Frank Mason III helped No. 9 Kansas rally from an 18-point deficit to knock off No. 20 West Virginia 76-69 in overtime on Tuesday.
Mason scored 19 points, including the last eight in the overtime session. Jamari Traylor had 14 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 12. Devonte Graham had 10 points for the Jayhawks.
Early on West Virginia dominated Kansas and against all odds had the Jayhawks on the ropes. Kansas was down by 18 points in the first half, but tied it 59-59 on two free throws by Graham with 11.5 seconds left in regulation.
“We deserved to win the game, we really did, but we just didn’t play very well at the end,” head coach Bob Huggins said.
Daxter Miles Jr. scored a career-high 23 points for the Mountaineers. Jonathan Holton recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Tarik Phillip added 13.
“West Virginia played great,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “They didn’t have Staten and Browne but they still played great. They had guys step up and play the games of their lives.”
Devin Williams started the second half where the Mountaineers had left off by scoring a quick basket in the paint to put West Virginia in front 42-28. The Jayhawks then went on a 9-0 run to claw their way back into game.
Holton dropped back-to-back three-pointers to put West Virginia up 50-39 with 10:47 left, but the pesky Jayhawks would not go away. Oubre pulled Kansas within six when he made a layup and was fouled by Miles with 4:51 left.
West Virginia still led by 57-51 with 1:55 to play but sloppiness and missed free throws proved costly. The Mountaineers turned the ball over on the inbound when Miles passed into the backcourt and no one was there to catch it.
“I shouldn’t have had Dax take it out of bounds,” Huggins said. “That was my fault, not his fault.”
Traylor then drove to the basket and made a layup with 44.4 seconds left to cut the lead to two points. Oubre fouled Jevon Carter with 18.3 seconds left but the struggling Carter made one-of-two free throws to give the Mountaineers a 59-57 lead.
Phillip fouled Graham, who made two free throws and tied the game at 59. Carter drove down the court but missed a last second shot, sending the game to overtime.
Miles hit a quick three in overtime to give West Virginia a 63-61 lead, but Traylor answered with his own three to put Kansas in front 64-63. Mason gave the Jayhawks a 72-66 lead with 44.4 seconds left in overtime. Miles connected with a shot from beyond-the-arc to pull the Mountaineers within three.
But Mason made his final four free throws in the final seconds and Kansas sealed its 11th straight conference title.
The Jayhawks’ leading scorer Perry Ellis injured his knee late in the first half and did not return. West Virginia played without injured senior guards Gary Browne and Juwan Staten once again.
The Mountaineers will close out the regular season on Saturday at 2 p.m. against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the Coliseum.