Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Showdown at the Phog, Mountaineers Looking for 1st Win at Allen Fieldhouse

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Showdown at the Phog, Mountaineers Looking for 1st Win at Allen Fieldhouse

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Teyvon Myers is no different than anyone else in a blue uniform tonight. He doesn't have fuzzy memories about his previous trips to Allen Field House. The famed home of Kansas basketball is the only Big 12 venue where West Virginia has not won, and the Mountaineers have played well, played poorly, played at full- strength and played through roster issues.

But they're still 0-4 here.

Myers has been inside twice, first for a junior college showcase during his second spin through the recruiting cycle and then again last year when the Mountaineers lost to the Jayhawks. That was the first time he felt the enormity of the environment.

"It's like a club, he said. "They're in there two hours before a game. There's music. They're partying. You see old MySpace pictures of yourself up in the stands.

When Myers looked around last season to take it all in, he recognized a photo of himself from several years earlier and realized Kansas fans had pulled it off the internet and weaponized it as part of their mind games.

"They had a seventh-grade MySpace picture of me, he said. "I was sad. They didn't have to put that picture up. The 13th-ranked Mountaineers (20-5, 8-4 Big 12) have only a few Big 12 firsts left on their list, and they would make a major move toward their first regular-season Big 12 title, which would help seeding in the quest for a first Big 12 tournament championship, with an unprecedented win at Allen Fieldhouse.

The problem with that, though, is No. 3 Kansas (22-3, 10-2) hardly ever loses at home. Bill Self, in his 14th season as the head coach, is 216-10 on his court. Tonight, the university aims to set a Guiness World Record for the "loudest crowd roar at an indoor sports event.

"The atmosphere by itself is very overwhelming, junior forward Elijah Macon said. "It's hard to play in there because it's hard to focus. It's hard to talk to your teammates even when they're right next to you. They can't hear you. It's that loud.

"Then people overthink instead of just playing the game. I think a lot of people go in there and they try to overdo things, and that's when things get blown out of proportion.

The 9 p.m. ESPN game is Kansas' first home game since losing here to Iowa State nine days ago, though the Jayhawks are 2-0 since. The Mountaineers have also won two in a row and five out of six, and their last two wins were against teams they lost to earlier in the season, but they don't believe momentum matters.

"We're playing Kansas and not Kansas State, coach Bob Huggins said. "We're going to throw it up, and it's going to be 0-0. The Mountaineers are not hopeless. They've won at home against the Jayhakws each of these past four seasons, including an 85-69 victory last month. They played to the finish in the Big 12 tournament's championship game in March. …

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