Kansas basketball revenge tour is over.
Now comes Act II – the playoffs.
The top-ranked Jayhawks won a 66-62 victory over Texas Tech at Lubbock on Saturday, finishing a perfect conference record away from Allen Fieldhouse and extending their current winning streak to 16.
Now locked in the No. 1 seed of the Big 12 tournament, KU will then play the No. 8 or No. 9 seed in a quarterfinal Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. No matter what’s going on there, it’s clear: the Jayhawks are a virtual lock to host the No. 1 seed at this year’s NCAA tournament.
Devon Dotson finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Jayhawks, who have also won 19 of their last 20 games. Udoka Azubuike (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Ochai Agbaji (12 points) completed the double-digit scorers for KU.
In the end, the Jayhawks didn’t need a win against the Red Raiders to reach their biggest goal early in the afternoon. KU, who won at least a share of the Big 12 regular season championship with their win on TCU on Wednesday, won the league in the middle of Saturday’s game due to second place and 76-64 loss to Baylor , ranked 4th in the west. Virginia.
“Definitely proud of our children,” said KU coach Bill Self in a post-game radio interview. “To think … two weeks ago we lost a game with four games left and you win the league (by two games). We obviously close 4-0 and (Baylor) close 1-3. Win this league by two games, incredible. “
The KU conference title is his first since a record streak of 14 consecutive league crowns was beaten last season by co-champions Texas Tech and Kansas State.
“Our guys didn’t know that (Baylor) ‘s game was over,” said Self. “I got mad at them during the timeout for the under-seven when (Texas Tech) made the connection. I said, “You guys, all we do is play for pride. West Virginia beat Baylor by 12.” They just looked at me. I said, “We play just for pride. Go ahead, have fun. “And they participated in the competition.”
The Jayhawks (28-3, 17-1 Big 12) led by eight at half time after running 12-2 in the locker room.
The Red Raiders (18-12, 9-8), who converted a single placement attempt in the last eight minutes of the first period, shot 30.3% in the first 20 minutes and only scored six of 21 of their 2 points. try. A 3-point pointer by Dotson – he had nine points, five rebounds and four assists before the break – crowned the unbalanced half-time rally as KU led intermission 32-24.
It was another shooting slippage, this time from the Jayhawks, that opened the door to Texas Tech for him to come home.
The Red Raiders took advantage of a Jayhawks two-on-12 shooting streak to briefly take the lead, 44-43, on a layup by Kevin McCullar with 10:47 remaining. The Agbaji’s three rocked the KU’s skid, but Chris Beard’s crew didn’t leave – a TJ Holyfield three blocked the game at 57 and forced Jayhawk to a timeout two minutes from the end.
But Azubuike, who alongside Dotson is a favorite for Big 12 player of the year, put KU in the lead with an emphatic dunk at second chance.
“It was a great victory,” said Self. “It was a pressureless game. The two teams didn’t really have much to play other than pride and perhaps a starting line. I thought we were good and we certainly played games on the stretch. “
Moretti had an 18-point high and Holyfield 11 for the Red Raiders.
“Even bigger than this weekend, we have placed ourselves in a favorable position,” said Self. “I hope we can rest. … It was a grind. We also need to refresh our heads. “