No. 2 Kansas holds off upset-minded West Virginia
Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - Travis Releford and Jeff Withey each scored 15 points, leading second-ranked Kansas to a 61-56 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Withey added seven rebounds and four blocks in Kansas' first-ever meeting with West Virginia.
Ben McLemore supplied 13 points for the Jayhawks (19-1, 7-0 Big 12), who extended the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games.
"None of us are paying any attention to it," Releford said of the streak. "We don't sit around in the locker room and talk about it because we know it's a long season. So we're not too worried about it."
Aaric Murray had 17 points and seven rebounds for West Virginia (9-11, 2-5).
Down by as many as 15 in the first half, Juwan Staten hit a jumper to pull the Mountaineers within 48-46 with a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
However, Releford drained a 3-pointer from the left corner to put the Jayhawks up 55-46. But West Virginia refused to go away and another Staten basket closed the gap to 60-56 with 24.5 seconds remaining.
After Kevin Young connected on 1-of-2 free throws, Withey made a couple key blocks to preserve the win.
"I thought for the most part we competed hard for the whole game," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins remarked. "I'm tired of losing, I know that. I don't lose very well; I hate it, and I particularly hate this because I didn't think it would happen."
The Jayhawks raced out to a 14-2 lead as the Mountaineers misfired on their first seven field goal attempts. Two Young free throws pushed the margin to 22-7 with 9:22 left in the opening frame.
Kansas' 18-game winning streak matches the second-longest during the Bill Self era ... Huggins is 0-5 all-time against the Jayhawks.