Jayhawks win in Morgantown

The Jayhawks are still winning ugly in Big 12 play

By Nathan Fordyce

bballMonday night’s match-up marked the first time in history that the Kansas Jayhawks and the West Virginia Mountaineers faced off on the hardwood.

On paper, the first match-up didn’t look like a fair one. Kansas came in with the nation’s longest winning streak (17) and WVU had struggled thus far in its first season of the Big 12 (2-4 in league play).

Kansas jumped out to a 22-9 lead and seemed to be on cruise control as the defense and offense had it going. But then a bizarre thing occurred. They play more than ten minutes of basketball.

WVU showed fight for the first time this year as they clawed and scratched their way back into the game and forcing the Jayhawks into turnovers left and right, especially through the second half.

Kansas struggled from the floor in the second half as they went just 8-of-15 and allowed the Mountaineers to see the light. But it just wasn’t meant to be.

Kansas senior guard Travis Releford led the way and helped the Jayhawks hold onto a 61-56 victory. In the rough second half, Releford went 3-of-4 (7-of-9 for the game) for seven points.

For the game, senior center Jeff Withey added 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks to help the Jayhawks control the paint on both the offensive side and defensive side of the floor.

Freshman guard Ben McLemore didn’t have the same showing that the Jayhawk nation had been accustomed to as he struggled with early fouls but still managed to get 13 points for the game with a majority of those points coming from the line (6-of-8 from the free throw line).

The No.2 ranked team in the nation found another way to win ugly for the sixth straight game. Over that stretch, the Jayhawks are averaging a staggering-low 62 points per game.

Good teams find ways to win ugly and thus far the Jayhawks have done that. In that six-game stretch, the Jayhawks have held opponents to 52.3 points per game.

Despite the ugly showing, the Jayhawks improved to 19-1, 7-0 on the season. The 7-0 mark in the Big 12 is the second straight year the Jayhawks have accomplished that feat.

The next game for the Jayhawks will be Saturday, February 2 against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Allen Fieldhouse.