Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Jayhawks beat WVU, setting up three-way tie for first in Big 12

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) gets up to defend against a shot from West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip (12) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) gets up to defend against a shot from West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip (12) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.


While Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were busy winning the New Hampshire Primaries, Kansas University junior Landen Lucas was dominating the game for the Jayhawks against West Virginia.

What kind of a bizarro world is this?

Known mostly as a role player filling a defensive niche at KU’s 5 spot, Lucas made his presence felt on that end of the floor, finishing with 16 rebounds and 4 blocks in 29 minutes, but also contributed on offense more than he normally does, adding 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting, to help No. 6 Kansas knocked off No. 10 WVU, 75-65.

There were possessions, stretches even, particularly in the second half, when Lucas’ size and presence inside dominated the game.

Each time KU jumped out to a comfortable lead, West Virginia crawled back in into it. But Kansas (20-4 overall, 8-3 Big 12) had an answer every time and pulled into a tie with the Mountaineers (19-5, 8-3) and Oklahoma (20-3, 8-3) atop the Big 12 standings.

The victory, which was physical and flagrant like so many West Virginia games this season, also proved to be redemption for the Jayhawks who were blitzed by the Mountaineers in Morgantown in mid-January.

The game was an all-out battle from start to finish and featured all kinds of trash talk, extra shoving and stern warnings from the officials. For the most part, both teams escaped without any kind of serious incident and this one can be looked at as a hard-fought, February conference clash.

Offensively, Perry Ellis led the Jayhawks with 21 points in 38 minutes and also added a couple of highlight-reel lob finishes.

Four other Jayhawks reached double figures in scoring for Kansas.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: Kansas responded to a strong start to the second half from West Virginia with a 15-5 run that turned a 38-35 lead into a 53-40 lead with 12 minutes to play. Devonté Graham and Brannen Greene combined for three three-pointers during the run.

• Offensive highlight: This one could go down as one of the top plays in Allen Fieldhouse this season. Early in the game, with KU pushing in transition at every opportunity, Graham raced up the middle of the floor and attacked the paint. As he got past the free throw line, with a couple of nearby Mountaineers retreating, he wound up and lofted a perfect lob to a charging Lucas, who went up off of two feet and hammered home the lob.

• Defensive highlight: Early in the game, KU’s Frank Mason III chased down a rebound after a missed three-pointer by Graham. It would’ve been easy to let the ball go but Mason showed a lot of heart to chase it down and the hustle led to a bucket by Ellis. Later in the half, West Virginia threw it in to Devin Williams, who had great position but found trouble when he went to the rim. Ellis slammed the ball off the glass to not only block the shot, but also pick up foul No. 2 on Williams on the ensuing rebound.

• Key stat: KU won the battle on the boards 33-28, but did its real damage on the glass on the offensive end, where KU owned a 14-6 advantage. Lucas led the way for the Jayhawks with 4 offensive boards.

• Up next: After knocking West Virginia out of sole possession of the top spot in the Big 12 standings, KU will head to Norman, Oklahoma, this weekend, looking to knock the Sooners out of the top spot, as well. In a rematch of that thrilling, triple-overtime KU victory from earlier this season, KU and OU will tip-off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with ESPN’s College Gameday on hand. 

— 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


Allison Steen 6 years, 4 months ago


Did I do that right? How do I make my font bigger?

Bryce Landon 6 years, 4 months ago

You add a pound sign in front. But, for now, let's sweep that notion under the rug.

Jay Scott 6 years, 4 months ago

"The Big12 title is out of reach" - The Chicken Littles.

Allin Herring 6 years, 4 months ago

We would not be tied if our guards could have played defense in the Oklahoma Sate Game. Mr Mary Poppins.

Jay Scott 6 years, 4 months ago

Red! How are you? Searching for proof that the sky is falling as always....

Allin Herring 6 years, 4 months ago

Mary! No just checking your Mary Poppins comments

Jay Scott 6 years, 4 months ago

"No team can win with Landen Lucas at center" - The Chicken Littles

Sam Burns 6 years, 4 months ago

WOW. Where did that Landon Lucas come from? Where's he been all year? I've been against him playing all year long, but he was an animal tonight!!!! Great Job Landon. I take back half of what I said about you, lol. Do it all again Saturday

Scott Lippoldt 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm with you, Sam. If Landen had been playing at that level every game, I would have not had any questions as to why he was getting so many minutes and others were riding the bench. I hope that was not just a one-time thing, but rather just the beginning. That type of production from the 5 makes this team so much more dangerous!

Bob Thompson 6 years, 4 months ago

KU was awesome.... This is the first game this year that KU played 40 minutes of basketball. We can do it all if we keep playing like we did tonight.

Kit Duncan 6 years, 4 months ago

I yelled at the screen a couple times early in the game, when Landon got the ball down low and, instead of going up strong to the hoop, took a dribble then promptly got stuffed by three WVU defenders as he tried to go up for the shot. It seems Bill Self (or the other KU coaches) saw the same thing and finally got it through to him that in that position, Landon needs to catch the ball and go straight up for the shot, before any defenders can react. Those times that he did that, Lucas usually only had one defender he had to power through to the rim, instead of three or four. An added benefit to going straight to the rim was that Landon was fouled a few times when he beat his defender, even though the shot didn't go in.

Great game Landon, keep going up strong!

Timothy Rake 6 years, 4 months ago

Now will all the Landen Lucas detractors shut up? Probably not. Perhaps HCBS does know from time to time what the hell he's doing with his lineup. Bragg and Diallo are not ready to step up like that, not yet.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 4 months ago

Landen had a career night tonight. He's never going to be a go to guy and will always be the 5th scoring option when he's on the floor because he's just not a very gifted offensive player. He is a very good rebounder, solid defender, and sets good screens on offense. When he does those things well, KU is a better team. If any of those areas isn't on that game, he's next to worthless for KU. That's the reality of Landen Lucas. It's not anything personal against him, he's just not a high ceiling guy.

Landen is someone who would make a great coach one day with his understanding of the fundamentals of playing in the paint though.

Scott Lippoldt 6 years, 4 months ago

But Landen had not been ready to step up like that until last night... Maybe Bragg and Diallo also would/could if they got more playing time?

Jay Scott 6 years, 4 months ago

....or they had three years

Lucas has played consistently better than Diallo and Bragg all year.

Steve Zimmerman 6 years, 4 months ago

LAWRENCE = LOB CITY? Yes, we can claim it now, right? There's absolutely nothing to complain about this game. Well, except Mason needs to learn how to penetrate and lob or dish instead of getting squished. I call KU team's play tonight as the most entertaining game so far. High %FG, 3s, blocks, highlight dunks, high energy. Hence, high #TOs doesn't bother me. This team shows they are ready to play against extra aggressive team. The question remains are they ready to go against quicker, athletic AND aggressive teams? OU must be worried by now.

Let's go Hawks!

Doug Clark 6 years, 4 months ago

I doubt OU is worried, no offense, they are very experienced, they will be at home, and they gave us all we could handle at home and I don't think we could've played any better than we did and they were still there. Plus, Cousins was really struggling at that time but he's been playing really good lately. Texas totally outplayed OU almost the whole game but Buddy took over and unfortunately we don't have a player that can do that. We have to hope that they aren't on their A game like they weren't against Texas and I hope we are not content with winning in 3 ot and we come out ready to compete for 40 or however many minutes it takes.

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