Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bob Huggins not surprised by Landen Lucas’ performance

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins reacts to a foul called against the Mountaineers during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins reacts to a foul called against the Mountaineers during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Known mostly as a role player who fills a defensive niche at Kansas University's revolving door of a 5 spot, Landen Lucas helped KU hold off West Virginia, 75-65, Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse by making his sixth consecutive start and delivering 16 rebounds and 4 blocks in 29 minutes while also adding nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.

Asked if he was surprised by Lucas’ ability to control things inside against his team and its band of bruisers, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins answered with a single word.

“No,” he said.

As for Bill Self, the KU coach said he did not know whether Lucas’ reputation as a blue collar, do-whatever-it-takes type of player had made its way around the conference yet, but added that Lucas’ strong showing against the Mountaineers (19-5 overall, 8-3 Big 12) was no shock.

“When we played ‘em last year (at home), I don’t know if you remember, but Landen made the play that put the game into overtime,” Self said. “So he’s made some plays against West Virginia.”

So, too, has KU senior Perry Ellis. And the Wichita native was at it again on Tuesday night, leading KU with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

Asked about Ellis’ strong night, which also could not have come as a surprise, Huggins chose to elaborate a little.

“He’s a great player,” Huggins said. “I don’t know if his number will get retired. I don’t think there’s any room up there, is there? My God. I looked up there today. Man, there’s a lot of (jersey numbers) hanging up there. He deserves to be up there, for sure.”

Despite falling behind by double digits multiple times during both halves on Tuesday night, West Virginia kept firing back and forcing Kansas to respond. The Jayhawks (20-4, 8-3) did every time, leaving Huggins and company to lament the missed opportunity to take a two-game lead over Kansas in the Big 12 Conference standings. Instead, KU, WVU and Oklahoma — which KU will face at 1:30 p.m. Saturday — now sit tied at the top at 8-3.

“We kind of helped with those answers, didn’t we?” Huggins asked. “We probably helped their cause. It wasn’t all them. You gotta give us credit for screwing it up.”

Said WVU guard Jaysean Paige, who hit KU for a career-high 26 points in January but was limited to 14 on 5-of-16 shooting Tuesday night: “They play tough here. They have great fans and a good environment to play in. When they go on runs, it’s hard to stop them sometimes. The crowd gets into it and it is just a tough place to play.”

With his annual trip to Lawrence now out of the way, Huggins did not sound like a guy who would spend much more time this season worrying about the Jayhawks or where they are in the standings.

“All due respect to Kansas, I don’t think anybody in this league sits around and thinks about Kansas all the time,” Huggins said. “...I mean, do we think about Kansas? We do right before we get ready to play ‘em. Other than that, why would ya?” 

— See what people were saying about No. 6 KU vs. No. 10 WVU during’s live coverage

More news and notes from KU’s home win over West Virginia

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, West Virginia 65

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, West Virginia 65


Randy Glenn 6 years, 4 months ago

All due respect....who cares what Huggins says!!

Dale Rogers 6 years, 4 months ago

I thought his comments rather classy. He's pretty much the polar opposite of Weber who barely touches hands in the handshake line and certainly doesn't look Self in the eye.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 4 months ago

Why would he? He's the one who made fun of him at Illinois as being "dead", and now has to face him twice or thrice a year.

RJ King 6 years, 4 months ago

He's just trying to keep his own team focused on their own one-game-at-a-time situation. He want's his team to feel their destiny is in their own hands. And he is creating a culture of not being intimidated by Kansas.

I respect that. And it's working, as compared to what WVU was a few years back.

Phil Leister 6 years, 4 months ago

How in the world could Huggins' comments be construed as classy?

John Randall 6 years, 4 months ago

Well, Phil, I guess it's no surprise at all that you need to ask for help when it comes to the meaning of "classy."

Herb Derpson 6 years, 4 months ago

Huggy Bear is awesome. I've been on board with him since this

Sure he may be a little callous and a little resistant to answer stupid questions from reporters, but to suggest he lacks class is out of line.

Brianna Zaleski 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm surprised Huggy Bear had time to watch the game, much less focus on any one player or players. He spends SOOO much time working over the officials, constantly looking for that edge. I know it's good coaching on his part, but my God, it gets tired seeing him tirelessly pleading his case to them. I don't know if he even coaches during timeouts, all I see is his fat butt barking at the refs some more... And for the record, I like Bob Huggins, I just think he's picked a style of play that is so aggressive and, potentially, foul inducing, that he HAS to work the refs the whole game or his team would foul out. Maybe if he spent a little more time coaching sound technique as opposed to all out muggings, then he wouldn't have to spend so much time in the refs ears... But it worked w John Higgins tonight, that man swallowed his whistle for WVU, but had NO problem calling ticky tack fouls on us. No consistency from that joker.... Rock Chalk!

RJ King 6 years, 4 months ago

From what I can tell, Higgins was the only official who had not worked a WVU conference game. The others had two under their belt. Maybe it takes a couple looks before the mailings become obvious.

Jay Hawk 6 years, 4 months ago

I have no problems with Huggins' comments. Actually, the comments about Perry would very generous.

He gets his guys to play incredibly hard which is a tremendous credit to him as a coach and motivator.

And let's face it, everyone is "aware" that the road to the title runs through Lawrence and I'm sure there is a lot of scoreboard watching going on hoping to see us drop a game. However, no one in their right mind is going to admit to it . . . even a guy who gets paid $25,000 to beat us.

Chad Smith 6 years, 4 months ago

I actually like Huggin's Comments but not in regards to being classy or anything like that. Moreso, he was matter of fact and honestly has the mindset that KU should have about playing out the Big 12: focus on the game in front of you, after it's over, let it go.

I hope we celebrated the victory last night, but now it's time to turn the page and gear up for another difficult game this weekend in Norman. It's not like Huggins was saying, "I love Oklahoma, we think about them all the time". Shouldn't do that with any team. We have 3 of the next 4 on the road. One game at a time, we can win 'em all, we could also lose 3 of the 4 pretty easily. Lock in and bring your best effort every game and KU is more than talented enough to win the rest of their games. It's all about energy, focus, and poise with this team.


Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 4 months ago

Huggins seems pretty honest and sincere in his comments, so no big deal to me. A compliment from him is always meaningful, as in the case of Perry Ellis.

At least both teams had a pretty decent night. Can't say the same for the officials.

Mike Greer 6 years, 4 months ago

The fact of the matter is, as long as you take care of your games and your job at hand, it really doesn't matter what the remainder of the Big XII does, and I think that was Huggins attitude and the attitude of many coaches. Leave the scoreboard watching to us fans, we watch it enough for everyone.

I thought the comment on how many jerseys hang in the Phog was a tribute to how many talented players KU has had and have. It's a high bar, I hope Huggins is right and Ellis finishes out with a great year and someday his 34 is in the rafters.

Chris Shaw 6 years, 4 months ago

Herb, agreed! I've always been a Huggy Bear fan. He's always done it his way. He's never been much of a media guy, but he's always shown Self and Kansas respect. He shows most opponents respect unless you're Marshall or Rick Pitino.

Huggy will always bring in rift raft type players, but he coaches them up and most succeed. He gets a select few that don't pan out and he cuts them lose or suspends them. He doesn't take a lot of crap which is refreshing.

Doug Clark 6 years, 4 months ago

Brianna I agree 100%, they wouldn't have enough players to finish games if the refs called every foul wvu commits, so he is constantly in the refs ear, and his players act like they never commit a foul, every time one of them is called for a foul they put the hands out and have this pitiful look on their face and say what did I do? It's ridiculous

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