LAWRENCE, Kan. — While Andrew Wiggins dunked, spun and glided his way to 19 points, the freshman’s defense on West Virginia’s Eron Harris ultimately proved just as valuable to No. 8 Kansas.

After Harris made three consecutive 3-pointers to put the Mountaineers ahead early, Wiggins tightened up and held the WVU guard without a basket for the game’s final 31 minutes. That essentially nipped any notion of an upset, and the resulting 83-69 victory gave Kansas a two-game lead in the Big 12 standings.

“After he hit those three 3s, I had to guard him closer and be more aggressive,” said the 6-foot-8 Wiggins, who’s five-inch advantage helped close out the perimeter looks by Harris. “I tried to turn him into a driver instead of a shooter.”

Harris still managed 17 points—scoring his final eight points at the foul line—but missed his last six shots from the floor as West Virginia 14-10, 6-5) went cold from 3-point range and saw its three-game winning streak clipped.

“Wiggins did a great job,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “It crippled us today because Terry (Henderson) didn’t do what he typically does, and Remi (Dibo) didn’t make any. It was hard to score.”

Entering as the second-best 3-point team in the Big 12, WVU made only 26 percent (6-of-23). Dibo sank his first 3 only to finish 1-of-7, and Henderson was 0-of-2, part of a putrid two-point, three-turnover performance.

“We just had some guys that didn’t play very well today, but that happens sometimes,” Huggins said.

And when that happens at Allen Fieldhouse, visiting teams typically get blown out. West Virginia sought to buck that trend—backed by Juwan Staten’s 22-point game and trailing only 69-65 entering the final five minutes.

Yet the upset bid crumbled as Kansas scored seven unanswered points and WVU did not register another basket.

The Mountaineers shot 40 recent overall, compared to 55 percent by Kansas, which saw its other talented freshmen contribute in key situations. Guard Wayne Selden Jr. produced 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and 7-footer Joel Embiid overcame a scoreless opening half to close with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

As Kansas stretched its late-game lead to double-digits, Harris said “It seemed like there was nothing we could do about it. They were on a roll.” But he also pointed to a rematch at the WVU Coliseum on March 8 in the regular-season finale.

“We are confident we can get them at home,” he said.

Huggins, distilling positives from a game that was close late, seemed to agree. He left he postgame locker room and said: “I just told them in there, ‘We’re going to win in Morgantown. When they come back to Morgantown, we’re going to win.’”

FOUL WOES
The foul disparity was only 26-24, but West Virginia saw two big men foul out—Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins—and three other forwards closed the game with four fouls.

“(The officials) called stuffed today that they haven’t called all year in the post,” Huggins said. “And we did, we had our hands on them and technically that is a foul. … But you just run out of people.”

BIG BENCH
Kansas essentially played a nine-man rotation, same as West Virginia. But the reserve trio of Tarik Black (11 points), Frank Mason (five points, five assists) and Jamari Traylor (seven points) combined to make 8-of-10 shots and were particularly effective in the first half, when the lead changed hands five times before KU pulled ahead 43-36.

RIM PROTECTORS
Kansas blocked six shots—three by Embiid—and enjoyed a 46-18 scoring edge in the paint.

“They’ve got such great athleticism,” Huggins said. “They’re so long and so athletic, it’s hard to get things at the rim.”


bubble graphic

52

bubble graphic

Comments

  • Aaron

    Of the 2010 recruits, there was 3, not 4. one was declared medically ineligible and one couldn't pass entrance requirements. It seemed that even though he spoke multiple languages, he was not fluent in English and it hurt him. After 2 years at Mountain State and national championships, he is now at Cincinnati.

    The class of 2011 saw some kids transfer out of their own accord and some, although no public statement was made, if one believes rumors are not back at the request of the school. In reality only they and the administration truly know why.

    It happens more so now than ever given the limited amount of time schools and coaches can contact recruits. Couple that with the influence AAU is having on the game and it's harder and harder to recruit.

    Despite that, Huggins has consistently recruited high level talent to Morgantown. You would have to have a basketball IQ below 17 to not understand that.

  • mad hatter

    RECRUITING

    let's see, final four 2009-10

    2010,,, saw 1 of 4 staying around,,
    2011 saw 2 0f 8 staying around
    2012 saw 2 of 2 staying around.

    these two dead yrs killed our program,, or heavily set it back
    2010 and 2011,,, now who was incharge of recruitment? who was asleep at the wheel?

    we are now paying the price for ill advised recruiting. as bill stewart used to say, and i was no great fan by a long shot of billy,,, but, he wanted recruits with character not characters.....
    it seems huggie and his assistants were asleep at the wheel

  • Ike

    The only thing this team is missing is consistent production in the paint, both offensively and defensively. Any time we have production in the paint, we win. When we don't, sometimes the guards may carry us to a win. More times than not, it turns into a loss. I really like the heart of this team though. They do not give up. Keep up the good effort and please get a true big.

