach to believe in them and not tell them what they can't do. Self needs to go. Its Final Four or bust and there's no way KU will make it with his decision making

Jack Hoff 4 years, 9 months ago

What?! Im usually pretty rational and give the benefit of the doubt when replying to comments but nothing you just said makes sense! Seriously what the heck are you talking about? Classic case of overreacting is what I would call this. What does losing to WVU on the road on a long back to back road trip have to do with Coach K and Tom Izzo? Graham looked pretty damn good against Oklahoma and they don't win that game without him, not to mention several other quality opponents this year and he has one bad game so all of a sudden you attack him? The same Frank Mason that had a double double last game and balled out against OU is also of a sudden exposed? Seriously dude, I'm so confused by your comment. Self has started Selden for 3 years, even when he played like complete trash. How is that not instilling trust in him? Statiscally Selden is as good as anybody in the country, so I don't know what problems you are talking about. Outside of Perry, everyone played poorly so it makes no sense to single out any particular playeer. Diallo played a lot in this game and did nothing noteworthy. Svi got three wide open looks and missed them all. Brannen showed us once again he can't play defense and had dumb turnovers. So explain to me how tht translates to Self not believe in them? Why are you talking about the final four a few games into the conference season? Your Bill Self firing crap is just old, dumb and holds no weight, so just stop. Every coach has flaws including Bill and there's plenty he could improve on and I'm sure he'd say the same. So just stop dude. Asinine

Jaston Archie 4 years, 9 months ago

Jack I guess I've been overreacting for 3 years now. Graham looked good against the Fieldhouse, you can't take the Fieldhouse to the NCAA tourney. And you say Diallo played a lot, did you watch the game? He played like 5 minutes.

Jack Hoff 4 years, 9 months ago

You're right, Diallo didn't play a lot. Played 4 minutes actually. Don't know why I said that. My point is, if you're still calling for Cheick to get lots of minutes, it makes no sense. Did nothing noteworthy while he was in. I could understand an argument for hunter deserving to play more. I didn't mean to come off as disrespectful in my initial post so I apologize if I did. Leftover emotion from the game I suppose. But it took Kansas 20 years between titles and the reality is the teams of the past 3 years simply weren't good enough to win it all, plain and simple. I know this is Kansas and fans demand the best and blah blah blah but a three year span of underperforming in the tourney is certainly not unique to ku, pretty common amongst all the other blue bloods actually. So the calling for bill self to be fired and feeling entitled to a title every year is just unrealistic and pure non sense actually. Since you want him gone so bad, lemme ask who would you replace him with?

RJ King 4 years, 9 months ago

As he has stated ad nauseum in the past, Jaston would replace Self with Mark Turgeon, who just lost to an unranked Michigan team playing without their star.

Now, I love Turgeon too, but it kind of confirms your initial diagnosis of severe knee jerk, doesn't it?

Jaston Archie 4 years, 9 months ago

RJ is right, I have repeatedly brought up Mark Turgeon bc I trust that he will adapt his philosophy and system to accomodate the best players on the roster. And yes Maryland lost but that's comparing apples to oranges bc Maryland is no where near the level of program as KU and the expectations and intangibles for winning are not there. Was Bill Self not qualified to come to Kansas for not winning a championship at Illinois or Oral Roberts? Same with Calipari, he couldn't win a national title until he went to Kentucky. If Turgeon, or any reasonable coach who could make a simple decision to not give 2 and 3 star players most of the minutes over your 4 and 5 star players, came to Kansas they would instantly win more and compete for championships

Chris Shaw 4 years, 9 months ago

Observation and Notes:

-This game had nothing to do with officiating.

-There is some merit to what Jaston Archie is saying just not the manner in which he's saying it. Nobody is firing Bill Self but there are serious questions about the way Self Instills confidence in players. My personal opinion is that it has to do with the rotation and we will get to that just in a second.

-Now we can get to the meat and potatoes. Let's face this moment on 1/13/16 KU is a 4 person team. Mason, Graham, Selden, and Perry have my complete confidence. Selden, Mason, and Ellis got it this past summer at the WUG's and graham followed suit about the 4th game into this season.

Those 4 guys although they didn't play well last night make this team go. The cool thing about those 4 guys is that the rest of the team follows them. Coach Self is apparently following and believing in them as well based off their minutes as well as their significant play so far. Those 4 have single handily carried this team to where they are currently.

With that said, I don't think this team is gonna do much damage in the postseason unless Self does three things going forward to help GMSP.

