Jayhawks romp Mountaineers to gain ground in conference

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Devon Dotson and K.J. Lawson each scored 15 points, and No. 14 Kansas beat depleted West Virginia 78-53 on Saturday.

Dedric Lawson, K.J.'s brother, had 14 points for the Jayhawks (20-6, 9-4 Big 12), who won their third straight as they continue to start four freshmen.

Lamont West and Chase Harler scored 11 points apiece for West Virginia (10-15, 2-10), which struggled without former starters Esa Ahmed and Wesley Harris, who were dismissed from the team earlier in the week for violating athletic department policies. Ahmed was averaging 12 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while Harris was putting up 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Kansas held West Virginia to a season-low 16 points at halftime, and the Mountaineers shot 33.9 percent for the game, including 3 of 23 from 3-point range. West Virginia didn't reach double-digit scoring until 5:52 remained in the first half.

The Mountaineers finished with 24 turnovers. In West Virginia's 65-64 win over Kansas in Morgantown on Jan. 19, the Mountaineers turned it over just 13 times.

The Jayhawks got the crowd excited with several flashy plays in the second half, including a fierce one-handed dunk by Ochai Agbaji. Fans at Allen Fieldhouse were also pleased to learn of No. 18 Kansas State's 78-64 loss to No. 23 Iowa State as Kansas cruised through the final minutes.

BIG PICTURE

West Virginia: The Mountaineers sit last in the Big 12 standings. West Virginia has not finished conference play outside the top five since 2014, when it ended the season in seventh place.

Kansas: The Jayhawks remain in contention for the Big 12 title. After Kansas State's loss to Iowa State, Kansas lurks a half-game behind the Wildcats, tied with No. 15 Texas Tech. The Sunflower Showdown in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 25 could end up deciding the conference championship.

UP NEXT

West Virginia: Hosts Kansas State on Monday.

Kansas: Visits Texas Tech next Saturday in another critical game in the upper tier of the Big 12.