No. 7 West Virginia falls to No. 3 Kansas after second-half surge

No. 7 West Virginia falls to No. 3 Kansas after second-half surge

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Entering Tuesday, West Virginia had never won a game at Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse.

The Mountaineers are still waiting.

Despite 24 points from guard Sean McNeil, No. 7 West Virginia could not get past the No. 3 Jayhawks, falling 79-65.

West Virginia (7-2) opened up chasing the red-hot Jayhawks, who relied heavily on second chance points in the first half.

Kansas’ lead peaked at nine, but the Mountaineers continued to stay in the game due to their shooting performance from long range, shooting 7-of-12 from the 3-point line before the break.

The seventh three pointer was from McNeil, who knocked it down in the final seconds of the half. The basket gave West Virginia a meager 36-35 lead heading into the locker room, in addition to giving McNeil 20 first-half points.

Less than three minutes into the second half, the Mountaineers coughed up their lead. McNeil, who had gone 7-of-7 from the field in the first half, missed his first shot attempt in the second half and, along with Miles McBride heading to the bench after getting into foul trouble, the WVU offense sputtered.

Oppositely, the Kansas offense charged ahead. The Jayhawks made 3-point shooting a priority, knocking down 16 for 48 points by night’s end. Kansas’ lead ballooned to 22 points in the game’s final minutes, making any West Virginia comeback unlikely.

The Mountaineers ultimately fell, marking the team’s ninth loss to Kansas in the last 10 meetings.

McNeil led the team in scoring, and he was followed closely by McBride, who finished with 19 points. They were the only two Mountaineers to score in double figures.

Forward Gabe Osabuohien ended the night with zero points, but did come down with eight rebounds — tied with Derek Culver for the team lead. He also led the team in assists, with five.

Defensively, West Virginia struggled to limit the Kansas offense as five different Jayhawks scored 10 or more points. Guard Christian Braun led the way with 22.

After West Virginia’s scheduled matchup with Buffalo on Dec. 29 was canceled, barring any replacement games, the Mountaineers’ will not return to the court until 2021. WVU will travel to Oklahoma and take on the Sooners on Jan. 2. The 4 p.m. tipoff will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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