Kansas defeats West Virginia, 84-80

  • 8 p.m., Feb. 13, 2017
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Comeback for the Ages: Jayhawks shock West Virginia with late rally, 84-80

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) gets fired up as the Jayhawks close in on the West Virginia lead during the second half, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) gets fired up as the Jayhawks close in on the West Virginia lead during the second half, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.


On a night when they set the Guinness World Record for loudest indoor arena, a handful of Kansas basketball fans began filing out of Allen Fieldhouse with a little less than 3:00 remaining.

Boy, were those folks sorry they left.

Despite trailing No. 9 West Virginia by 14 points with 2:58 remaining, third-ranked Kansas staged a comeback for the ages, using clutch shooting, suffocating defense and, of course, a little lift from the home crowd, to shock the Mountaineers, 84-80, in overtime.

“I still don’t know how we did it,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after the victory. “The fans deserve a ton of credit, those that stayed. We had a few that trickled out of here, but they missed a hell of a finish. It was a remarkable game.”

After a layup by WVU’s Tarik Phillip put the Mountaineers ahead 64-50 in a game in which nothing had gone KU’s way, the Jayhawks (23-3 overall, 11-2 Big 12) closed regulation on a 21-7 run and pushed that margin to 29-7 to build a 79-71 lead in overtime en route to the improbable comeback.

After struggling to make a shot for much of the second half — the Jayhawks hit just 8-of-25 shots from the floor in the second stanza and 34.4 percent for the game — guards Devonte’ Graham and Frank Mason III got hot down the stretch, combining for 17 points, including three 3-pointers, to pull Kansas back into the game.

All of the offensive heroics in the world would not have mattered, however, had it not been for KU’s nasty press that forced three West Virginia turnovers in the final two minutes and led directly to Kansas points.

The most notable WVU turnover came with 33.1 seconds remaining, when Josh Jackson and Landen Lucas trapped Phillip in the corner after an inbounds pass with KU trailing 71-69. After absorbing the trap and trying to look for help, Phillip rose above it, faded away and fired a pass across the court intended for WVU guard James Bolden. Bolden caught the ball over the out-stretched fingertips of Mason, but came down out of bounds when he did. That gave Kansas a chance to attack and Mason did just that, drawing a foul and tying the game at the free throw line.

From there, it was up to the Kansas defense to get the Jayhawks to overtime and Jackson’s challenge of a 23-foot 3-point attempt by Phillip forced a miss.

“I think it started on the defensive end,” said Mason of the comeback about which he was “still amazed” after the game. “We had to start getting stops and making them work really hard for each shot they take and I think we did a good job of that moving forward in the game.”

Added Self, still marveling about KU’s ability to turn the Mountaineers over so many times during the Kansas comeback: “If you ask the guys how often we work on the press, maybe a month ago. Something like that. We actually worked on trapping the other day, but not like that. The guys just stepped up and made plays.... It was a remarkable win. It was a toughness win and there certainly wasn’t much going right.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self discusses 84-80 comeback victory against West Virginia

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self talks about his team's 84-80, overtime victory over West Virginia. The Jayhawks trailed by 14 points with under three minutes to play.

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After crawling all the way back and forcing overtime, much like in the 2008 national championship game against Memphis, there was a feeling circulating throughout the fieldhouse that this game belonged to Kansas.

“We were down nine with 2:00 left then,” said Self of the title game. “But in that situation it seemed like everything went right down the stretch. In this situation, we had a lot of things not go right and the guys hung around.”

Added Jackson, who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season: “I wouldn’t say we had it won, but we definitely had the momentum, we definitely had a lot of energy.”

Kansas opened the five-minute overtime period with eight straight points to take commanding control of the game. Graham showed his hot hand was no short solution to KU’s problems, draining a three to open OT and then hitting another from behind the arc with the shot clock winding down and a Mountaineers player right in his face.

After that one, which put KU up 79-71, Graham raced back down the floor screaming and smiling.

The perfect cherry on top of KU’s comeback sundae came when WVU’s Nathan Adrian accidentally lost the ball out of bounds on an uncontested rebound after two free throw misses by Lucas with 13.8 seconds to play in OT and KU leading, 72-68.

