For the eighth time this season, the Kansas basketball team found itself in a double-digit deficit.
Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks rediscovered the Morgantown magic that helped them pull off a major comeback in their first meeting with West Virginia.
Although six other KU opponents have sent the perennial Big 12 champion home with a loss after leading by 10, WVU failed to do so again in an incredible 77-69 Kansas victory.
With Cole Aldrich, back to see his No. 45 jersey added to the rafters, and Mr. All-American Frank Mason III both watching courtside, the Jayhawks clawed out of a 10-point hole with 7:22 to play.
West Virginia missed 11 of its final 14 shots as KU got the win it needed for its Big 12 title race with Texas Tech.
View a gallery of images from Saturday's game between the Jayhawks and Mountaineers at Allen Fieldhouse.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: The Jayhawks (21-6 overall, 10-4 Big 12) took it up about 10 notches in crunch time.
The Mountaineers controlled the game for so long another KU rally and victory hardly seemed probable.
But once Malik Newman (11 points) tied it at 66 with a 3-pointer WVU basically disappeared down the stretch.
Kansas made 9 of 10 free throws following that tying bucket, and simultaneously silenced the WVU offense.
Graham made 7 of 8 at the line in the second half and 9 of 10 in the win, finishing with 15 points and seven assists.
• Offensive highlight: Many who follow KU hoped Lagerald Vick’s 16-point performance at Iowa State earlier in the week meant he had found a way out of his offensive funk.
Early on against WVU, Vick looked even more assertive than he did in Ames, Iowa.
Vick scored six of the Jayhawks’ first nine points when the offense struggled overall in the opening minutes.
The most spectacular bucket of the entire first half came courtesy of Vick. Svi Mykhailiuk attacked off the dribble in the half court and when Vick saw a lane to cut in behind the defense he pounced.
Mykhailiuk dropped off a perfect bounce pass that met Vick in stride at the right block, then the 6-foot-5 guard from Memphis, took flight.
Vick violently threw down a two-handed jam to get the hungry fieldhouse crowd into it.
At halftime, Vick was the game’s leading scorer with 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting. He finished with 13.
• Defensive highlight: Udoka Azubuike did his best Sagaba Konate impression early in the second half.
His WVU counterpart was expected to make more of an impact as an interior defender in the primetime matchup.
But Azubuike reminded the Mountaineers he, too, can protect the paint as a help defender.
Esa Ahmad had a driving angle for a potential layup with the game tied at 37. When Ahmad tried swooping in from the right side, though, Azubuike took one giant step in his direction and spiked the shot out of bounds.
Konate finished with three swats, and Azubuike (21 points) matched him.
• Key stat: Three-point shooting.
The Mountaineers took a 10-point lead with 14:15 to play when Daxter Miles Jr. drilled his fourth 3-pointer of the night, making WVU 9 of 16 at that juncture.
They pushed their lead to 12 minutes later, with the help of two more 3-point bombs.
The Jayhawks, though 4 of 10 from deep in the first half, could not find their touch much of the second.
They misfired on their first seven 3-point tries in the midst of Miles’ shooting show. It wasn’t until Newman drained one with 7:38 to play that KU saw one fall from downtown.
Kansas finished 7 of 22 from long range in the win, but made 3 of its last 5, fueling the victory.
WVU made 14 of 26 3-pointers in the loss.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will be right back inside the fieldhouse on Monday for another must-win game featuring one more jersey retirement, this time for Sherron Collins. KU plays host to Oklahoma on ESPN’s Big Monday (8 p.m. tip-off).