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RaeQuan Battle, Pat Suemnick lead West Virginia over No. 3 Kansas 91-85

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia can finally enjoy some positives after going through the wringer the past eight months.

The Mountaineers have endured Hall of Fame coach Bob Huggins' exit following a drunken driving arrest that led to a roster makeover.

Add to that a preseason health scare for forward Akok Akok, a nine-game suspension for guard Kerr Kriisa, Jesse Edwards missing the past month with a broken wrist, and an ongoing court fight with the NCAA that had temporarily sidelined multiple-transfer players RaeQuan Battle and Noah Farrakhan.

Tipping the scale in the other direction was Saturday's euphoria. Battle scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Pat Suemnick added a career-high 20 points and West Virginia beat No. 3 Kansas 91-85.

“It’s a surreal moment, man,” Battle said. “It’s hard to win games like that, especially doing it at this level and being a few steps behind because we had a crazy offseason. I’m just proud of this team and the coaching staff.”

Fans stormed the court after the Mountaineers (7-11, 2-3 Big 12) improved to 7-5 against Kansas in Morgantown and broke a six-game losing streak in the series.

“That one felt good,” said West Virginia interim coach Josh Eilert, who took over a week after Huggins' arrest.

“That's what our guys needed,” Eilert said. "I’m going to savor it tonight, I promise you that. We’ve been through a lot. This fan base has been through a lot. But tomorrow it’s right back to it to figure out a game plan for Central Florida.”

The win came a week after the Mountaineers beat then-No. 25 Texas, also at home.

West Virginia set the pace Saturday with an early 3-point barrage and outhustled the Jayhawks to get key free throws in the end.

Kansas (15-3, 3-2) trailed for most of the second half until KJ Adams hit two free throws for an 81-80 lead with 2:41 remaining. Suemnick answered with a bank shot over Hunter Dickinson 35 seconds later to give the Mountaineers the lead for good.

West Virginia sealed the win by making nine of 10 free throws in the final 34 seconds.

“I just think we wanted it more,” Suemnick said.

Kriisa added 15 points for the Mountaineers.

Kevin McCullar led Kansas with 24 points and Dickinson scored 19. Freshman Johnny Furphy hit three 3-pointers and grabbed three rebounds in the first four minutes but went 22 minutes before scoring again and finished with 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Mountaineers, the Big 12’s worst 3-point shooting team, made 12 of 21 (57%) from beyond the arc, including nine of their first 11.

Shooting wasn't a problem for Kansas, either. The Jayhawks went 32 of 60 (53%) from the floor.

“There's going to be games like this for everybody" in the Big 12, Kansas coach Bill Self said. “It's a monster league.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Kansas could drop several spots in the AP Top 25 poll.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: It's the most points allowed this season by the Jayhawks, who ran into a determined team that has beaten two straight ranked opponents at home.

West Virginia: With Edwards still out, Eilert stressed the importance of rebounding. The Mountaineers outrebounded Kansas 31-22, the Jayhawks' lowest total this season.

“I felt like we were quicker to the ball,” Eilert said.

UP NEXT

Kansas: Hosts Cincinnati on Monday night.

West Virginia: Plays at UCF on Tuesday night.

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