Kansas blows a big lead, still edges West Virginia
BY Associated Press
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
1/29/13 at 5:36 AM
Travis Releford and Jeff Withey both scored 15 points and No. 2 Kansas nearly relinquished a double-digit lead before beating West Virginia 61-56 on Monday night in Morgantown, W.Va.
The Jayhawks extended the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games.
Kansas (19-1, 7-0 Big 12) shot 54 percent from the field in the first meeting between the schools. The Jayhawks have held their last six opponents under 60 points.
Ben McLemore added 13 points for Kansas, which is in the middle of a stretch of six of nine games on the road.
Aaric Murray had 17 points and Juwan Staten added 14 for the Mountaineers (9-11, 2-5), who fell to 0-4 against ranked opponents this season.
West Virginia used several steals to trim a 15-point deficit to eight at halftime but never took the lead in the second half.
Staten scored three straight baskets, including a jumper that pulled the Mountaineers within 48-46 with 10:19 left. But they fell silent over the next 3 minutes.
McLemore, Kansas' leading scorer who sat on the bench for most of the first half in foul trouble, hit a layup and made two free throws on the next trip down the court during a 7-0 run that put the Jayhawks ahead 55-46 with 7:33 left.
West Virginia did not recover. The Mountaineers managed just four field goals over the final 10 minutes.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins could have picked up a $25,000 bonus for a regular-season win over Kansas, something that was included in a contract extension signed in November.
But the Mountaineers shot just 37 percent and Huggins fell to 0-5 all-time against the Jayhawks.
Without any players averaging in double-figure scoring for the season, Huggins has jumbled his lineups this season to try to come up with size matchups and points production.
Kansas held West Virginia without a field goal over the game's first 7 minutes.
No. 12 Louisville 64, Pittsburgh 61: In Louisville, Ky., Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng combined for 34 points and sealed the game with four free throws in the final 12 seconds as Louisville ended a three-game losing streak.
Louisville has slumped since being No. 1 two weeks ago. It saw an 11-point second-half lead cut to 60-58 on Tray Woodall's 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds remaining. That was one of seven 3s by Pitt over the final 13:18.
Smith finished with 20 points while Dieng had 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks for the Cardinals (17-4, 5-3 Big East).
Pittsburgh (17-5, 5-4) had its four-game winning streak stopped.
No. 25 Marquette 63, South Florida 50: In Milwaukee, Vander Blue scored a career-high 30 points to lead Marquette over South Florida on Monday night to move into a first-place tie with Syracuse in the Big East.
The Golden Eagles (15-4, 6-1 Big East) have won eight of nine games.
South Florida (10-10, 1-7) opened the season 9-3.
Kansas' Travis Releford dunks over West Virginia's Jabarie Hinds (center) and Eron Harris (10) during Monday's game in Morgantown, W.Va. DAVID SMITH / Associated Press