1) find a third ball handling guard. This isn't gonna happen because Graham and Mason are the only two on the team that can handle the rock. KU is deeply missing a third bench ball handler to spell graham and Mason. So...what to do? That's a good question. It may stay unanswered til next season.

2) Svi and Greene or Greene and Svi. They are just awkward players. Greene is a specialist that makes the team vulnerable defensively and imo hasn't gotten in rhythm or on same page as GMSP. Svi is losing confidence by the day for whatever reason. I mean, last night was his most minutes in a while and he took a step backwards. When these two guys are playing together it's awkward and when they are playing separately they arent gelling with the other guys on the court. All I know is that there is a rhythm and flow issue wth Svi and Greene. Hopefully Self can figure out a defined role for 1 of these guys and go with them. One is gonna be inter outside looking in but I think that's what has to be done.


Chris Shaw 4 years, 9 months ago

3) Big Man Rotation with the 5 Big's excluding Ellis. I mean, it's such a mess. We've seen about every combination you can think of but really no commitment towards any of the 5 big's. Lucas seems to be the guy that is separating himself and the guy self trusts the most but self is gonna have to find 1 more go to guy? If its traylor and his wild inconsistencies...I better just prepare myself now. Self is gonna have to make a commitment to two of these guys along side Ellis. I mean, Self owes it to GMSP to figure out this rotation so those guys can build upon that rhythm and flow a team needs. Right now, there is no rhythm and flow. GMSP doesn't completely trust those other 7 guys.

Kansas will continue to win games and get a high a seed for the ncaa tournament but at what point does self try to define roles and make a commitment to guys on the bench? What about the other 7 guys? Let's face it, somebody is gonna be left out and that's unfortunate but self needs to go to an 8 or 9 man rotation. He needs to do this for GMSP. Those 4 can't win a national title based off the current decisions Self is making with 5 Big's, Svi, and Greene.

Tom Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

Saying this game had nothing to do with officiating is ridiculous, but it wasn't the only reason KU lost. KU as a team was just off all night (everyone except for Ellis, that is).

And they have plenty of ballhandling, as much or more than other great teams, which is backed up by their turnover stats this year and last. Selden and Svi are both capable of handling the ball. Last night is not a good time to try and create an issue along those lines because WVU is an anomaly. They play a style that depends on the refs. If they allow the style, they can beat anyone. If they call the fouls, they can lose to anyone. That's why they're never a real threat to win the league or go anywhere in the tournament. They can surprise a few teams, hell, even a few refs, but they're doomed to failure in the league race or beyond.

Svi and Greene both have "defined roles", they're just inconsistent and easily rattled. Svi missed a few wide open threes and it clearly got in his head. Greene's always been questionable upstairs, let's face it. He's a wild card. He doesn't bring much at all on D so if he's not hitting 3's he's a liability on the floor. Fortunately, he usually DOES hit threes.

A good point about the big man rotation, but that's been obvious since day one. No one in that bunch has separated themselves. Still plenty of time for someone to do so,'s going to be a clown car for a while longer, it appears.

My biggest concern is defense. You're going to have off shooting nights like last night. It just happens. But Self's best teams have always been able to dig in and keep the game close with defensive intensity. Something they had very little of last night or on Saturday. I think that's the key to making this very good team a great one. More pride in their defense. I think this will be a good game for Self to use to show them that needs to happen.

Chris Shaw 4 years, 9 months ago

This game had nothing to do with officiating. You can certainly focus on that if you would like. KU didn't attack the press or attack the rim in a half court set and take advantage of those opportunities. KU settled for jump shots and it shows in the discrepency of the foul count. I have no issue with the officiating. KU didn't execute the game plan of a pressing team and in turn showed a lack of effort and energy that compounded the issue. KU got thumped and they took it on the chin. Now they have questions to answer.

Tom Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm not focused on it. It just wasn't the only reason KU lost. We were flat and slow.

Officiating is a factor in EVERY WVU game. If the refs let them hand check everyone and run through arms to get steals and push people around inside and out, they can beat anyone. If they're not allowed to play their style and are forced to play the game of basketball, they can lose to anyone.

But last night, even if they had called several of the fouls that were not called, KU would likely have lost. Officiating was a factor, just not THE factor.

RJ King 4 years, 9 months ago

I thought the same thing. Not an excuse at all, but certainly a factor. Our players seemed rattled that WVU was allowed to do what they have been told that cannot do. But we failed to capitalize and take a chance that the officiating might go both ways.

