Day 4 Seen and Heard at the Big 12 Championships

Day 4 Seen and Heard at the Big 12 Championships

 

By Keith Fletcher, Fox Sports Southwest

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo –

 

Kansas wins men’s Big 12 Championship

 

Kansas won the men’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Championship, running its record in the title matchup to an amazing 7-1, knocking off rival Kansas State, 72-64. Marcus Morris scored 18 points and Tyrel Reed came off the bench to score 15 as the Jayhawks won its seventh title, and did so in front of a large Jayhawk contingent among the 19,000-plus at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. K-State got off to a horrible start, missing its first 12 shots and was scoreless for the first 5:00 of the game.

 

“Having a chance to beat, in our estimation, one of the best teams in the country in a great atmosphere against your state rival in Kansas City makes it a little more special than if we’d been playing anybody else,” said KU head coach Bill Self.

 

Aggies End Huskers’ Undefeated Season

 

The undefeated run of the Nebraska women came to an end against Texas A&M during Saturday’s semifinals at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, 80-70. Danielle Adams, one of three Kansas City natives on the Aggies’ roster, scored 22 points – 20 of which came after halftime. Adams was saddled with early foul trouble and rode the pine most of the first half.

But, Adams’ foul trouble could not hold a candle to that of Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin, the Big 12 Player of the Year who led the league in rebounding and was the second-leading rebounder.  She picked up her second foul 11 minutes into the game and had her third foul with 3:32 left to play in the first half.

 

Griffin never picked up a fourth foul in the second half, as was evident by her timid play, as Adams feasted. When Nebraska saw a 13-point deficit early on at 32-19, it was the biggest hole the Huskers had seen all year. The gap would eventually grow as large as 19 points.  After the game Nebraska coach Connie Yori noted that the Huskers’ success this year has been built on success in practice first and preparing for an opponent. They didn’t have that in the hours between their Quarterfinal win over K-State and Saturday’s noon tip-off with the Aggies.

“Our players are smart. They pick things up. And we didn’t have that opportunity to get out on the court and work on those things,” Yori said.

 

Aggies coach Gary Blair said he told his team that UConn, Stanford and Tennessee would be watching the game to see which team was for real. Still, as Blair often does, he found a way to keep it real after the game. A reporter asked what it means to his team, to knock off a mighty, third-ranked, undefeated Big 12 champion, heading to a Big 12 Championship final for a third year in a row and on the cusp of the the NCAA Tournament.

 

“I think it’s great for us as long as we can keep winning. Hey, the difference between me and you

is probably only a year’s age. I mean, all right, you need a good story, I need another good win,” Blair said to a chorus of laughter.

 

Bedlam Trifecta Sends Sooners to Final

 

Oklahoma will meet Texas A&M in the Championship title game after the Sooners beat Bedlam rival Oklahoma State for the third time this season.

 

OU’s Amanda Thompson grabbed 18 rebounds, 11 in the second half, limiting the Cowgirls to just 15 second-chance points in a 74-69 win.

 

Danielle Robinson led OU with 19 points, but 11 of those came from the free throw line, as she continued to thrash the lane and challenge the Cowgirls’ big people, drawing fouls. She didn’t even have a single three-point attempt. The Sooners now face Texas A&M in Sunday’s 12:30 CT championship game on Fox Sports Net.

 

“A&M is a fantastic team, and I think this tournament has been such a reflection of the strength of this leagure that we talk about all the time,” said OU head coach Sherri Coale. “Nebraska was undefeated. Undefeated! And they lose in the semis of our tournament against a team that played very, very, well. And you see all these close games. Gary alluded to it earlier. Every game has just been a fantastic basketball game.”

 

Riley’s Record-Breaking Weekend Continues

 

The previous Big 12 Championship records for points (88), field goal attempts (80), and field goal makes (35) took former Texas Longhorn Edwina Brown four games to accomplish in the year 2000. In 2010, it took Andrea Riley just two-and-1/2 games to break. Before halftime of Saturday’s semifinal game with Oklahoma, the Cowgirls’ third game of this Championship, she had broken all those records – re-establishing the tournament records at 112 points, 104 field goals attempted and 38 field goals made. Riley played in every second of OSU’s three games, becoming just the second player in Championship history to log 120 minutes in three games – K-State’s Andria Jones in 1997 was the other.

 

“The one I’m most proud of about is the assist record because I don’t really worry about scoring,” Riley said.

 

It should be noted that Riley had three assists on Saturday afternoon and 11 during the entire Championship, which did not put a dent in any record. Riley did have 149 assists as an OSU freshman, a school freshman record, and led all Big 12 freshman that season.  But, nowhere else does she appear on an assist record list in the Big 12 record books.

 

Also Saturday, with her 32 points against the Sooners, Riley also climbed from T-19 to 14th on the NCAA’s all-tiime career scoring chart.