Morgantown, W.Va. 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.
Images from Tuesday night's game between the Jayhawks and the Mountaineers at the WVU Colliseum in Morgantown, W.V.
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 KUsports.com’s live blog