Friday, March 11, 2016
Kansas City, Mo. There will be a rubber match.
For the third time this season, No. 1 Kansas will match up with West Virginia, this time with the Big 12 championship on the line.
Kansas (29-4) advanced to the title game with a 70-66 victory over Baylor in Friday’s first semifinal. A couple of hours later, West Virginia (26-7) joined KU in reaching the final with a 69-67 victory that ended in chaos.
The tournament's top two seeds will tip off at 5 p.m. Saturday night.
View a gallery of images from the Jayhawks' semifinal game against Baylor on Friday at Sprint Center.
With Oklahoma coming from 11 down in the second half to take a one-point lead, WVU’s Jaysean Paige hit a 17-foot jumper to put the Mountaineers up one with 11 seconds to play. After OU’s Christian James missed a layup in the final few seconds, WVU’s Devin Williams hit one of two free throws putting the Mountaineers up two with 1.8 seconds to play.
After a frustrating night that featured a 1-of-8 shooting clip (1-of-6 from three-point range), Oklahoma star and Big 12 player of the year Buddy Hield appeared to win the game for the Sooners (25-7) with an off-balance, half-cour buzzer beater. After the shot banged through the net, Hield stormed into the stands to celebrate with a bunch of happy Sooner fans.
But as the celebration moved forward, officials went to check the monitor to see if Hield got the shot off in time. That’s when the celebration shifted. And as Hield tried to peak over the officials’ shoulders at the monitor, the Mountaineers began to celebrate.
After about five minutes of waiting, the officials waved off the shot and sent WVU to the title game.
Kansas and West Viriginia split the season season, with each team winning on its home floor. KU was slapped by WVU in Morgantown, 74-63 on Jan. 12 in a game that wasn’t that close.
And KU got revenge at Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 9, 75-65 in a game that went down to the final few minutes.
The Jayhawks are playing better today than they were during either of the first two meetings. But they, no doubt, will be tested to the limit by the Mountaineers, who forced 21 OU turnovers on Friday night.
Jevon Carter led all scorers with 26 points in WVU’s win over OU while Williams chipped in 9 points and 11 rebounds and Paige finished with 10 points. West Virginia shot 10-of-22 from the three-point line.
— See what people were saying about KU's semifinal victory during KUsports.com's live coverage