KU turned the ball over immediately after the Adrian miscue and West Virginia (20-6, 8-5) crawled within two, threatening to pull off an improbable comeback of its own. But two free throws from Mason put the game on ice. It was officially over when Mason grabbed a WVU 3-point miss and fired the ball down to the other end as time expired.

As Mason walked off the Allen Fieldhouse floor after an on-camera interview with ESPN, he pointed to the fans who packed the bleachers waiting to send him out with a roar.

That was about the extent of KU’s celebration following this one.

“Sometimes when we win a big game, guys will get up and dance and everything,” Self began. “(Tonight), everybody sat there and was totally exhausted and nobody got up out of their chair and we were just very thankful. There was no jubilation outwardly because I think everybody’s exhausted.”

By the Numbers: Kansas 84, West Virginia 80

By the Numbers: Kansas 84, West Virginia 80

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

More news and notes from Kansas vs. West Virginia


Priest Fontaine 5 years, 7 months ago

can we put 'wanted posters' up for the fans that left early? Who does that at Allen Fieldhouse? That should be illegal.

RJ King 5 years, 7 months ago

I think you misplaced your air quotes. It would be more accurate to say, 'fans.'

I tivoed the game and was 10 minutes behind. My cell was blowing up and I thought for sure we had lost. But I ignored it and kept watching, albeit with a few expletives here and there. Then lo and behold . . . the sun broke through the clouds.

Those fair-weather fauxhawks will be enshrined in the Dickie V. HALL OF SHAME.

Bob Zielinski 5 years, 7 months ago

Are the crazies from Black Lives Matter LFK still around? If so, many of the fans who left early are quite recognizable. Maybe BLM LFK's crew of warriors can harass the fans who left early so the fans get the message and BLM LFK can do something worthwhile and productive. I'm thinking the woman in the well bedazzled jeans seen walking away is a good person to start with.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 7 months ago

A really dumb post from a really dumb person.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 7 months ago

Happy Valentines Day from the Jayhawks to all of us fans. I missed the game, watched it on tape, knew before hand how we had won and was still exhausted after watching it.

Watching us shoot free throws kept giving me horrific flashbacks to the 2003 Syracuse game, but the Hawks battled through although the refs did us no favors.

My answer to Priest above is that those fans who left early should be ID'd and banned from Allen forever!! In my five years at Kansas, to leave a game early was a felony punishable by having to spend a weekend in Columbia, Missouri. {The UN has since declared that a crime against humanity and banned that practice].

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 7 months ago

Ring ...... Ring.......Ring...........( Bob Huggins answers cell phone ) ..............."Yeah Coach Huggins here !!!!!! " ( West Virginia A.D, on the other end )..................."AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..........Bob aboutt that bonus check I gave you with 4 minutes left..............CLICK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( Bob hangs up )

Steve Macy 5 years, 7 months ago

Somebody with more computer skills than me, that would be everyone, needs to make a meme of that guy teasing the insurance customer with a dollar on the end of the fishing line, put Coach Huggins in it with his check. RCJH, another gray hair or two.

John Fitzgerald 5 years, 7 months ago

I literally spit tea all over my monitor while reading this. Perfect. Lol

RJ King 5 years, 7 months ago

awesome Nick. Saved me the trouble. Perfect!

Sam Burns 5 years, 7 months ago

Someone needs to make T-Shirts with this and sell them at the tournament!

Humpy Helsel 5 years, 7 months ago

There will be 100,000+ claim they were there and zero will admit they were among those that left early.

Martin Rosenblum 5 years, 7 months ago

Just go ahead and give Bill the damn Big 12 trophy now!

We provided Texas Tech the confidence to beat Baylor after last Saturday. They should start the next game with Baylor at the point in the game with about 3 minutes left and the score tied and just go from there. We're obviously better in that situation these days.

Mike Kendall 5 years, 7 months ago

Those poor fans that left early and then came back to see the end at the exits, not in their seats--ha, ha--got put on National TV with their faces red like a beet-then, getting one hella of tongue lashing from Dickie V---you deserve that tongue lashing fair weather fans. If I was there in person, there would no way in hell I would be leaving early--hallowed ground baby!! Congrats to the Jayhawks for a win for the ages!!

