LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas was not exactly handed the Big 12 basketball trophy Monday.
Nonetheless, the Jayhawks weathered an upset bid by Oklahoma and downed the No. 8 Sooners, 83-75, in Allen Fieldhouse as junior guard Naadir Tharpe scored a team-high 19 points to lead a balanced Kansas attack.
The victory assured Kansas at least a share of its 10th consecutive Big 12 championship.
Oklahoma kept the game tight throughout the second half after coming out of the break on a 9-2 run. A follow shot by freshman guard Andrew Wiggins with 8:43 left gave the Jayhawks a 60-59 advantage and they maintained the lead the rest of the game.
The win was the fourth in a row and sixth in seven games for Kansas, which improved to 22-6 and 13-2 in the Big 12. Oklahoma, which could have claimed sole possession of second place with a win, dropped to 20-8 and 9-6.
Each of the Kansas starters scored in double figures as Wiggins netted 15 points, as did freshman guard Wayne Selden. Freshman center Joel Embiid added a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while sophomore forward Perry Ellis added 11 points.
Tharpe, who added a team-high five assists, converted a fast-break layup with 3:15 remaining, then added a pull-up jumper at the 2:20 mark and drove for another hoop with 56 seconds left. Wiggins also nailed a 3-pointer with 2:43 remaining as the Jayhawks scored field goals on four straight trips to break away late.
Before dribbling out the clock on the last possession, Kansas scored on seven consecutive trips. Tharpe went 4-for-4 from the foul line for the final scoring.
Senior guard Cameron Clark netted 18 points to pace the Sooners, who gave Kansas a scare after falling to the Jayhawks, 90-83, on Jan. 8.
That game served as Kansas’ league opener. Since then, the Jayhawks mounted another run to a Big 12 title by winning all their conference home games. In addition, the win against Oklahoma was the 12th in the last 13 meetings.
Kansas scored on each of its first eight possessions to establish a 15-4 lead, then looked sloppy for much of the first half.
Oklahoma recovered and led 33-32 with 2:55 remaining before the Jayhawks went on another tear and scored 10 unanswered points to close the half with a 42-33 lead.
Selden led the surge, scoring seven consecutive points before freshman guard Frank Mason tacked on a 3-pointer to close the 10-0 run.
All of Selden’s first-half buckets were from 3-point range, and he scored 13 points to pace the Jayhawks. Clark, who matched a career high with 32 points in a home-court loss to Kansas earlier in the season, led Oklahoma with 13 first-half points on 4-for-8 shooting.
A 13-2 flurry by Oklahoma, which included three-point plays by Clark and guard Je’lon Hornbeak, enabled the Sooners to tie the score at 17 after they fell behind at the outset. Still, the Sooners shot just 35.5 percent (11 of 31) before halftime.
NOTES: By guaranteeing at least a share of its 10th Big 12 championship, Kansas moved into third on the list of longest championship streaks. The longer runs belong to UCLA (13, Pac-10, 1967-79) and Gonzaga (11, West Coast, 2001-11). … Among teams with active streaks of conference championships, Belmont and Murray State rank second nationally with four each. … The Jayhawks’ string of league titles began in 2005. … Kansas is the only Big 12 program with a winning record against Oklahoma. The Jayhawks hold a 141-65 advantage in the series. … Oklahoma is the only program in the nation that has started the same lineup in every game this season. Each starter averages in double-figure scoring, and the first five account for 77 percent of the team’s points.
- Cavaliers’ J.B. Bickerstaff names almost half the roster as potential starters
- Thunder G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander thinks losing will end soon
- Nikola Jokic: “I want to be the Tim Duncan of the Denver Nuggets”
- Draymond Green open to playing for Dallas, Detroit, or L.A.
- New NBA app launches today for the 2022-23 season
Main Page1 week ago
Bucks sign guard Iverson Molinar to one-year, $1.02 million deal
Main Page2 weeks ago
NBA League Pass for Australians now 48% cheaper in 2022
NBA6 days ago
Jayson Tatum recalls smashing Michael Jordan’s wine glass at dinner
NBA6 days ago
Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards hit with $40,000 fine for homophobic remarks