KU's late surge lifts Jayhawks over West Virginia 71-66
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Kansas' reserves were struggling to produce and time was running down, so Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte Graham went to work.
Mykhailiuk and Graham hit big shot after big shot down the stretch to bring No. 10 Kansas back from 16 points down in the first half, and the Jayhawks held off No. 6 West Virginia 71-66 on Monday night.
"Yeah, that's crazy," Graham said. "We're seniors. We're vets. We know what it takes to win in that situation. Just being aggressive, believing in our shot, trying to get to the line."
Mykhailiuk and Graham combined for 26 points in the second half, including 20 of the Jayhawks' final 26 points.
"It was impressive watching them out there," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "They wanted it bad."
Mykhailiuk finished with 17 points and Graham had 16. Udoka Azubuike added 10 for the Jayhawks (15-3, 5-1 Big 12).
The Mountaineers (15-3, 4-2) have lost two straight for the first time this season after rising to the No. 2 ranking a week ago, their highest since December 1959. In both games, West Virginia couldn't hold onto double-digit leads.
"We probably weren't very comfortable being No. 2 in the country," Huggins said.
Sagaba Konate had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots for West Virginia. But he didn't score over the final seven minutes. Esa Ahmad added 15 points and Jevon Carter scored 14.
Kansas whittled away at its big deficit by going to the rim. A 15-3 run gave the Jayhawks their first lead since early in the game, capped by two free throws by Mykhailiuk for a 61-60 lead with 3:49 left. He put the Jayhawks ahead to stay, 65-64, with two more free throws with 1:42 left.
"If we go down, we're going to go down attacking," Self said.
Daxter Miles scored off a missed free throw with a minute left to pull West Virginia to 67-66, but the Mountaineers didn't score again.
"We don't finish the job, that's what disappoints me most," Huggins said.
Kansas: The Jayhawks have won four straight and broke a four-game losing streak in Morgantown. Still, Self refused to make anything out of breaking the drought on West Virginia's home court.
"It's hard to win games and it'll be just as hard to win at our place against them later on than it was tonight," he said.
Graham felt differently about finally winning at West Virginia.
"It means a lot. (I) can't even describe it," he said.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers were determined to turn this one into a track meet, but it was West Virginia, not Kansas' thin lineup, that appeared to wear down.
"They just out-toughed us," Huggins said. "They just wanted it more than we do. We had guys open. We just don't pass the ball."
Self and Huggins looked like twins on the sidelines in the same black pullover. Normally a suit-and-tie kind of guy, Self dressed in Huggins' style after the West Virginia coach gave him a present.
"You should be able to have a little fun coaching and I know Huggs does," Self said. "I have a good relationship with him and we always give each other a hard time. I guess I may have told him `if you get me something to wear, I'll wear it' and sure enough he made me look like I was a NASCAR driver by getting me something."
Graham said Self told the team in the locker room before the game, "Don't laugh at me, but this is what I'm wearing."
COURT STORMING AFTERMATH
West Virginia forward Wes Harris started his 18th straight game after being reprimanded by the Big 12 earlier Monday for hitting a fan who joined thousands of others in storming the court Saturday in Lubbock, Texas, during a celebration of No. 8 Texas Tech's 72-71 win over the Mountaineers. Harris scored four points on 1-of-4 shooting Monday.
Kansas: Hosts Baylor on Saturday.
West Virginia: Hosts Texas on Saturday.