Kansas guard Devonté Graham said he and his teammates were motivated not to be the first Jayhawks team since 1989 to lose consecutive home games. KU defeated West Virginia 84-80 in overtime on Feb. 13, 2017. Blair Kerkhoff The Kansas City Star
Kansas guard Devonté Graham said he and his teammates were motivated not to be the first Jayhawks team since 1989 to lose consecutive home games. KU defeated West Virginia 84-80 in overtime on Feb. 13, 2017. Blair Kerkhoff The Kansas City Star

University of Kansas

'Most remarkable win' of Bill Self’s career: KU rallies to beat West Virginia in OT

By Gary Bedore

gbedore@kcstar.com

February 13, 2017 11:00 PM

LAWRENCE

Bill Self, who has coached college basketball for 32 years, including 24 as a head coach, experienced a first on Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

“Yeah probably,” Self said with a smile when asked if an 84-80 overtime victory over West Virginia — one in which his Kansas Jayhawks trailed by 14 points with 2 minutes, 58 seconds left in regulation — classified as No. 1 on his all-time list of never-say-die games.

“Somehow the guys just hung in there. I think it’s the most remarkable win I’ve ever been a part of, and we’ve had some great ones here, but we’ve never come from 14 down with 2 1/2 left against the ninth-ranked team in the country,” Self said, acknowledging the Jayhawks did trail Memphis by nine with two minutes left in the 2008 NCAA championship game, which KU also won in OT.

“The way we guarded and played down the stretch, I thought everybody showed heart,” Self said.

KU coach Bill Self on beating West Virginia: 'I still don't know how we did it'

The Kansas men's basketball team rallied for a dramatic 84-80 overtime victory against West Virginia on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.

Allison Long The Kansas City Star

The No. 3-ranked Jayhawks (23-3, 11-2 Big 12) trailed the No. 9 Mountaineers (20-6, 8-5) 64-50 following a layup by Tarik Phillip with just under three minutes to play.

“It was a toughness win. I still don’t know how we did it. Our fans deserve a ton of credit, those that stayed. We had a few trickle out. They missed a hell of a finish,” Self said.

Self was referring to a small group of fans who hit the exits with 2:43 to play, just before Frank Mason stepped to the line and hit two free throws to cut the 14-point deficit to 12.

Mason hit a three with 2:19 remaning and after Devonté Graham’s three at 1:56 cut the margin to 64-58, the comeback was on.

Graham his another three to cut the deficit to two with 33 seconds to go, and Mason hit two free throws with 21 seconds left to tie the game at 71.

The game went to overtime following a missed three by Phillip with 2 seconds left.

A lot happened in the extra session — more on that later — but just getting it to overtime seemed like a minor miracle.

“It certainly ranks right up there, especially against a team the quality of West Virginia,” ESPN announcer Dick Vitale told The Star after the final horn, asked if KU’s comeback was the greatest he’d witnessed in all the years he’s covered basketball. “Mason … the heart he showed, he would not let them lose.”

Mason, who scored 24 points on 3-of-13 shooting (he went 16 of 18 from the line and 2 of 6 from three), not only hit the two free throws that forced OT, but had four big ones in the last 22 seconds of OT.

His two free throws with 22 seconds left in OT gave KU an 82-75 lead. He made two more with 7.5 seconds left, following a three by WVU's Teyvon Myers, two missed free throws by Landen Lucas and a bucket by Nathan Adrian that had cut KU's eight-point lead to two with 10 ticks left.

Mason said he was motivated by trying to help KU avoid losing back-to-back home games for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

“When we were down 14 I was thinking about that,” Mason said. "Coach probably was, too. We had to do whatever we could do to not make it happen.”

In Mason’s case that was hitting free throws and being active on a press that forced West Virginia into several turnovers down the stretch of regulation and four in overtime.

“It,” Mason said, “is the best college basketball game I’ve ever been part of.”

Graham hit a three to open overtime and then another after a Josh Jackson (14 points, 11 boards) bucket and WVU turnover, giving KU a 79-71 lead with 2:13 remaining.

“At the under-4 minute timeout (in regulation) we talked about staying in it. We said, 'We can do it,” said Graham, who had 18 points in 42 minutes. “Coach kept saying, 'We’re gonna step up and make plays.' Everybody just stepped up and made big-time plays.”

That included players on a West Virginia team that was led by Esa Ahmad and Phillip, who had 20 and 18 points respectively.

“It was pretty self explanatory,” Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said. “We had control of the game and didn’t make enough free throws (20 of 29 to KU’s 33 of 44) or guard them well enough. We weren’t taking care of the ball.”

Bob Huggins: Can't put KU at line that many times

West Virginia Coach wasn't happy about the number of free throws in loss to Kansas.

Blair Kerkhoff The Kansas City Star

Self lauded the effort given by his Jayhawks.

