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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Notebook: Mason receives star treatment, er booing, from WVU student section

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) soars in for a bucket against West Virginia guard Jevon Carter (2) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 at WVU Coliseum.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) soars in for a bucket against West Virginia guard Jevon Carter (2) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 at WVU Coliseum.

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— Booed every time he touched the ball, thanks to a directive from the West Virginia student section’s pregame flyer known as the Mountaineer Maniacs Musings that dubbed him the Bum of the Game, Kansas point guard Frank Mason III had an off night during the Jayhawks’ 85-69 loss to No. 18 West Virginia.

Fifteen points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 39 minutes may not sound sluggish, but the KU senior was not nearly as effective driving to the rim as he has been throughout the season and he also played his role in the Jayhawks’ ole’ defense that gave the Mountaineers easy bucket after easy bucket throughout the night.

Asked if they noticed the extra attention from both the WVU student section and Mountaineers players frustrating Mason, his KU teammates stopped short of saying their leader was rattled.

“This is a tough game for a point guard because it kind of takes them out of the rhythm.... They made it hard on him tonight,” said fellow-senior Landen Lucas.

Added junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk, who finished with six points and seven assists on 2-of-9 shooting: “I don’t think anyone played good today. Frank did what he was supposed to do. He didn’t turn the ball over a lot and he controlled the game for the most part. It’s just hard to play here when you (handle) the ball and they press the whole game.”

Other notable jabs from the Maniacs Musings included: claiming that Devonte’ Graham bears a resemblance to Franklin the Turtle, from the popular Canadian television children’s show Franklin and Friends; that they also did not know how to pronounce Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk; that Josh Jackson is a bandwagon Chicago Cubs fan; that Mitch Lightfoot is baby-faced; and that Lagerald Vick’s middle name is Montrell.

Jackson for 3

For the second consecutive game Kansas freshman Josh Jackson shot the ball well from beyond the 3-point line, connecting on all four 3-point tries en route to a team-high 22 points.

Asked if the recent hot streak was a sign that he had found his shot, Jackson shrugged and focused instead to spend most of his time criticizing KU’s shortcomings instead of praising his own play.

“I’ve got confidence in it, my teammates do, my coach does and when I’m open I’m gonna just shoot it and hopefully it goes in,” Jackson said of his long-range stroke.

Said Self of his freshman’s productive night: “I thought, offensively, he played pretty good, but I didn’t think defensively anybody played very well at all. He’s gotta get more than four rebounds in a big-boy game like that, especially when Landen’s out with foul trouble.”

Illness no issue

Foul trouble and a quicker West Virginia front line frustrated Lucas into a forgettable, 2-point, 10-rebound night in which he finished with four fouls in just 24 minutes.

But the senior forward refused to use his recent illness as an excuse for his difficult night. Asked if he was over the bug that was ailing him during last weekend’s win over Texas, Lucas said simply, “I am. Yes.”

Cashing in

Several of West Virginia coach Bob Huggins’ recent meetings with Kansas have been profitable both in the win column and his bank account.

As if having defeated KU in each of the Jayhawks' last four trips to Morgantown did not have a sweet enough ring to it, Huggins has picked up a little extra cash for those victories.

Tuesday’s win delivered another $25,000 bonus for Huggins, whose contract extension, signed in 2012, included a clause pledging that amount for beating the Jayhawks.

According to the Charleston Daily Mail, the contract states that Huggins will collect $25,000 for “any victory over the University of Kansas during the regular season.”

ESPN's Andy Katz reported Tuesday that Huggins donates the money to cancer research in the name of his late mother.

History repeating?

Kansas freshman Mitch Lightfoot, who snagged one rebound and blocked one shot in eight minutes against the Mountaineers, said recent Kansas history suggests that Tuesday’s loss might not be all bad news for the Jayhawks.

“We’re all for each other in the locker room,” Lightfoot said after the game. “We’re not gonna let each other down. The last time we lost we rebounded pretty well, with a pretty fun game. I feel like that can happen now and we just need to play our butts off and defend. That’s the most important thing.”

That last loss, 103-99 in overtime to Indiana in November, was followed by a thrilling win over No. 1-ranked Duke in New York City. And with another blue blood awaiting the Jayhawks after this loss — Saturday at No. 4 Kentucky — Lightfoot is hoping the Jayhawks will achieve a similar bounce-back.

“We’ve gotta be tougher down the stretch and we’ve gotta come together as a team,” he said. “But this is good for us and we’re gonna come back better. I’m 100 percent sure of that.”

This and that...

KU’s lead in the all-time series with West Virginia dipped to 6-4, including 1-4 in games played in Morgantown.... The Jayhawks are now 4-1 in true road games this season and 8-2 in games played away from Allen Fieldhouse.... KU was out-rebounded by WVU, 39-32, marking the second time in the last 12 games that Kansas was beaten on the boards.... The 85 points surrendered by the KU defense was the third highest total scored by a Kansas opponent this season (Indiana, 103, and Kansas State, 88).

By the Numbers: West Virginia 85, Kansas 69.

By the Numbers: West Virginia 85, Kansas 69.

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. West Virginia


Comments

Ben Berglund 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I thought early on this season that we could be a contender, and 'Dok's injury more than this game have caused me to question that - although this game showed why. I think we can win any game, including very possibly Saturday against Kentucky, but frontcourt depth will limit our progress in March. It was interesting to see Coach bust out the zone, I think he wanted the win.

