Daxter Miles laments the vanishing lead: ‘I thought we had this one’

LAWRENCE, Kan. — After Daxter Miles sank five 3-pointers, which was five more than Kansas sank as a team, he couldn’t immediately grasp how West Virginia coughed up a prized upset at Allen Fieldhouse.

“Yes, I thought we had this one,” Miles said. “But you can’t fall asleep. Once you have them down you have to put for foot on their necks.”

The No. 20 Mountaineers, up 18 late in the first half and still leading by eight points inside the final 2 minutes of regulation, were dragged into overtime, where No. 9 Kansas finished off an improbable 76-69 victory.

Though the Mountaineers gained respect, Miles said they were disappointed by “stupid turnovers” that fueled Kansas’ second-half comeback.

“We got comfortable with the lead instead of extending it,” Miles said. “They played harder than us at the end.”

West Virginia finished with a season-worst 22 turnovers.

Foul disparity: After the Twitterverse filled with West Virginia fans criticizing the officiating, what was Bob Huggins’ take on being charged with 31 fouls to KU’s 23?

“When you’re standing where I’m standing, you start thinking things aren’t quite equitable,” he said. “That’s as nice as I can say it.”

While West Virginia attempted 28 free throws compared to the Jayhawks’ 43, Huggins admitted his team wasn’t always aggressive enough to create trips to foul line.

“They really took it to the basket and we didn’t,” he said. “We settled for jump shots.”

Graham surprised by Phillip’s foul: The Kansas planned to run at the close of regulation down 59-57? It’s called “Chop” and was designed for Devonte Graham to hand the ball to point guard Frank Mason on a tight curl.

The combination of Kansas being ice-cold from the perimeter and Mason repeatedly penetrating left Graham expecting WVU’s defense to slump off. Instead, Tarik Phillip played aggressive man-to-man and snagged Graham’s arm on the exchange. The Kansas freshman hit both free throws with 11.3 seconds left, improving to 26-of-31 this season inside the final 5 minutes.

“I thought they were going to fall back into their zone, but they played man,” said Graham. “I’m glad they did.”

Carter cools: Jevon Carter, after blistering Baylor for 25 points in his previous game, finished 0-of-10 from the floor and 0-of-6 on 3-pointers. His most noteworthy miss came on a pull-up 3 at the end of regulation, just seconds after Graham’s free throws tied it.

Self celebrating: Given the circumstances, Bill Self said Tuesday’s comeback made it his best win at The Phog. That’s saying something considering the Jayhawks are 190-9 at home in his 12 seasons as coach.

“It was a great win, but I didn’t say it was the most fun,” Self said. “It sucked for the first 30 minutes.”

The opening 20 minutes were particularly galling as West Virginia sped out to a 40-24 lead while owning the glass 26-11.

“It was a joke how poorly we were playing,” Self said.

Play of the game: Kansas pulled ahead for good at the 3:02 mark in overtime when Wayne Seldon leaped for a sideline outlet pass and, in midair, fed Jamari Traylor for a dunk.

With Cliff Alexander held out for an eligibility probe and Perry Ellis missing the second half with a knee sprain, Traylor scored a season-high 14 points—after averaging 4.7 entering the game—and also grabbed nine rebounds.

“I don’t know how we did it, but we did,” Traylor said.

3-point slump: Kansas finished 0-of-15 on 3s, the first time it has been shutout in 29 games and only the fifth time it has happened in 15 seasons.


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