KUAD: Postgame Box Score, Notes, Pressers, Senior Speech
Jayhawk Slant Photos
KC Star Photos
AUDIO: Game Highlights with Bob Davis and Greg Gurley
KUAD Video: Christian Garrett Senior Speech
KC Star: A Year by Year look at the Big 12 Titles
LJW: Ranking Bill Self’s Best Coaching Jobs in Last 11 Years
This was Kansas' 18th undefeated season in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks have won every Senior Night since 1983. #PayHeed #KUbball
One of the craziest games I've ever been to!
"Mountain-tears" sign of the game?
Frank Mason was made to play against West Virginia. CBB's version of a goal line running back. FEARLESS! #kubball
Outstanding postgame handshake between Self and Huggins. They know this was a great game.
Bill Self is now 190-9 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse during his tenure at Kansas. No words. #kubball
Bill Self still has never been swept by a team in the Big 12 regular season.
Kansas wins the Big 12 title outright. That's 11 league titles in a row. And now we know the truth. Bill Self is Morpheus. Only explanation.
11 straight League titles in any sport is no joke. Congrats to @CoachBillSelf and @KUHoops on being the #BigXII #OneTrueChampion!
Wow. Emotionally exhausted covering this league. #Big12MBB is crazy. Can NOT wait for Tourney next week in Kanas City!!!!
Congrats @CoachBillSelf and the JAYHAWKS on an incredible win! Wow! #RockChalk #Big12Champs
@KUHoops clinches 11th straight Big 12 regular-season championship, beating WVU 76-69 in OT. 42 points in paint, 34 FT, Zero jump shots.
Man I played terrible all night. But what a team effort that was to come back and win that one. I love my team and you fans !!!!!!
11 straight!! All glory to God!!!
We did it, when the whole nation doubted us.. Big 12 Champs ! #11straight
So proud of this team, everything was going wrong and when the going got tough this team stepped up big time ! And i played unacceptable, but my team really fought and a lot of players came up big and I couldn't be more proud of these guys..
Mason said he can’t tell us what Self told the team at halftime because it wasn’t nice.
11 STRAIGHT BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS #RockChalkJayHawk
If you are persistent you will get it....if you are consistent you will keep it #11Straight #big12champs #MoreRingsThanFingers
Bout start calling this fool #TOP10MARI--
I see you bruh @J_mari31
They come by mastering that tempestuous line between energy and focus, between rising to the moment and not letting that moment become too big.
There have been a lot of moments in this gym, of course. A lot of times a Kansas basketball team looked like it would lose but got a Jacque Vaughn three-pointer or Thomas Robinson block or Jamari Traylor dunk and mean-mugging his bench for the kind of win you had to see the highlights later to process.
Kansas had some kind of moments Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse, decibels and tension filling the air — moments when a 76-69 overtime win felt impossible before slowly materializing in front of another sellout crowd and national television audience.
…The picture of a comeback is Jamari Traylor sprinting toward the rim, a touch pass from Selden landing in his hands, and then jumping as high and as hard as his legs allow toward the rim.
He slams it in with his right hand, the official calls a foul, and Traylor’s scowl toward his bench will probably be edited into the pregame hype video next season. By now, the Jayhawks lead by four, with 3 minutes left in overtime. As unlikely as this comeback is, it’s nearly impossible to imagine them giving it up.
This is an outrageous game, one of those nights that even years from now the coaches and players involved will remember.
…They have been terrific and they have been awful, often in the same game, but have won the Big 12 outright. They played what is widely regarded as the toughest schedule in the country, and have beaten teams like Michigan State and Utah and Florida and now everyone in the Big 12 at least once.
This win in particular came from Frank Mason making more big plays, Kelly Oubre continuing a remarkably calm emergence, Devonte Graham making two free throws at the end of regulation, and KU making an outrageous 34 of 43 free throws.
This win came from a hundred small moments, each of them dependent in varying degrees on luck and years of preparation to take advantage. There is so much behind each of those highlights you see.
The story of a comeback like this will be told for years, those moments meshing together into a wild night that will be remembered among many wild nights in this building.
KC Star Mellinger
He added ... “The MRI was very positive. It’s a sprained knee. With so many things going on, I’ll not say we’ll try to get him to practice Friday for Saturday. I don’t think that’s realistic. Doctors said it was realistic getting back next week but could be pushing it (for Saturday at OU). I will not say he won’t play Saturday, but the likelihood is not good.”
…“I didn’t have any nerves, ice water in my veins (on the two free throws),” Graham said after scoring 10 points and hitting six of eight free throws. Mason hit 11 of 12 free throws and had 19 points in 42 minutes.
