Senior center Udoka Azubuike posted 17 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high six blocks Saturday as No. 3 Kansas rallied to down No. 16 West Virginia 60-53 at Lawrence, Kan.
The Jayhawks’ only first-half lead came early, 3-2, before they overtook the Mountaineers with a three-point play by Azubuike after the 7-footer slammed one of his six dunks with 13:48 remaining.
Kansas (11-2, 1-0 Big 12) did not trail again, claiming their 29th consecutive conference opener while winning for the 26th consecutive time in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks began their bid for a 62nd conference title after their 14-year string of Big 12 championships was snapped last season.
Sophomore point guard Devon Dotson added 16 points, but only went 5 of 15 as the Jayhawks weathered cold 3-point shooting (3 of 17, 17.6 percent). Junior guard Marcus Garrett added 12 points and six assists.
Freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe led West Virginia (11-2, 0-1) collecting 17 points and 17 rebounds, though he did not score over the final 15 minutes. Freshman guard Miles McBride added 13 points.
The Mountaineers, who were coming off an upset of Ohio State, shot just 32.2 percent, going 0-for-11 during a crucial stretch of the second half when the Jayhawks gained control.
West Virginia fell to 0-8 in games at Kansas, all of which have been played under coach Bob Huggins since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.
Tshiebwe, a two-time newcomer of the week in the Big 12, came in averaging a team-high 11.8 points but secured his double-double in the first half with 15 points and 10 boards.
He helped the Mountaineers get off to a quick 17-7 lead and blunted a 6-0 Kansas run with five straight points off buckets at the 8:31 and 7:58 marks.
The Jayhawks missed seven straight 3-pointers during one stretch of the first half and were led at the break by Dotson with 12 points.
—Field Level Media