  • Bross

    If we wanted to watch the KU highlights we would have went to a KU site. Obvious example of WV Radio's bias against WVU. It is so obvious that you are trying to portray WVU in a negative light. Guess I will stick to WV Illustrated.

  • mad hatter

    everyone on here says we need a bigs, we have some little bigs but they play like non existant little bigs...
    to solve this problem , next yr huggie recruits a pg and a sg,,, they are considered little , little bigs though several times gary browne out rebounds adrian, dibo, and staten does the same,,, so, what about our bigs,,, well they have little bigs , mentality.
    so huggie tells us we would be undefeated if holton and macon were playing... we don't know that but it sounds like a good alibi for now...
    so we drink the kool aid, get on these boards and talk like seasoned coaches and soothe our egos knowing that sat. we got out coached , out played by a team that was bigger ,stronger, taller, quicker,and better than we were, but let's not accept that ,let's us some alibi's to make it feel better.

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Terry Henderson has the skills to step up and help out a lot more consistently. He has to mentally get himself right. Willaims move to the basket on offense is all to slow. Got to go quick and usually don't need the pump fake. Finger roll allows you to quickly put your body between the ball and the defender. Got to learn it and use it often. Watkins also a little slow and on defense if you don't block the shot you've sacrificed your position for rebounding. If you're fast you should be able to do both. Your Uncle Warren Baker could do both. Watkins & Willaims have great potential.

    • mad hatter

      well said shawn

      • mad hatter

        i really think if someone takes an big interest in the development of watkins that he can develop into a player that would have dennis rodman abilities..Now he himself , has to have the drive, and willingness to put forth the effort, but i see potential written all over him..

        just look at the huge gains staten made from last yr, and by his own admittance ,it was his mental attitude that changed,,, so Brandon, the ball is in your court..

  • Dave

    I can't believe the number of people on here commenting with no basketball knowledge. Haters and bandwagon fans no doubt. I wonder how many of these same people would comment if their real name and photo would accompany their comment?

    Proud of the Mountaineers for playing Kansas tough. Was in the game up until that 3 point dagger and our bigs fouled out. Our team received a lot of well deserved praise and respect from the Kansas fans on the ESPN board. Before the game though it was a lot of disrespect and "There's no way West Virginia can play with us" type comments.

    • 4WVUinKY

      Dave...I'm with you my brother...with one slight difference...I can believe the number of people who come on a WVU fan posting site and spew forth the absolutely stupidest comments in the history of web postings. It's called ignorance. My approach is, and I encourage everyone to do the same, to ignore them. They're like the idiot at the KS/TT game, they just want to trash talk young men who are doing what they themselves could never do and bully people from a distance, i.e. show their lack of character and lack of grammar skills in cyber space. The more people respond to their stupidity, the more you egg them on. All of us who are true, and I mean thick and thin, I'll carry you on my shoulders if I have to, loyal WVU fans understand what I'm saying.

      Also agree with you...I for one am very proud of this team. These young men are out their giving everything they've got and they deserve our respect for playing at a level that 99.99% of us have never nor will ever see in our lives. I firmly believe this group of young men are going to be one of the best that has ever worn the Gold & Blue.

      It's an absolutely awesome day to be a true Mountaineer fan...once, always, wherever.

      • Dave

        You don't even have to mention their name and they know who they are and they come crawling out.

      • mad hatter

        dave, or should i say huggie bear

  • Herder

    The players did an outstanding job in probably one of the most non-friendly arenas in the country. I applaud the team and the coaching!

    • mad hatter

      it's good to pull some positives from the game, but let's be realistic

  • jay zoom

    crying about the officials..huggins is good at that. plan to send him BOX OF TISSUES the clown that said duke did not make the tournament last year must of been talking about the "Duke of Windsor" this team still has a long way to go 3 players do not win ball games the same will hold true Monday. its a shame but the truth (down the tubes again) ''THANKS OLLIE" .

  • Tim C

    Our bigs need to quit these ticky tack fouls. Our rotations were thrown off by all of those " questionable fouls" in the first half. I am proud of how the team battled and fought hard until the very end. The NCAA needs to revisit the way fouls are called, this has become a joke. I don't how many times I saw Kansas bigs over our guys back with nothing called. Officiating games in the NCAA has become a joke. Anyway, keep plugging guys, you are starting to come together and the rewards will soon manifest themselves.

    • Aaron

      When someone is going by you or posting you up, you put your hands them. That's how everyone plays defense. These kids have been doing that since they picked up a basketball. They're not going to stop overnight, particularly when officials call they game as inconsistently as they do.

      • Aaron

        Am I wrong young hatter? If so, point out my flaws. Or is moronic tripe the only response you are capable of?

      • mad hatter

        like you've coached for thiry yrs... get a life

        • Aaron

          I'll await your response point out where I am incorrect.

  • Curly Joe

    As we get deeper into the season, I continue to be pleasantly amazed at the maturity and improvement of this team. I haven't seen such intelligent ball movement by a WVU team EVER that compares with these guys. Bigger, stronger KU knows they were in a game that could have gone either way until the last 2 minutes. Take cheap shots at Coach all night long, but he's the man making this young team believe in themselves....and it shows.

