Kansas solves WVU with second half defense
SHEPHERDSTOWN — In the last decade or so, beating Kansas in its Allen Fieldhouse, a place oozing with the history of Jayhawk successes, has been nearly impossible.
On Saturday, before a packed house of 16,300, the Jayhawks were struggling against West Virginia and its physical presence.
The sinewy Mountaineers had a six-point lead at the half.
But Kansas hasn’t let halftime deficits dictate to it. And neither have the continuous string of sellout crowds been dismayed by an opponent’s momentary gains.
Kansas rallied again. West Virginia was limited to just seven field goals in the second half, and a scant 23 points.
The twice-beaten and No. 5 ranked Jayhawks managed 36 points themselves and moved away to a 60-53 win in the Big 12 conference opener for both teams.
Even though it badly manhandled the Jayhawks on the boards (gaining a 44-30 advantage), the Mountaineers were done in by mediocre free throw shooting and a paltry 32% showing on shots from the field. West Virginia was only 12-for-22 from the foul line.
First-year player Oscar Tshiebwe scored 17 of West Virginia’s 30 first-half points. But Tshiebwe scored only two more points in the second half and his teammates never found the ways to be of much help. Freshman reserve guard Miles McBride damaged the Jayhawks with his 13 points, but scoring 23 points in a half of college basketball won’t often be rewarded with a win.
Kansas now owns the second-longest home court winning streak in the nation with 26 straight wins — second only to top-ranked Gonzaga that has won 31 consecutive games at home in Spokane.
West Virginia and the the Phog Allen Fieldhouse are not ingredients used to mix a magic elixir. The Mountaineers have eight recent losses in the Kansas cauldron.