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West Virginia edges No. 8 Kansas in final seconds

Feb 17, 2015 - 5:56 AM Morgantown, WV ( - Juwan Staten's layup with 3.9 seconds remaining lifted 23rd-ranked West Virginia to a thrilling 62-61 victory over No. 8 Kansas in a key Big 12 matchup.

After the Jayhawks' Frank Mason missed a runner and the rebound landed out of bounds to West Virginia with 8.3 seconds left, Staten capped a 20-point night by dribbling nearly the length of the court, spinning past a defender and laying the ball in with his left hand for the eighth lead change of a nip-and- tuck second half.

"We couldn't have defended it any worse. You have to keep the ball in front of you and we did not do a good job at that," Kansas head coach Bill Self said.

Perry Ellis had a chance to send Kansas back in front on the ensuing possession, but his close-range attempt trickled off the rim to give the Mountaineers a much-needed win.

"(Staten) scores and then he's the one who runs in front of Perry Ellis to miss the shot," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "I don't know if he got a piece of the ball, but he altered his steps."

West Virginia (20-6, 8-5 Big 12) entered Monday's showdown with the Big 12- leading Jayhawks having dropped three of four, including a 20-point loss at Iowa State on Saturday.

Jevon Carter came up big as well for the Mountaineers, sinking a pair of 3- pointers down the stretch as part of a 13-point, six-rebound effort.

Ellis tallied 15 of his 19 points in the second half and Mason finished with 18 points for Kansas (21-5, 10-3). Kelly Oubre Jr. added 14 points and seven rebounds in the loss, just the Jayhawks' second in their last 10 outings.

Kansas overcame a slow start to take a 59-54 lead on two Ellis free throws with 3:15 to play, but Carter knocked down treys on consecutive possessions to put the Mountaineers back ahead and help set up the wild finish.

Mason drove in for an easy uncontested layup on the Jayhawks' next trip down the court, though, and West Virginia came up empty on its next three possessions but prevented Kansas from extending its margin further.

Staten made sure the Mountaineers succeeded on their final one, though Ellis alertly ran down the court after the make to haul in a baseball pass. His off- balance underhanded attempt was just off the mark, with Carter corralling the carom as time expired.

Kansas never led in the first half, but was able to cut an 11-point deficit down to one when an Ellis layup and Mason's triple made the score 31-30 in the final minute. Staten answered with a driving layup on the ensuing possession to send the Mountaineers into the break ahead by three.

Ellis, who managed just one basket during the opening period, then got hot to start the second half. The junior forward deposited seven points during a 10-0 stretch he capped with a corner trey that staked the Jayhawks to a 40-33 lead.

The Mountaineers answered with five straight points, but 3-pointers by Mason and Oubre around a Staten bucket had the Jayhawks up 46-40 with 14 minutes to go.

Kansas then went scoreless for a near six-minute stretch shortly afterward, and two more baskets from Staten fueled a 7-0 counterattack that sent West Virginia back in front by a 50-49 count with 7:20 to go.

The Jayhawks countered with an 8-2 spurt, with Ellis accounting for six of those points.

Kansas struggled mightily against West Virginia's pressure early on, committing four turnovers over the initial 4 1/2 minutes as the Mountaineers sped out to a 10-2 lead. The margin was double digits midway through the first half when Staten followed Jaysean Paige's 3-pointer with a layup for a 19-8 advantage.

The Jayhawks responded with a 10-2 run spurred by Oubre, who tallied the final six points and highlighted the charge with a run-out slam in transition.

Game Notes

West Virginia had lost four straight to ranked teams by average of 21 points ... The Mountaineers scored 17 points off 14 Kansas turnovers ... The win was only the second in nine meetings against the Jayhawks for WVU head coach Bob Huggins ... Kansas shot 52.2 percent and went 5-of-7 on 3-point tries during the second half ... Carter finished 3-of-5 from 3-point range.