Saturday's loss also guarantees the Mountaineers will play in one of the two Wednesday games in the Big 12 event, which pit the Nos. 8 and 9 teams and Nos. 7 and 10. The winners move into the quarterfinal bracket with the top six teams on Thursday.
Kansas (25-4, 13-3), meanwhile, stayed atop the Big 12 standings in pursuit of a ninth consecutive regular-season title.
Dominique Rutledge surprisingly led West Virginia with his first-ever double-double, 17 points and 13 rebounds. Henderson made the first five 3-pointers he attempted and finished with six while scoring a team-high 20 points. Eron Harris had 11 points, but missed 13 of his 17 shots. The Mountaineers shot just 32.8 percent.
McLemore, meanwhile, was nearly unstoppable. He made 12 of his 15 shots, including five of his six 3-point attempts.
"We wanted to pressure him and make him uncomfortable,'' Henderson said of McLemore, who more than doubled his season average of 15.9 points. "Obviously we didn't. No one did.''
Still, for a while this was going all West Virginia's way. But then came the perfect example of how quickly things can change in front of that loud crowd.
Leading 16-9 after a pair of 3-pointers by Henderson and a three-point play by Deniz Kilicli, West Virginia seemed ready to go up by nine when Jabarie Hinds tipped away an inbounds pass, chased it down and was heading for a layup.
But in short order, his layup was blocked from behind by Elijah Johnson. Harris got the rebound and drove the baseline for a dunk, but that was blocked by Withey. Just as quickly, Travis Releford was heading the other way for a dunk, Hinds was turning the ball over and McLemore was driving to the basket again.
It all took roughly 20 seconds and by the time it was over, WVU's potential nine-point lead had become just a three-point edge. West Virginia would hang around and maintain the lead for another few minutes, but ultimately it began the rout.
"They saw him run down there and block that shot and it got them into the game,'' Henderson said of the crowd.
Huggins agreed that the series was the turning point, but not because of the crowd factor.
"Is it a block or a goal-tend?'' Huggins asked. "But then, for reasons unbeknownst to me, we throw the ball to them again. And then it just took off.''
Kansas would lead by 14 at halftime and it was never again into single digits. The Jayhawks' biggest lead was 29 points.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1