Lucas’s Breakout Game Gets Kansas Past West Virginia

Kansas is finally starting to show signs of the National Championship contender we all saw back in December, after winning four straight following huge losses at Oklahoma State and Iowa State in late January.

It was a game in which the No. 6 Jayhawks (20-4) never trailed, yet it still managed to remain within reaching distance for the No. 10 Mountaineers (19-5) until the final minutes.

Landen Lucas had the breakout game of his career as he was an absolute menace on the boards and defensively, wracking havoc for a career-high 16 rebounds and 4 blocks. Kansas out-rebounded the Mountaineers 33-28 and shot exceptionally well, as they were 56.1% from the field and 41.2% from three.

West Viginia, on the other hand, struggled offensively, shooting 37.3% on the game. However, as they always do, West Virginia relied on its full court and inbound press to get turnovers and stay in the game. When Kansas managed to limit their turnovers, they quickly got out to a big lead of 53-40, but after turning over four straight, West Virginia cut it back to four. Kansas had 22 turnovers back in their loss to West Virginia earlier this season.

Perry Ellis continued to do his thing quietly, as he shot 7 for 9 and put up 21 points, but overall it was a well-rounded offensive game for the Jayhawks. Five players scored in double figures, including Brannen Greene, who many beleived to sit out the game due to unsportsmanlike conduct from the previous game.

West Virginia relied on Jaysean Paige and Devin Williams to get the offense going, who both struggled, yet scored 14 points on sub-40% shooting. Williams had 9 rebounds as well, being the only player on his team to get on the boards consistently.

Kansas is now in a three-way tie for first with No. 3 Oklahoma and this West Virginia team, with seven games remaining for each team. Kansas hopes for its 12th straight Big 12 Title, but Buddy Hield has other plans after knocking in a game-winning three in Norman against Texas earlier this week.

However, as always, the Big 12 runs through Lawrence.

The Jayhawks travel to Norman next to play Oklahoma in a huge game that could end up deciding the Big 12 Champ this year. West Virginia returns to Morgantown to play TCU this Saturday.

 

Karam Hamada

University of Kansas

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