Tom Jones 5 years, 7 months ago

Reminded me of the 2008 title game in terms of how far they came back, but in that game it seemed like we got every break. This one we still had a bunch of things go wrong (including them being able to make some free throws and that charge on Svi). Just crazy.

Freddie Garza 5 years, 7 months ago

Might as well take the Big XII Championship trophy to Waco. If KU wins there, it's over.

Ryan Zimmerman 5 years, 7 months ago

I love Self's support of the team in the post game press conference. Really giving the guys props and compliments about how hard they work and how they responded.

Mike Johns 5 years, 7 months ago

Huggins seemed really fixated on the foul calls... I am biased but I thought the ref's let a great deal of contact go on the WVU defense.

Mike Greer 5 years, 7 months ago

They always do, if they didn't the opposing team would never get a field goal, they'd spend the night at the stripe. The number of fouls called on WVU was only a couple more than on KU and I thought some of those were suspect.

David Black 5 years, 7 months ago

I loved the sign that said Hall of Fame coaches wear funny. Rock Chalk

RJ King 5 years, 7 months ago

I missed that one. Our students are particularly clever when it comes to signs. I so wish we had done that when I was a student. But then, alas . . . pretty sure radio and TV had not even been invented yet.

Mike Greer 5 years, 7 months ago

RJ, they had probably been invented, but the TV coverage was rather sparse, what did we get, one or two college games a week on TV? Chances of someone seeing your sign would have been mighty slim.

I do remember seeing that one, near the end of the game, it was funny because right after the sign they showed Huggins.

RJ King 5 years, 7 months ago

ha ha. True. It was 1976. Still, you could not have a conversation with the person standing next to you in Allen. Thankfully some things never change.

Duke Christoffersen 5 years, 7 months ago

Agree with all that say fans who left early should be banned from Allen. Blasphemous. You don't leave church in the middle of the sermon.

Ten Yeahs 5 years, 7 months ago

Unbelievalby crazy awesome win last night.

Just curious, did anyone else notice the near foul Mitch made at the very end of the game? Up 4, as a player you don't even go near them or give the refs a chance to call a foul. And one 3s are rare, but they do happen.

It was a close call, and could've actually been a foul. On the TV, you could see Huggybear's visible disgust on a lack of foul call. I wonder if Coach said anything to Mitch post game about it.

Great win nonetheless. One for the Ages indeed! So many great close games this season. RCJGKU!

RJ King 5 years, 7 months ago

yes, Mitch was too close for comfort. I thought the reffing was decent considering WVU mutant style of play. Perhaps it was a make-up call for Jackson's foul as the wvu guard dribbled in reverse.

Or maybe they just didn't want to watch the walk-ons battle it out in a 2OT.

Mike Riches 5 years, 7 months ago

Huggins post game complaining had a familiar ring to it. Here are some interesting similarities between last night's game and the game against WVU two years ago in AFH, when we had another come from behind, overtime win (though not as dramatic as last night) -

2015 WVU: 28 FT KU: 43 FT WVU: 22 TO KU: 16 TO

2017 WVU: 29 FT KU: 44 FT WVU: 21 TO KU: 15 TO

As his name to the long list of coaches who can't stand the Phog! Incredible win Jayhawks!

Clara Westphal 5 years, 7 months ago

The 'fans' who left early had given up. Fortunately, the team hadn't. Great win, guys. Thank you.

Michael Brady 5 years, 7 months ago

One more close call like that and I'm putting 911 on speed dial.

Jim Keen 5 years, 7 months ago

I watched the game from my hospital bed at Johns Hopkins a couples hours after receiving a Heart Pacemaker. (I had a plane ticket and game ticket but had to cancel at the last minute.) My wife was in the room with me and was watching my heart rate on the monitor. She said it spiked pretty well during those closing minutes! Wow... what a game. Love those guys!

Martin Rosenblum 5 years, 7 months ago

What a fan! Hope you do well with the ticker machine. Make sure your wife is with you for the rest of the games this season.

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