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Friday / February 24.

Down Goes No. 2! No. 18 West Virginia Beats Kansas

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By JOHN RABY

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Esa Ahmad broke out of a shooting slump with a career-high 27 points to lead No. 18 West Virginia to an 85-69 victory over No. 2 Kansas on Tuesday night.

The Mountaineers (16-4, 5-3 Big 12) beat Kansas (18-2, 7-1) for the fourth straight time in Morgantown and snapped the Jayhawks’ 18-game winning streak.

Ahmad led West Virginia in scoring over the first two months of the season but entered Tuesday’s game with four straight games in single digits. He scored West Virginia’s first eight points against Kansas and finished 10 of 17 from the field.

West Virginia blew a double-digit lead after halftime for the third straight game. Svi Mykhailiuk’s 3-pointer put the Jayhawks ahead 59-58 midway through the second half. But that was their last lead.

Kansas then went nearly 3 minutes between field goals. Ahmad started and finished a 12-1 run with baskets to put the Mountaineers ahead 70-61 with 4:55 left.

Coach Bob Huggins had two stipulations for success for the Mountaineers: making free throws and not piling up turnovers.

West Virginia limited its turnovers to eight and went 19 of 23 from the line, making nine of their final 10.

West Virginia’s Nathan Adrian added 11 points and Daxter Miles Jr. and Tarik Phillip each had 10.

Josh Jackson matched a season high with 22 points before fouling out for Kansas. Devonte’ Graham added 17 points and Big 12 scoring leader Frank Mason III finished with 15, tying his third-lowest point total of the season.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: This was the start of the Jayhawks’ toughest stretch of the season with games against three straight ranked teams, including two on the road. Kansas came into the game shooting 50 percent from the field but was limited to 42 percent (25 of 59) on Tuesday.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers snapped a two-game losing streak with arguably their most complete performance of the season.

UP NEXT

Kansas plays at No. 4 Kentucky in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday, then hosts No. 5 Baylor on Feb. 1.

West Virginia hosts Texas A&M on Saturday.

(AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)

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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.