Despite entering halftime holding a six-point lead, the No. 14 West Virginia men’s basketball team could not finish Wednesday night.
In front of a sold out crowd at the WVU Coliseum, the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks erupted to score 34 points in the second half, ultimately emerging with a 58-49 victory over the Mountaineers.
West Virginia, which was able to limit the No. 1 scoring offense in the Big 12 Conference to only 24 first half points, could not slow down a second half offensive surge from Kansas. The Jayhawks shot 48% from the field after halftime, an increase from 42% in the first half.
“We just thought that things were going to keep going our way in the second half, and we started off the second half terrible,” guard Jermaine Haley said.
With just over five minutes remaining in the second half, Kansas guard Isaiah Moss knocked down two free throws to give the Jayhawks a 49-48 lead. After WVU guard Jermaine Haley split two free throws of his own to tie the score, Kansas went on a 9-0 run.
Haley’s free throw, coming with just over five minutes remaining in the second half, was the final basket that the Mountaineers would score in the game.
“We’ve got to come out the second half just like the beginning of the game and execute offensively,” Haley said. “I’m never worried about defense. I feel like we can get stops when we need them, but sometimes we go on scoring droughts on offense that we can’t afford.”
West Virginia (18-6, 6-5 Big 12) saw success offensively in the first half — shooting 35% from the field — but could not keep it going into the second half. Oscar Tshiebwe, who led the team in scoring, only scored two of his 14 total points in the second half.
Tshiebwe also led the team in rebounds, hauling in nine. Haley ranked second on the team, finishing with eight.
For Kansas (21-3, 10-1), guard Devon Dotson led the way with 15 points while going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He was closely followed by Moss, who finished with 13 points.
The loss was West Virginia’s second in a row as the team fell to Oklahoma on Saturday. The loss also snapped WVU’s 12-game home winning streak.
The Mountaineers will hit the road for their next matchup, taking on the No. 1 Baylor Bears this upcoming Saturday. The 4 p.m. tipoff will be broadcast on Big 12 Now as part of ESPN+.