Kansas escapes West Virginia as their quest for 14 straight continues

Doug Mendoza
February 19, 2018

CINCINNATI - Mikal Bridges led an early three-point shooting spurt that put Villanova in control, and the third-ranked Wildcats showed they're not ready to relinquish their reign in the Big East, beating No. 4 Xavier in a showdown for the league lead.

It was a tough way for coach Bob Huggins's squad to lose, especially since West Virginia didn't get any help from the referees.

The Jayhawks' 14-point advantage inside marked the first time in Big 12 play they enjoyed a double-digit margin in the category.

Even before the Jayhawks got to pad their free throw numbers in the final seconds thanks to Huggins' technicals, they made their trips to the foul line count late in the game. "I've never been in a game where the disparity was 35-2".

WVU remains winless at the Phogg Allen Fieldhouse, falling to 0-6 in the building.

Manning poured in 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field along with three 3-pointers. All the scoring doesn't matter when you lose. And you know what happened?

The #20 West Virginia Mountaineers (19-7 8-5) head to Lawrence in a huge Big XII matchup against the #13 Kansas Jayhawks (20-6 9-4).

Azubuike also connected on 7 of 8 shots from the field.

Azubuike and his West Virginia counterpart Sagaba Konate banged and tangled much of the night, their thick bodies thudding the court after collisions. He led the Mountaineers with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

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Devonte' Graham, in 40 minutes of action, added 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Lagerald Vick chipped in 13 points and five rebounds and Malik Newman added 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block and two steals in 31 minutes of action.

The Kansas defense deserved some credit. A 12-5 WVU spurt, which included back-to-back 3-pointers from Daxter Miles Jr., and Carter saw the visitors jump out to its largest lead of the first half at 30-24 with five minutes before the intermission.

Miles went 6-for-9 from 3-point range and netted 22 points to pace the Mountaineers, while Carter added 15 points and also had seven assists and six rebounds.

A 14-point comeback in the final three minutes it was not.

"We started closing out hard", Garrett said.

Said Huggins about the postgame message he gave his players: "It's not their fault". Pardee's bucket was just the Mountaineer's second 3-point make since halftime. Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger instructed his team to foul the poor free throw shooter if he touched the ball.

The Jayhawks got a stop on WVU's ensuing possession and Azubuike came down the floor and muscled his way to another dunk to pull KU within three points, 66-63.

Dok 's free throws were among the biggest highlights of the night.

The "Press Virginia" has West Virginia lead the Big 12 turnovers forced at 17.8, which is third nationally, and turnover margin at plus-6.1, which is second nationally.

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