“I stepped up to the line and was saying, ‘Game time. Game time.’ I had to make the free throws even though I missed a couple before that,” Graham added.
The game-winning points in overtime came off a vicious slam by Traylor with 3:02 left, breaking a 65-65 tie. He hit one of two free throws at 2:08, giving KU a 68-65 lead.
Mason went all coast to coast for a layup at 1:23 to up a 68-66 lead to four points. Mason then hit two free throws at :44.4 and KU was up six, 72-66
Daxter Miles Jr. hit a three to make it interesting, 72-69, at 31.3. However, Mason made two free throws at 16.6 seconds to up the lead to four and give KU breathing room.
“For a bunch of young kids to win that game ... how that game went, they hung in there. I’m tired,” Self gasped. “I think all our coaches are tired.”
Of prevailing on Senior Night once again, Self joked: “We were almost the asterisk.”
It’s a source of pride for Langford, a former Kansas star who was there for the streak’s origin during the 2004-05 season, his senior year in Lawrence. It’s also a source of mild regret.
“I watch sometimes, and when the commentators mention the streak and how long it's been, I cringe,” Langford told The Star this week in an interview from Russia, where he’s playing for BC UNICS. “I cringe because the class I was a part of won three out of four, so I cringe at what could have been had we found a way to get it together that third season.”
Indeed. The Jayhawks finished 12-4 in the Big 12 in 2003-04, tying for second place in Bill Self’s first year at Kansas and the junior season for Langford, Aaron Miles, Wayne Simien and Michael Lee. First-place Oklahoma State took the title at 14-2. So while KU fans discuss the 11 straight titles, Langford thinks of a streak that could be at 14 straight years, one better than UCLA’s record of 13 straight conference titles in the Pac-8 and Pac-10.
“(John) Wooden's UCLA record would have been broken already,” Langford said. “I seriously hope coach Self and those guys are able to pull through.”
Langford, though, has been amazed by the consistency of the Kansas program. He watched up close in recent years, watching as his younger brother, Justin Wesley, helped Kansas hit 10 straight titles last season.
“It's so hard to win anything,” Langford said. “I really hope the fans, the teams in the Big 12, the college basketball world and all KU players that have had a hand in this don't take this run for granted.”
Back in 2005, when the streak began on his senior night, Langford said he and his teammates were just focused on making up for the wasted opportunity during the previous year. They did that, giving Self his first Big 12 title, and at the time, Langford remembers thinking how cool it was that Kansas won three Big 12 titles in four seasons.
“Funny thing is,” Langford said, “at that time we thought three out of four was a dominant stretch. Little did we know.”
Mason scored all but five of his 19 points after halftime and carried the Jayhawks to a 76-69 overtime victory. In 42 minutes, Mason skied for seven defensive rebounds, dished three assists, turned it over once and had three steals. Mason made 11 of 12 free throws overall, including all seven in the second half.
The way Mason kept willing himself to the hoop, whittling away at the deficit, was reminiscent of Tyshawn Taylor bringing KU back from a 19-point deficit to victory in the last of the Border War games in Allen Fieldhouse.
Asked about bringing his team back from eight points down with 2:24 left in regulation, Mason referenced another great Kansas comeback.
“Years ago, the 2008 team was down nine with two minutes left and they kept fighting,” he said. “Just keep believing. Know it’s possible.”
Brannen Greene stepped up to the line and knocked down a couple of free throws, and then Jamari Traylor followed with a layup to cut the West Virginia lead to four. However, the Jayhawks still needed to make up the rest of the margin, and time was running out.
Enter Frank Mason III.
The sophomore from Petersburg, Virginia rattled off back-to-back baskets on consecutive possessions, and when the second half had finally come to a close, the Jayhawks had managed to tie the game at 59. At that point, Mason had scored 11 points, but wasn’t even close to being finished.
“I felt like nobody [could] stay in front of me,” Mason said. “Every time I had the ball, I could make something positive happen.”
Mason would rattle off eight more points, accounting for just under 50-percent of the team’s scoring in the extra period, despite having played a game-high 42 minutes. The Jayhawks would go on to win 76-69, despite trailing at one point by 18 points.
After the game, Kansas coach Bill Self couldn’t help but chuckle when asked about his point guard’s performance down the stretch, despite playing so many minutes.
“He’s in great shape,” Self said with a smile.
"It was beautiful," Graham said. "Coach is a good man. He wins a lot of games. He deserves it, Allen Fieldhouse deserves it, fans deserve it.
"I’m just happy we added another one to it."
…"I thought our defense in the second half," Self said, "was about as good as it’s been in a long time."
Mason and Traylor combined for 14 of KU’s 17 points in overtime as the Jayhawks pulled away.
