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.