Morgantown, WV (SportsNetwork.com) - The top team in the Big 12 Conference tries to put even more distance between itself and the rest of the pack, as the Kansas Jayhawks clash with the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum on Monday night.
On Saturday, the Jayhawks registered a 74-64 home win against nationally- ranked Baylor in Allen Fieldhouse, the second straight victory and the seventh in the last eight outings for the program that is 10-2 in conference play. A perfect 13-0 at home in Lawrence in 2014-15, Kansas is just 5-3 in true road dates, which might work against the squad at the start of the new week.
Kansas, which now has a record of 23-4 all-time versus the Bears, has won at least 21 games for the 26th consecutive season, and has registered at least 10 conference wins for the 20th straight time as well.
Meanwhile, the Mountaineers have lost some steam since producing a 12-1 non- conference mark. The program has dropped three of its last four contests, the most recent being an ugly 79-59 setback at nationally-ranked Iowa State over the weekend. West Virginia has a mark of 7-5 in conference, placing it in the top half of the standings entering the week.
Kansas, which will host WVU the first week of March, leads the all-time series by a count of 3-1.
The Jayhawks trailed by as many as 13 in the first half against Baylor on Saturday, but the hosts closed the gap to just six at the break and then tightened up at both ends of the floor in the second half to pull out the double-digit win. Kansas connected on not only 54.5 percent from the field after intermission, but also knocked down all but two of 22 chances at the free-throw line, all while limiting the Bears to just eight field goals in the frame.
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Perry Ellis both tallied 18 points and seven rebounds for the hosts, followed by Wayne Selden Jr. with 15 points. Frank Mason III hit only 1-of-5 from the field and finished with five points, but the starting guard made a significant contribution with eight assists.
Ellis, who became the 56th player in Kansas history to reach 1,000 points for his career, paces the team in scoring this season with 12.9 ppg and is also tops on the glass with 7.0 rpg as he averages 28 minutes per outing. Mason III, a 44.1 percent shooter beyond the arc, accounts for another 12.5 ppg and is also the driving force behind getting his teammates involved in the offense with his 103 assists over 24 starts. Selden checks in with 10.0 ppg, despite shooting only 37.6 percent from the floor for a team that generates 72.2 ppg.
Against the 14th-ranked Cyclones on the road, West Virginia remained close through the first 20 minutes of action, but then the offense fell apart and the defense got too lenient, as ISU cruised to the 20-point victory. Juwan Staten, who is eyeing postseason honors in the Big 12, was the lone double- digit scorer for the Mountaineers with his 16 points, adding seven of the unit's 11 assists along the way for a group that shot only 37.9 percent from the floor and 9-of-28 behind the 3-point line.
Staten, a starter in all 24 games in which he has appeared, is not only responsible for a team-leading 14.3 ppg, he is tops with 110 assists as he tries to get teammates on board so that he doesn't have to do all the work himself. Devin Williams is listed as the second-leading scorer with 11.1 ppg, the only other player in double figures, accounting for a team-best 8.3 rpg as well, but a sprained thumb has him listed as questionable for action on Monday night in front of the hometown crowd.