Travis Releford and Jeff Withey both scored 15 points and No. 2 Kansas nearly relinquished a double-digit lead before beating host West Virginia, 61-56, Monday night to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 18 games.
Kansas (19-1, 7-0 Big 12) shot 54 percent from the field in the first-ever meeting between the schools. The Jayhawks have held their last six opponents under 60 points.
Ben McLemore added 13 points for Kansas, which is in the middle of a stretch of six of nine games on the road.
Aaric Murray had 17 points and Juwan Staten added 14 for the Mountaineers (9-11, 2-5), who fell to 0-4 against ranked opponents this season.
West Virginia used several steals to trim a 15-point deficit to 8 at halftime but never took the lead in the second half.
The Mountaineers managed just four field goals over the final 10 minutes.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins could have picked up a $25,000 bonus for a regular-season win over Kansas, something that was included in a contract extension signed in November.
Kansas rose one spot in the new Associated Press Top 25, receiving 13 first-place votes. Michigan received 51 to earn its first No. 1 ranking in 20 years. No. 3 Indiana and No. 4 Florida both moved up four places. Syracuse fell from third to sixth, one spot behind Duke.
Louisville 64, Pittsburgh 61 — Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng combined for 34 points and sealed the game with four free throws in the final 12 seconds as the No. 12 Cardinals (17-4, 5-3 Big East) ended a three-game losing streak.
Host Louisville, which has slumped since being No. 1 two weeks ago, saw an 11-point second-half lead cut to 60-58 on Tray Woodall’s 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds remaining. That was one of seven 3-pointers by Pitt (17-5, 5-4) over the final 13:18.
Dieng made two free throws with 12.7 seconds left for a 4-point lead, and after the Panthers’ Lamar Patterson shot an airball with six seconds left, Smith followed with two more free throws for a 64-58 lead with 4.2 seconds to go.
Marquette 65, South Florida 50 — At Milwaukee, Vander Blue scored a career-high 30 points to lead the No. 25 Golden Eagles, who moved into a first-place tie with Syracuse in the Big East.
Marquette (15-4, 6-1) has won eight of nine games. South Florida (10-10, 1-7) opened the season 9-3 but has faltered in conference play.
Notre Dame 77, Tennessee 67 — Skylar Diggins scored a career-high 33 points and the second-ranked Fighting Irish built a 19-point lead in the second half before withstanding a late rally by the No. 9 Lady Vols in Knoxville, Tenn.
Notre Dame (19-1) won its 14th straight game and snapped Tennessee’s nine-game winning streak. Notre Dame also became the first school ever to defeat both Connecticut and Tennessee in three consecutive seasons.
Bashaara Graves had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Tennessee (16-4).