Kansas clinches 13th straight Big 12 title outright
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Every season somebody emerges to challenge Kansas for supremacy in the Big 12 – an Oklahoma here, a Texas there, this year Baylor and West Virginia for a spell.
Nobody ever passes the Jayhawks.
Josh Jackson scored 18 points and Frank Mason III added 16 to help No. 3 Kansas beat Texas 77-67 on Saturday night to secure its 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season championship outright.
Devonte Graham and Dwight Coleby added 12 points apiece for the Jayhawks (26-3, 14-2 Big 12) who have won six straight games.
Graham said he never worried about the string of titles getting severed this season.
”I don’t want to sound cocky, but no, I don’t think we had that doubt that we would be that team that breaks the streak,” Graham said.
Kansas has shared four of the 13 titles. Coach Bill Self said the victory over TCU on Wednesday to earn at least a share of the title was bigger than the win at Texas.
”But it’s still nice not to share,” Self said.
Jarrett Allen led Texas (10-19, 4-12) with 20 points. Andrew Jones added 18 for the Longhorns, losers of five straight games.
Texas committed 15 turnovers, six by guard Kerwin Roach Jr., and Kansas converted them into 28 points. Roach did contribute nine points six assists and four steals.
Kansas used a 12-0 push in the first half to take a 13-point lead before settling for a 40-31 edge at the break. Coleby, a little-used forward who averages 1.2 points a game, scored 10 in the half, converting 4 of 5 shots inside.
The Longhorns cut the lead to five with a 3-point basket by Jacob Young midway through the second half, but Kansas responded with an 8-1 run and eventually led by 15 with less than three minutes remaining. Mason and Jackson scored four points apiece during that span.
Texas coach Shaka Smart said his team could not sustain the approach required to beat Kansas.
”Against Kansas, you have to be aggressive,” Smart said. ”We were just too timid to start the game. We got into a stretch where we got some aggressiveness going. We didn’t sustain that level of aggressiveness. If you want to win games like that, you have to go at people.”
Kansas: The Jayhawks have won 12 of their last 13 games against Texas, including seven straight, giving them a 29-8 edge since the Big 12 began competition in 1996-97. Texas did, however finish in a first-place tie with the Jayhawks during two of these 13 straight Kansas Big 12 regular season championships – in 2006 and 2008. The Longhorns beat Kansas in Austin both seasons.
Texas: The Longhorns are 4-4 in Big 12 home games. Before Saturday, their largest margin of victory or defeat was four points.
A BIG HELP
Coleby’s 12 points matched a career best for the 6-foot-9 junior who transferred to Kansas from Mississippi and sat out last season to regain his eligibility. Coleby missed a season of practice time after tearing the ACL in his left knee in September 2015. He played 13 minutes against Texas after averaging fewer than five in 16 games before Saturday. Coleby said he had no idea he was going to receive more playing time.
Dwight played great,” Self said. ”I thought he was as good as anybody we had today.”
Allen, the Texas freshman, scored a season-best 22 points against Kansas earlier this season and produced 20 more on Saturday. Allen, a McDonald’s All-American from the Austin area, chose Texas over Kansas as his college destination.
Considering the way Allen has played against Kansas, Self said, ”We should be the one that’s mad at him since he picked Texas over us. He shouldn’t be mad at us. But I think he’s great.”
Kansas is at home against Oklahoma on Monday. The Jayhawks beat Oklahoma 81-70 on Jan. 10 with Mason scoring 28 points, including five 3-point baskets.
Texas is at Texas Tech on Monday. The Longhorns beat the Red Raiders 62-58 on Feb. 1 in Austin. Eric Davis Jr. made a big 3-point basket with 28.8 seconds remaining for Texas, which does not have a road win this season.