Kansas v West Virginia

No. 2 Jayhawks dress for success, hold off upset-minded Mountaineers


MORGANTOWN, W.V. — New look, same old Jayhawks.

Kansas unveiled their new Adidas-designed “invisible” uniforms in their first visit to WVU Coliseum, but the result was the same we’ve seen again and again. Kansas won, 61 to 56. The only difference was the new look, and the new surroundings. It was their first trip to Morgantown to face new Big 12 member West Virginia.

The West Virginia pep band broke out a solid rendition of “The Time Warp” during  one timeout, and no doubt some in the crowd wished they could time-travel back to the days when the Mountaineers were in the Big East, where ranked teams fall like overripe fruit these days. But alas, they are in the Big 12 now, where Kansas has made winning the league title into an annual rite of spring.

There are plenty of games left, but the Jayhawks picked up a nice road win against a Bob Huggins-coached team tonight. The blueprint was easy to see – get the ball inside to Jeff Withey as often as possible – and it worked pretty well in the first half. Withey was 5-6 for 13 points in the first half, but his production dropped a bit in the second, when soft entry passes began to end up in the hands of streaking Mountaineers. Juwan Staten made four straight buckets for the Mountaineers during a seven-minute stretch, and ended up with 14 points on the night, but his efforts were ultimately in vain, as the Jayhawks buckled down and held on. Aaric Murray led West Virginia with 17 points on the night, including 3-4 from deep.

Asked about the 6’10” Murray’s deep shooting prowess, Travis Releford chuckeld and said “That’s not something we game-planned for.”

Kansas extended their winning streak to 19 games, and remained undefeated in Big 12 play thanks in part to 15 points apiece from seniors Jeff Withey and Travis Releford. Freshman Ben McLemore chipped in 13.

Kansas hosts Oklahoma State on February 2, while West Virginia and Texas Tech – currently both 2-5 in league play – will rumble in Lubbock the same day.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.