(LAWRENCE, Kan.) — For the tenth consecutive year the Kansas University men’s basketball team will have at least a share of the Big 12 Championship. On Monday, the fifth-ranked Jayhawks (22-6, 13-2 Big 12) defeated Oklahoma 83-57 to clinch at least a share of the conference crown.
Despite trailing by nine at halftime, the Sooners (20-8, 9-6 Big 12) made things interesting in the second half. Oklahoma went on a 13-4 run to start the frame and tied the contest at 46-46 five minutes in before eventually taking a 58-54 lead. Kansas then made a run of their own, scoring 12 of the next 15 points to regain control of the game at 64-61 before holding on for the win.
Five Jayhawks scored in double figures as Naadir Thorpe led the way with 19 points. Freshman Andrew Wiggins had 15 as well while classmate Joel Embiid recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Oklahoma, which has not won at Phog Allen Field House since 1993, was paced by Cameron Clark’s 18 points.
Kansas holds a three-game edge in the Big 12 with three more games remaining and can win the conference championship outright with their next victory.
“In a league this competitive, thought by many to be the toughest league in the country,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said, “a three-game lead with three to play is pretty special.”
The Jayhawks’ run of 10 straight conference titles is third most all-time, behind Gonzaga’s stretch of 11 consecutive West Coast Conference titles from 2001-11, and UCLA’s dominance of the Pac-10 winning 13 in a row from 1967-1979. It is also the 57th conference championship for Kansas, the most in NCAA history.
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Billy Hallowell, Deseret News
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