Shooting woes and inside play hurt West Virginia in 71-58 loss to No. 6 Kansas | WVU Men’s Basketball

The West Virginia men’s basketball team hosted the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks at the WVU Coliseum on Saturday but were unable to pull off a win in the streak, losing 71-58.

The Jayhawks (22-4, 11-2 Big 12) dominated in the paint and on the field Saturday, lifting them to victory. Kansas outshot the Mountaineers 49-32 and also turned the ball over 15 times to West Virginia’s just five (14-12, 3-10 Big 12).

Kansas also shot much better from the field, shooting 25 of 52 (48%) to West Virginia’s 19 of 68 (28%) which ended up being the deciding factor in the streak.

Both teams started slow at first, with turnovers from each team to start the game in front of a noisy Morgantown atmosphere. Guard Taz Sherman quickly broke the tie with a strong layup. Kansas started early 4 of 4 from the field, taking an early 9-6 advantage over the Mountaineers.

Guard Sean McNeil tied the game with a three-pointer, but a goal drought hurt the Mountaineers midway through the first half. West Virginia in the first 10 minutes was 4 of 18 (22%) from the field, allowing Kansas to take the lead at 11.

Sherman put the Mountaineers back on the board with a solid layup, adding to his first-half total of six points. Forward Jalen Bridges also added a three-point jump, taking Kansas a seven-year lead, 21-14.

Kansas superstar goaltender Ochai Ogbaji warmed up as the half progressed, dropping 10 points overall in the first period and helping the Jayhawks take another 11-point lead.

Bridges hit his second three of the night and the Mountaineers went on a narrow 7-2 run late in the first half, but Kansas held onto their lead until the break, up 33-27 .

Bridges kept his stroke fluid in the second half, opening with a three-pointer to make it to nine points on the day. Forward David McCormack also had his own impact early in the half, scoring four straight points for the Jayhawks to give them their biggest lead of the game at 12.

A 10-0 run brought the crowd and the Mountaineers back into the game. McNeil was a big contributor in the run, scoring six on two three-pointers.

A few crucial turnovers and easy runs on the other end put Kansas into an eight-point lead midway through the second period. McNeil got West Virginia back in under four, with four quick points on consecutive possessions.

Down the stretch, Kansas began to extend their lead to 12, but McNeil and the Mountaineers managed to cut the lead to seven in less than three minutes.

Although West Virginia had scoring opportunities late in the game, the Mountaineers were unable to capitalize and contain Kansas’ offense.

McNeil was the Mountaineers’ leading scorer with 18 points and four rebounds.

Sherman was the No. 2 contributor with 16 points and three assists.

Agbaji eclipsed his 19.9 average on the night, dropping 23 in the win. McCormack also had 19 points with a game-high 11 rebounds.

West Virginia will hit the road for its next game, against the TCU Horned Frogs on Monday. The game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Betty K. Park