RJ King 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, at least they didn't storm the court.

Steve Zimmerman 9 months, 3 weeks ago

We need to fight back harder, they become so accustomed to winning easily against us. No point of storming the court anymore.

Steve Zimmerman 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I have hope that this season is not a bust yet!!

Bryce Landon 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Most teams around the country would give up a vital organ to be 18-2. I'll take that all day. Just don't let one loss turn into two...or three...

Glen Miller 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Not a bust, but I think we all got a bit of a reality check last night. We're a good team, but not a great team. Our defense is suspect and we obviously aren't very deep. I've seen too many games this year where they just drive right to the basket and score at will. To this point, our schedule hasn't been what it normally would be. We won 18 straight and only 1 against a ranked team (and even that is questionable as half their team was on the bench in street clothes). I think that some of us fans were living in a fantasy world. This team, although wrought with leadership and experience is not as talented and deep as years past. In years like this we have to defend and we just can't do that for sustained periods of time. Until that changes, we are a Sweet 16 team at best. I'm no longer going to keep fooling myself on that front. Last night at the end of the game, we had just given up and I can't say I've seen that very often from a Bill Self coached team.

Jay Scott 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Losing to a top team on their floor is a "reality check"? Villanova and Kentucky must be certain that it isn't worth even playing any more games this year...

Glen Miller 9 months, 3 weeks ago

We got a reality check last night, that's what I said. Tell me who we've played to that point outside of a depleted Duke team and an overrated Indiana team, I will wait. We played a quality team and got worked and we weren't ready in crunch time. As far as the top team comment, West Virginia is not as good as the last few years. I watched that game and it's a team we should have beat. They didn't pressure us into a bunch of errors....... up until we started playing like a group of 7-8 year olds throwing the ball all over the floor we were doing just fine. The reality check is that our margin for error is not what it has been. We have an off night against a good team, we will lose. In years past, our talent and depth could overcome.

James Hubin 9 months, 3 weeks ago

You never know buttercup? The sky could always fall on Kansas.

Bryce Landon 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I think it's safe to say that the Mountaineer Maniacs have officially replaced the Antlers as the conference's biggest hecklers.

RJ King 9 months, 3 weeks ago

"a directive from the West Virginia student section’s pre game flyer?"

baaa baaaa baaaaa.

Russ McCaig 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Things I would wish for:

1) in crunch time, when we NEED buckets, Josh would throw down with 2 hands or lay the ball in; when we are up, those 1-handed slams are spectacular; but...we needed that bucket. 2) Frank would enter the lane and NOT flop and chuck the ball up; he does wonderful from the R or L angle, but the drive to center...eek...the refs aren't buying the head-throw he and DeVonte are emulating... 3) that Landon will somehow find a 'mean streak'/'inner demon' or something; Frank gave him a perfect lob to the L side of the rim and he didn't even leave his feet, but instead caught it and tries to head fake...but walked...its the same story that we all had for Perry...be nice off the court, be mean on the court...show some fire...

I'd take the 18-2 start every year, Love my Hawks... RCJH!

Jay Scott 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Not Mason's best game. He sets a high bar. 18-2 and onward.

Rae Bricil 9 months, 3 weeks ago

i think the booing lulled Mason to sleep. He did not look himself...

Brad Farha 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Funny moment during the game. Graham is called for a foul (I think by Higgins), and Graham was not pleased b/c the ref behind him made the call and the ref in the front didn't. Graham plead his case, and on TV I could hear a WVU fan shout "* you Graham! * you!"

RJ King 9 months, 3 weeks ago

pretty angry crowd to curse at a cartoon turtle.

Martin Rosenblum 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah, I heard that as well. Stay classy Morgantown.

Robert Hunzicker 9 months, 3 weeks ago

With all the trash talking/smash mouth that goes on ....Which do you think is the Big 12's worst.

Clara Westphal 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Frank getting a foul less than a minute into the game seemed to have set the tone for the rest of the game. West Virginia has to come to Allen. I'm sure the KU fans will behave better than the Mountaineers.

Eric Bernauer 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't remember any serious recruiting by KU of Lauri Markkanen. Was this attempted behind the scenes, but just didn't work out? Did he have no interest in KU from the outset? Did KU have no interest for a particular reason? He would have been a legacy player and is having an outstanding year for Arizona.

RJ King 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It appears LM only visited Utah and North Carolina. When he signed with UofA in Oct. 2016, we already had a commitment from Azubuike (in Sept). At that time we had Diallo on the roster but the NCAA was still holding him hostage. Perhaps there was thought that CD may return for a soph season? Also - we were still hot on the trail of Harry Giles (who had not yet signed with Duke).

It also looks like LM started playing ball - or at least in an arena where he could be assessed from afar - in 2014. My guess is that by the time Kansas, perhaps LM himself, and apparently all but two other ncaa schools became aware of his desire to play college ball in the US, Arizona was already a lock. Yes, we could've used him this year, but probably looked a bit crowded with Lucas, Azubuike, and a bigger, better Bragg, as imagined.

Caden Ford 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah, I think he just wasn't fully interested and like RJ said, he had already made a good connection with Sean Miller at Arizona. Even though his dad played in Lawrence back in the day. He is having a great year

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