“West Virginia was quicker than us early on. Our guys competed hard. Anybody who says their guys play harder than mine, it’s a ridiculous statement,” Self said. “My guys play. I’m not saying they play harder (than opponents), but there’s nobody that competes any harder than my guys.”

Self said the Jayhawks exerted so much effort during a game in which they hit just 34.4 percent of their shots to WVU’s 41.3 percent, there wasn’t much left to give in the winner's locker room.

“Sometimes when you win a big game guys will get up and dance and everything. Everybody just sat there and was totally exhausted,” Self said. “And nobody got up out of their chair. We were just very thankful. There was no jubilation outwardly because I think everybody was exhausted.”

KU — which also received 14 points from Lagerald Vick, who Self said was an unsung hero for keeping KU in the game early, and 13 boards from Lucas — will next meet Baylor at noon Saturday in Waco, Texas.

Analysis: Kansas 84, West Virginia 80 (OT)

KU beat reporter Jesse Newell recapped the Jayhawks' improbable comeback victory over West Virginia on Feb. 13, 2017, on Facebook Live.

Jesse Newell The Kansas City Star

Mason feeling better

Mason, who has been suffering from a bad cough and cold, said he felt better Monday than he did Saturday at Texas Tech.

“On Saturday, I had chills, a headache, my eyes were burning,” Mason said. “Today, no chills, just my nose was stopped up. I’m taking medicine and am back on my regular routine. I feel a lot better.”

Loud crowd

KU fans on Monday set the record for loudest crowd roar at an indoor sports event as measured by Guinness World Records. The KU fans’ roar was measured at 130.4 decibels Monday.

The old record was a decibel mark of 126.4 set by Kentucky fans in the Kentucky-Kansas game on Jan. 28 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.

Jackson player of week

KU freshman Jackson on Monday was named the Big 12 Player of the Week in a vote by a media panel that covers the league. Jackson has won the award twice this season. He has been named the league’s newcomer of the week five times. Jackson averaged 24.5 points on 70.4 percent shooting in wins over Kansas State and Texas Tech. Jackson's seven weekly Big 12 honors in one season are the most ever by a Jayhawk.

No. 3 KANSAS 84

No. 9 WEST VIRGINIA 80, OT

West Va.

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Adrian

39

3-10

2-2

7

6

1

10

Ahmad

32

6-11

7-7

7

1

5

20

Macon

21

4-5

0-0

8

0

3

8

Carter

32

3-6

3-4

5

1

4

11

Phillip

21

5-10

7-9

3

2

5

18

Miles

24

2-5

0-2

3

0

3

4

West

16

0-4

0-0

1

0

4

0

Bolden

14

1-5

1-2

2

2

1

4

Konate

13

1-4

0-1

4

0

2

2

Watkins

7

0-1

0-0

1

0

2

0

Myers

6

1-2

0-2

1

0

1

3

Totals

225

26-63

20-29

42

12

31

80

Percentages: FG .413, FT .690. Three-Point Goals: 8-21, .381 (Carter 2-2, Adrian 2-5, Myers 1-1, Ahmad 1-2, Phillip 1-2, Bolden 1-4, Miles 0-2, West 0-3). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 3 (Konate, Macon, Watkins). Turnovers: 18 (Macon 4, Adrian 3, Ahmad 3, Phillip 3, Carter 2, Watkins 2, Miles). Steals: 11 (Phillip 6, Carter 3, Adrian 2). Technical Fouls: Phillip, 18:34 second. Fouled Out: Ahmad, Phillip.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Kansas

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Lucas

32

3-6

2-7

13

0

4

8

Graham

42

5-14

3-4

2

1

1

18

Jackson

41

4-13

6-8

11

3

3

14

Mason

43

3-13

16-18

4

5

3

24

Mykhailiuk

21

1-4

2-2

3

1

5

4

Bragg

18

0-1

0-0

1

0

5

0

Vick

17

4-8

4-5

2

2

5

14

Lightfoot

8

0-1

0-0

3

0

1

0

Coleby

2

1-1

0-0

1

0

0

2

Self

1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

0

Totals

225

21-61

33-44

40

12

27

84

Percentages: FG .344, FT .750. Three-Point Goals: 9-26, .346 (Graham 5-12, Vick 2-4, Mason 2-6, Jackson 0-2, Mykhailiuk 0-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 5 (Lightfoot 2, Lucas 2, Graham). Turnovers: 15 (Jackson 6, Mason 3, Graham 2, Mykhailiuk 2, Lucas, Vick). Steals: 11 (Jackson 5, Graham 2, Lucas 2, Mason, Vick). Technical Fouls: None. Fouled Out: Mykhailiuk, Bragg, Vick.

Half: West Virginia 39-32. End of regulation: 71-71. Att: 16,300.

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.