Jayhawks know how to party on Senior Night, wallop Texas Tech

Tarik Black finished with a game-high 19 points and six rebounds in his final game at Allen Fieldhouse.  


Orlin Wagner/AP

LAWRENCE, Kan. — This is how you draw up a Senior Night.

You bolt to an early lead, take the fight out of your opponent, then blow the game wide open, so much so that you can give minutes to the seniors who have had scarce playing time throughout their careers.

That’s exactly what transpired Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse as the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks simply outclassed and overwhelmed Texas Tech, 82-57 — the same Texas Tech team that required a heroic last-second shot by freshman Andrew Wiggins for the Jayhawks to beat a couple of weeks ago.

No such drama required this time around.

And fittingly, it was a senior, albeit one who will be one-and-done in Lawrence like Wiggins, who paved the way.

Tarik Black, the transfer from Memphis, played his best game as a Jayhawk, hitting all nine shots he took from the floor. He finished with a game-high 19 points and six rebounds.

Lookin’ good! CLICK HERE to check out our gallery of cheerleaders from around the Big 12.

Black was virtually perfect on what he described as a perfect night emotionally.

"If I asked for anything more tonight, it would seem ungrateful," Black said.

Black was one of three seniors playing their final game at Allen Fieldhouse. Seldom-used Justin Wesley and Niko Roberts were the others.

"This is one of the reasons you come to Kansas," Black said. "It’s nights like this. The fans were great."

Coach Bill Self echoed those sentiments.

"One of the reasons kids pick to go here is the fans," Self said. "It’s the fans sticking around on Senior Night until past 10 o’clock to hear the seniors and then having to drive home late."

Wiggins, who could be the first pick in the NBA Draft, also played what almost surely will be his last game at Allen Fieldhouse.

"I don’t think it’s hit me how quick this year went by," Wiggins said. "I’m happy and sad. I’ve enjoyed it here. The reason I signed here was because I was at last year’s Senior Night. The fans are so great."

Wiggins didn’t need to contribute much Wednesday. He scored just nine points in 23 minutes, but hit the first 3-pointer after intermission that spurred a 24-8 Jayhawks run that blew the game open.

Nadir Tharpe, who had 16 points, scored eight in that stretch.

It was all too much for Texas Tech (13-17, 5-12 Big 12), which seemed to lose its spirit early on.

"It all went downhill pretty fast," Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said.

Smith admitted there wasn’t much he could tell his troops to inspire them.

"It was a matter of intelligence tonight, or lack thereof," he said. "We didn’t play smart. … There isn’t much a coach can do."

Meanwhile, the Jayhawks (23-7, 14-3) officially celebrated their Big 12 title with T-shirts and hats, to a roaring crowd, of course.

It was a celebration that Self had declined having after Saturday’s loss at Oklahoma State, even though Kansas clinched the title that night.

"I don’t know anyone who celebrates after a loss," Self said. "That’s like celebrating your birthday after you got fired that day. Who does that?

"I guess we could have celebrated after we beat Oklahoma that clinched a tie. But I’ve never been the guy who celebrates ties. But you know, this group of guys, they really aren’t into celebrations that much."

Yet there was plenty of love passed around after the game to Black, Wesley (one block in nine minutes) and Roberts (one point in six minutes) as the trio made their farewell speeches.

"They are all great kids and they have all contributed in different ways," Self said. "They’re all good teammates. They all get it."

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.