Chris Shaw 4 years, 9 months ago

Graham and Mason are the only legit ball handling guards on the team. I'm not talking about just bringing the ball up, Tom. I'm talking about the things you do with the basketball with penetration, keeping the dribble, getting in the crease, creating opportunities and keeping the defense guessing because of the angles and the unknown. Graham and Mason are unpredictable but in control of their movements to set others within the confines of the offense.

Chalmers, Russrob, and Collins had that ability. Miles, Boschee, and Hinrich had that ability. Taylor, EJ, and Tharpe had it but on a very smaller scale and a poorer version IMO.

Self has gone to mostly SF's and combo guards in recent years and I think he's missed out on guys who can truly handle the rock and create opportunities off the dribble within the confines of the offense. Svi, Greene, and Selden don't have it. Selden certainly doesn't have it because we as fans witnessed the previous two years at the 2 guard spot.

Nic Moore had it at 5'9" this past summer and Tyshawn Taylor had it 6'3" when he played. It's that ability to have that extra ball handling skill set to get anywhere on the court at anytime. Not everyone posses that skillset. A skillset that KU is missing to help bring down the minutes of graham and Mason. I think Vick has it but if self doesn't trust Bragg and Diallo at this point, he's not gonna trust Vick. Which means, you're left with Greene, Svi, and Selden and that brings back bad memories of the previous two seasons when graham and Mason go to the bench. It causes the offense to become stale at stagnant.

Tom Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for expanding, I just disagree. This team has as much penetrating ability as either of the teams you mentioned, more than the 01-02 team as Boschee was not a penetrator at all. Selden can get into the lane just fine. The problem is that there's no Collison/Gooden/Simien or Arthur/Jackson/Kaun waiting to throw down a dunk when they get the dish. Our deficiencies are inside, not outside IMHO.

Chris Shaw 4 years, 9 months ago

Selden has trouble when he has to create on his own. When the defender and Selden are on equal footing...Selden's limitations with the rock as well as his slow foot speed cause Selden to get bogged down and and prevents him from creating for anyone else unless it's a post entry pass.

When everything is clicking, Selden's game takes a step up because Mason and graham are setting up Selden initially and they are the ones getting Selden's defender off balance it out of position. The other good thing about Selden is that when he's hitting his outside shots...he can set up by pump faking to create that space.

The problem with Selden is two things 1) if Graham and Mason aren't creating for him then his opportunities to score imp go down because Selden has difficulty creating his own shot and opportunities. 2) when Selden's shot isn't falling (like it has the past two games) Selden's game digresses big time.

When one or both of those things happen above Selden's Impact drastically drops and he's gonna have to find other ways to impact the game defensively by getting steals or getting on the boards to create transition opportunities for his teammates.

So, without those 2 situations above, I disagree with you on the fact that Selden can get into the lane just fine. It's not one of Selden's strengths even though he has improved in this area since moving from the 2 last year to the 3 this year.

Chris Shaw 4 years, 9 months ago

And I will agree with you that more the major issues have to do with the "big's". Not only does KU not have a consistent center...the 5 man rotation in order to find that consistent center is not working imo. It's almost mind boggling. So, I agree with you there Tom. I still think KU needs a third ball handler to spell Mason and Graham but that likely won't happen because KU doesn't have that third type of player on the team. He doesn't exist. So, might as well continue to bang the drum and focus on the 6 big men that imo Self is completely mismanaging.

Tom Jones 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't even know if he's mismanaging them. Do any of the five non-Ellis bigs look appreciably better than any of the others? They don't to me. I imagine it's just as tough for Self to pick a name out of a hat if they're all as similarly (in)effective in practice.

Chris Shaw 4 years, 9 months ago

This isn't 6 and 7 year old ymca ball, Tom. At some point you're gonna have to make a decision. Diallo and Bragg imo haven't been given ample game opportunity to find out what you exactly have in your Arsenal.

I mean, Alexander thru his first 6 conference games last year played 20, 15, 21, 14, 23, and 27 minutes respectively last season. He may not have played great and the suspension certainly made it a "what if"'scenario last year but at Cliff had an opportunity to see what he could do in a basketball court. His teammates were at least given he opportunity also to figure out his nuisances so they could all get comfortable with another.

Bragg and Diallo haven't even been afforded that opportunity. That's beside my point at the moment. I want self to make a decision. Continuing with 5 big's in sporadic minutes IMO is not in the best interest of the team going forward. I think it wrecks confidence with the other players and builds uncertainty. Otherwise how are Graham, Mason, Selden, and Ellis gonna form that trust with their teammates and build that bond.

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