No. 2 Kansas beats Texas Tech for share of 12th straight Big 12 title
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Jamari Traylor handed Kansas forward Perry Ellis a pair of navy blue scissors to take the final snips of the net, and with them the crowd in Allen Fieldhouse began to chant his name.
"It feels great," Ellis said after celebrating the second-ranked Jayhawks’ 67-58 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday that wrapped up a share of their 12th straight Big 12 title. "You think of all the hard work and all of the hours you put in. It all pays off in the end. It’s a relief."
Svi Mykhailiuk came off the bench to score 17 points, and Frank Mason III added 16 for the Jayhawks (25-4, 13-3), while Ellis — the stoic senior who’s been a part of four of those titles — contributed eight points and five rebounds in helping to extend one of college basketball’s remarkable streaks.
The only school to win more consecutive conference championships was UCLA, which won 13 in a row during the 1960s and ’70s. The Jayhawks can win their eighth outright title during their streak with a win Monday night at No. 25 Texas or in their regular-season finale against No. 17 Iowa State.
"Sometimes winning is a relief and losing is the end of the Earth," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. "This feels better than a relief. I’m really proud of our kids. They’ve really tried hard and they’ve given us what they’ve got."
Toddrick Gotcher hit five 3s and led the Red Raiders (18-10, 8-8) with 20 points.
"We made a lot of mistakes," Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said. "We turned the ball over 14 times. We can’t do that against any team, let alone Kansas on the road."
Both teams rolled out to slow starts — Texas Tech committed a shot-clock violation on its first possession — and it wasn’t until Mykhailiuk got going that the Jayhawks found any sort of rhythm.
The sophomore sharpshooter hit his fourth 3-pointer to give Kansas a 37-29 halftime lead.
"That was a big 3 by them," Gotcher said.
The start of the second half was just as sloppy, with the Red Raiders committing three turnovers in the first couple of minutes. Kansas was able to capitalize on the miscues with Devonte Graham dishing to Wayne Selden Jr. for a quick layup during what became a 10-0 run.
Suddenly, the Red Raiders were in an 18-point hole nearing the midpoint of the half.
Texas Tech, which had won five straight games to get into NCAA Tournament contention, made one big run to get back in the game. Gotcher was the catalyst for it, getting fouled by Mykhailiuk beyond the 3-point line with 9 minutes left and making all of his free throws.
Then, moments later, Selden committed the first of three turnovers during the stretch, and Aaron Ross made a couple free throws to get within 56-46 with 7 minutes left.
But the Jayhawks, one of the most veteran teams in the league, kept their composure, and Mykhailiuk hit his final 3 with just over 4 minutes left to make it 61-50 and usher Kansas to the finish.
"He looks like a pro," Self said of Mykhailiuk. "The way he played at K-State coming in, those were as good of looking plays that anybody’s made for us this year. Jumping up and shooting 3s in transition, confident. … We needed him and he stepped up big time."
Every player on the Kansas roster was in elementary school the last time the Jayhawks didn’t win at least a share of the Big 12 title. That was during Self’s first season in 2003-04.
"Everybody is selfish in their own right. Why would we want anybody else to recruit to being the Big 12 champion? I don’t know of any coach out there (who would)." — Self on the streak of Big 12 titles.
Kansas: Mykhailiuk was 6 for 7 from the field and perfect on five 3-point attempts. … Selden finished with three points on 1-for-8 shooting. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts. … The Jayhawks have won nine straight games.
Texas Tech: Ross had eight points on 2-for-10 shooting. … The Red Raiders shot just 31 percent as a team. … Texas Tech has still never won in Allen Fieldhouse.
Texas Tech visits No. 14 West Virginia on Wednesday.
Kansas visits No. 25 Texas on Monday.