Jayhawks dominate Mountaineers, 78-53

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Five Jayhawks scored in double-figures as No. 14/14 Kansas outdueled the West Virginia Mountaineers, 78-53, Saturday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse. KU outscored WVU 43-16 in the first half before cruising to the 25-point win, the Jayhawks’ largest margin of victory in conference play this season. Freshman guard Devon Dotson and redshirt-sophomore guard K.J. Lawson led all scorers with 15 points apiece to go along KU’s 52.8 percent shooting clip from the field.

The win improved Kansas to 20-6 on the year, marking the 30th-consecutive season KU has tallied 20 or more wins. The Jayhawks also moved to 9-4 in Big 12 play, just 0.5 games behind the league leader. West Virginia fell to 10-15 in its 2018-19 season and 2-10 in the conference.

The first 20 minutes featured an impressive showing from the Jayhawks on both ends of the floor. After WVU jumped ahead on a 7-6 lead five minutes into the game, KU’s defense, and consequently its offense, hit full stride. Kansas outscored the visitors 21-2 over the next nine minutes of game action. During that stretch, KU forced six WVU turnovers and made the Mountaineers pay on the other end. All seven Jayhawks who entered in the opening frame scored during that KU run. Dedric Lawson’s jumper at the 6:11 mark saw Kansas’ lead go to 25-9.

While the Mountaineers broke up the KU run over the next few minutes, the Jayhawks managed to once again construct a strong closing stretch to the first half. Dotson’s lay-up kick-started a 19-4 run over the final 4:40 of the opening frame and helped Kansas head to the locker room with a 43-16 lead. KU closed the half shooting 55 percent from the field and held the Mountaineers to 25 percent (7-of-28) shooting on the other end. The Jayhawks also forced 12 WVU turnovers over the first half of action.

It was a much more evenly contested game after the intermission; however, Kansas never let its lead shrink to less than 24 points. K.J. Lawson connected on a pair of 3-pointers as part of his eight second-half points and was one of nine Jayhawks to hit a field goal over the final 20 minutes.

KU’s final field goal came at the 2:23 mark, as sophomore guard Chris Teahan connected on a corner 3-pointer, the Jayhawks’ eighth of the day. West Virginia closed the game on an 11-0 run, but it was too little, too late, as Kansas finished off the 78-52 win.

K.J. Lawson’s 15 points marked his highest output as a Jayhawk. Dotson scored in double-figures for the fifth-straight game with his 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Dedric Lawson added 14 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Ochai Agbaji rounded out the KU double-figure scorers with his 10 points.

The Jayhawk defense held the Mountaineers to 33.9 percent shooting on the day, which included a 3-of-23 mark from beyond the 3-point line. Kansas took advantage on the other end, shooting over 50 percent (52.8) for the 11th time this season and hitting 14-of-18 from the free throw line.