Kansas Jayhawks: Big 12 Number One Nabs 11th Straight


The Kansas Jayhawks had already earned at worst a tie for the Big 12 Conference regular season championship prior to Tuesday’s home tilt with West Virginia.

They didn’t want to share though.

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That’s fine in pre-school, but at Allen Fieldhouse the Jayhawks keep the winning to themselves.

It didn’t look that way early on, as West Virginia built a 17-6 lead, before heading in to the locker room, up 40-26.

Considering Kansas had won 189 of its previous 198 games in the building, there was not yet a sense of urgency.

Uncomfortable? Sure. Urgent, nah.

That emotion was saved for the 1:55 mark with the Jayhawks down eight, and a Tarik Phillip 3-point attempt sailing through the air. If that ball had gone through the hoop, West Virginia parties on the plane ride home.

Bob Huggins would be burning money like he just earned $25,000 for beating Kansas.

Instead, it bounced off the rim, Brannen Greene was fouled after grabbing the rebound, and the Jayhawks scratched and clawed their way to a tie after 40 minutes

Jamari Traylor did his best Superman impression in overtime, and the rest is history.

There is no doubt the Allen Fieldhouse crowd played a huge part in this victory. The fans, to their credit, did not get discouraged or leave despite trailing by 18 at one point.

No, they had seen plenty of comebacks before, and knew their support goes a long way in frustrating opponents and lifting up the home team.

However, the fight in every single player on the court had more to do with the comeback.

Hunter Mickelson, a rarely used junior big man, made all of his 13 minutes count with eight points (on 4-of-4 shooting), three steals, two assists, two rebounds, and a block.

Frank Mason III scored a team-high 19 points, and continually found a way to knife through the defense for acrobatic layups.

Kelly Oubre, Jr. had critical and-one baskets when they were needed, Devonte’ Graham hit two free throws with 10.5 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, Traylor just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Cliff Alexander cheered on his teammates from the bench.

This team has had some rough moments (losing twice by 25-plus points, the Alexander suspension), but consecutive conference championship number 11 is in the books with loftier goals still to be met.

The Jayhawks will finish the regular season Saturday at Oklahoma with mainly an NCAA Tournament seed to play for and nothing else — except for pride.

That is something all of these Jayhawks have.

Oubre showed his for the school, and fans, after the game by cheering with them from court level. Self let everyone in attendance know how much he appreciated their support as well during his Senior Night speech.

He knows how special this accomplishment is to the players, coaches and fans alike.

Now that, is something worth sharing.

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Naming the All-Bill Self KU Teams

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