When Kansas beat West Virginia by 14 in December, the Jayhawks used a barrage of 16 3-pointers to fuel a victory that propelled them to an 8-1 record while seeming to solidify their status as a top-five team. Six and a half weeks later, the script has flipped in a major way Saturday after the Mountaineers rode a hot shooting afternoon to a convincing 91-79 win in Saturday's rematch.
The win is the fourth in five games for No. 17 West Virginia (13-5, 6-3 Big 12), but it was the fifth loss in seven games for the No. 23 Jayhawks (12-7, 6-5). Kansas is just 4-6 since its first win over WVU and in danger of falling from the AP poll for the first time since the 2008-09 season when the new polls are released Monday. The Mountaineers knocked down 11-of-21 3-pointers Saturday, leaving the typically sound Kansas defense in tatters. Only No. 1 Gonzaga has scored more points against the Jayhawks this season.
The win snapped West Virginia's five-game losing streak to the Jayhawks, who are 4-5 against ranked teams this season. It was Kansas' fifth straight road loss, the first time the Jayhawks have lost five games in a row on the road was in 1982-83.
Sophomore guard Miles McBride led the way for WVU with 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Taz Sherman added 25 points in career-high outings for both players. The duo combined to make 8-of-12 3-pointers.
For a Kansas team that was ranked No. 3 at the time of its December win over WVU, it will take a remarkable rally to avoid falling below the No. 4 seed line in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in coach Bill Self's tenure. But some relief is ahead for the Jayhawks. After a game against Oklahoma State on Monday, they are scheduled to play Iowa State twice and then Kansas State in a three-game stretch against two teams that are firmly entrenched at the bottom of the league standings.
For West Virginia, the victory solidifies the Mountaineers' new identity as an offensive juggernaut. Coach Bob Huggins' team was known for its defense last season amid season-long struggles with shooting the ball. But they entered Saturday's game ranked second in the Big 12 with a 41.7% 3-point shooting mark in league games, and that figure will rise even higher after another quality shooting performance.