WVU falls to KU in overtime

After being in control for the majority of the game Tuesday night, No. 20 West Virginia slowly saw its lead slip away as No. 9 Kansas clawed back to win 76-69 in overtime.

The win gave Kansas its the outright Big 12 Conference title, marking the 11th regular season crown KU has won under Bill Self.

WVU led by as many as 18 points in the second half, before Kansas began making its move. With a little more than eight minutes to play, the Jayhawks had cut the Mountaineer lead to six points and were beginning to swing the momentum in their direction. In the final 13 minutes of the game - including the last eight minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime - KU did not turn the ball over once. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers committed five crucial turnovers en route to their most in a game since 2010 and made just four of their final 16 shots from the field (3-for-11 from 3-point range).

"We did a great job keeping balls alive and we made some second-chance opportunities. It's amazing to be where we were when you don't have your two senior guards," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "And we still could've, should've, won the game. You look back at some dumb things we did, some missed free throws, some calls that certainly didn't go our way and there are a lot of things that added up to us having it."

After leading by eight with less than two minutes to play, West Virginia missed three of its five free throw attempts as the Jayhawks stormed back and sent it to the extra period after a hectic series of possessions. Devonte' Graham made two free throws with 11 seconds to play to tie the game before freshman Jevon Carter brought the ball up the floor as the clock was winding down and fired a three from the top of the key with five seconds to play. After a Carter miss and a miss on the putback by Nate Adrian sent the game into OT, the Jayhawks took over - controlling the game and the momentum before hitting all six of the free throws they took in the final two minutes to leave Allen Fieldhouse with the victory.

"We missed free throws. I put Dax in a position I shouldn't have had him in and he threw the ball away and they got it underneath the basket. That's on me, I accept the responsibility for that," Huggins said. "We're going to lose when the other team shoots 43 free throws. That's the way it is."

The Mountaineers started the game hot, using a quick 13-0 run to jump out to a 17-6 lead and seize control of the game early, despite being without the services of senior guards Juwan Staten and Gary Browne. In their absence it was Daxter Miles who stepped up and scored the ball consistently for West Virginia. The freshman poured in 13 points in the game's opening half to help set the tone as WVU appeared to be in great position to steal another win away from the Jayhawks with a 40-26 lead at the half.

Tarik Phillip and Jonathan Holton also ended the game in double figures for the Mountaineers. Phillip had a career-high 13 points while Holton finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards (including five offensive rebounds). Carter, who had 25 points against Baylor a few days ago, struggled to get the same offensive momentum going against Kansas Tuesday. The freshman finished with just four points and missed all 10 of the shots he attempted from the field.

Point guard Frank Mason led four Jayhawks in double figures, scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds to go with three assists.


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