    • mad hatter

      drink that kool aid

    • 4WVUinKY

      Agree. Anyone who has a passion for and studies the game of basketball can see the year-over-year improvement in this team. Can't wait to get KU in our house...mark it down, upset coming!

      It's an absolutely awesome day to be a Mountaineer...once, always, wherever!

  • Tommy gone 12

    It will be a different team when we have a legitimate inside game and anybody who knows anything about the college game can see it. We have two guards that've are among the top 3 in the league scoring! Two . I repeat two! Higher than Marcu Smart the so called 1st team all American.. Simplly put the game changed with Wiggins on Harris. With a strong 4 and or a 5 wiggins isn't guarding Harris and things are doifferent! there are two guys on the bench who can't get on the floor this year that are really really good. We WILL SEE IT IN 2105.

    And check Kansas winning pct at home. WVU made a game of it without an inside presence. Who didn't like what WVU did to K STATE after losing to them on the road. We get them at our place at the end of the year. Who knows?

    • Aaron

      I was listening to Tony Caridi on the radio when Harris hit the three 3's and I told my son that whoever was guarding him would tighten their defense up. By the time we got to BWW's, Wiggins was no longer cutting under screens and was in Harris' face anytime he got near the ball.

      Wiggins is be credited but that that's to be expected from a generational player like him. He's the type of player that doesn't come around very often. I hope he enjoys his time in Kansas. Perhaps if the dust settles in the lottery, WV fans can drive to Cleveland and see him play along side Kyrie Irving.

      • Aaron

        Summa cum laude with degrees in Accounting and Business Management, currently working on my 3rd and 4th degrees.

        Do you feel better knowing that?

      • mad hatter

        while , did you graduate magna cum laude for logan high school

  • mad hatter

    this team is just this much from being very very good,,,let me repeat myself,,, very good. right huggie bear?

    • Jim Moltzer

      From your comments, you don't know a thing about basketball. I am 60 yrs old and can beat you in this game ... any time ... any where! I am so proud of this team and the makeup of them!

      This team is getting better and better! I hope that we have the energy for Monday Night game with Iowa State. It's important to have the home court in the Big 12. Note that all the Big 12 home teams won on Saturday.

      For the "mad hatter", you can shove your comments to where the sun does not shine. I am a Mountaineer and I bleed "Blue and Gold"!
      And I don't hide behind my name!


      Let's GOOOOOOOO MOUNTAINEEEEEEER!

    • Leroy j gibbs

      Don't go away mad. ....Just go away! !

  • Aaron

    While average mind will say this team is mediocre, those who know the game realize that these Mountaineers are anything but. To be out-rebounded, out-shot and outscored in the paint by 28 while losing 12-15 points from behind the line that they normally have and still keep the game close says a great deal about this team.

    All you have to do to see where this team is going is look at the current top 10. While a few of the teams are led by Freshmen, the majority are led by returning players and upperclassmen.

    Naysayers will say the game has passed the HOF Coach by and he can no longer recruit but very few in the college basketball world agree. They know that if there is a school out there that can end Kansas' reign atop the Big 12, it could very easily be West Virginia.

    It's a great time to be a true Mountaineer.

    Let's go...

    • Aaron

      Mr. Hatter, I would love to debate you on the subject of WVU basketball and Coach Huggins but I think it prudent that I heed the advice of Mark Twain and simply state, that it must be sad to be so angry with no outlet.

      About the only question I can ask you is, does your brother or cousin support Texas Tech?

      • Aaron

        Coach Huggins has consistently brought in 4 star recruits. To state he cannot recruit is a fallacy. Why do those making such statements continue with their far to often repeated lie?

      • mad hatter

        everyone talks about huggie's past record,,, no doubt he's won tons of games, how many national championships?
        what is the trend, where are we headed, people talk as though huggie inherited this mess,, the fact is, he made it and continues to do it,,, ex, macon and holton.
        we don't have any inside force cause huggie recruited players that would not be eligible ..
        as per huggie, we have the best practice facility in the nation, and we can't recruit,,,wonder why....it isn't morgantown,, how in the world does kansas get players to come there, or iowa st, or okla st.? kansas st. come on,,, huggie has a reputation and he's just not very good at evaluating talent or maybe his assist.s aren't,,, either way or for whatever reason, no 5 stars are knocking the door down to practice in huggie's polka barn..
        get real people, demand better things for wvu and it will happen.

    • mad hatter

      well said coach huggins... drink that kool aid,,, preserve your job,..LOL

      • Leroy j gibbs

        Don't go away mad just go away!

  • pghmountaineer

    If there is one thing that really bugs me lately, it's that our bigs get called for a lot of fouls. It's amazing how many fouls they had in the first half. It appears that they are just a step slower and resort to fouling because they can't keep up defensively. At least that's the way I see it.