With the victory, KU clinched an outright Big 12 championship, celebrating by cutting down the nets afterwards.
When asked about the streak — KU is tied with 2001-11 Gonzaga for the second-longest conference title streak in Division I history — Self said he was most proud that his team continued to win championships even in years with high roster turnover.
"To me, that’s what’s cool. Faces change, but expectations don’t," Self said. "That’s a reflection of our players and the mindset and the culture."
KU won at home on Senior night for the 32nd straight time and also kept another streak alive. Self, in his 12-year KU tenure, had never allowed a Big 12 opponent to sweep the Jayhawks in the regular season.
Offensive highlight: With 6:50 to play in the first half and KU getting man-handled by the Mountaineers — particularly on the boards — Oubre drove to the rim with a purpose and flushed a two-handed dunk right over WVU's Elijah Macon. There was no flexing or extra smile time for Oubre after the dunk, just a focused and frustrated stare. A little later, during KU's solid offensive spurt to open the second half, Oubre delivered a nifty reverse layup and three-point play that pulled KU within single digits for the first time in a while. And then there was that Traylor hammer dunk in overtime after KU barely broke West Virginia's press with high, crisp passes over the top.
Defensive highlight: During his eight first-half minutes, Hunter Mickelson gave Kansas a lift on both ends of the floor. On one particular play, however, it was his lift off the ground that delivered this defensive highlight. As WVU's Jaysean Paige drove to the rim after picking up a loose ball that bounced off of several hands, Mickelson climbed the ladder and swatted his eight-foot floater out of bounds. The block drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd and was immediately replayed on the video board.
Key stat: Free-throw shooting. West Virginia made just 16-of-28 free throws and missed several crucial charity shots down the stretch to allow KU to force overtime. That advantage for Kansas (34-of-43 from the free throw line) helped erase West Virginia's edge in three-point shooting (27-0) and on the boards (46-34).
That didn’t make it any less painful, however.
“We deserved to win the game,’’ the West Virginia coach said. “We just didn’t do enough at the end.’’
Indeed, if ever there was a game the Mountaineers probably shouldn’t have won as far as conventional wisdom is concerned but should have based on the way they played, this was it.
As improbable as it seemed, woefully-shorthanded West Virginia stayed with No. 9 Kansas Tuesday night. And but for a near-total collapse at the end of regulation, the Mountaineers might have pulled of what would have stood as one of the most stunning upsets in college basketball this season.
…When push came to shove the Mountaineers simply didn’t make the plays down the stretch. And Kansas, playing in front of a raucous sellout crowd at Allen Fieldhouse, seized on every mistake.
…Although it went to overtime, the game for WVU was lost at the end of regulation. After letting much of that 18-point lead slip away West Virginia still went into the final five minutes with a nine-point edge, 55-46. Kansas got it down to 55-49, but a Philip 18-footer made it 57-49. When Kansas went three straight possessions without scoring, the Mountaineers entered the final 2:32 after a television timeout ahead by that same score.
Kansas whittled away at that lead quickly, though, helped along by back-to-back turnovers by the Mountaineers, including a long inbounds pass from Miles that no one went to get. That might have been the fatal blow.
“They played harder than us at the end and they wanted it more,” Miles said shaking his head. “And I think we didn't play as hard as we usually play toward the end of the game. We made some big mistakes at the end of regulation and we made some dumb turnovers. It's hard, man. It's hard.”
“I’ve been blessed. Every year we’ve won the Big 12. We’ve had years we’ve gone rally far in the tournament (Elite Eight, 2010-11; Final Four, 2011-12; Sweet 16, 2012-13). A lot of people don’t even have one ring. To us it’s regular. We expect to have two every year, from going to the Final Four and winning the Big 12. We hope to do the same thing this year. I believe we can.”
Garrett outlined the highlights of his career.
“Going to the Final Four freshman year was crazy. That team was a great team,” Garrett said. “Every person on this team, every coach, people you meet, these are relationships that will last a lifetime. My life has definitely changed since I got here, too. Kansas has a whole different special place in my heart and my life. Hopefully this team will be my last memory. Hopefully we can finish it all the way.”
Despite all that, Self has managed to recruit the Jayhawks as well as any coach who came before him. In many years, he's had an embarrassment of talented riches. The sheer fact that Thomas Robinson came off the bench last season should tell you that much. But even in seasons in which Self lost scores of former stars -- like in 2011, when he lost Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry and Sherron Collins, or this season, when he lost two-thirds of his starting backcourt and both starting forwards to graduation and/or the NBA draft, and lost two incoming freshmen to partial qualifier status in the offseason -- he's managed to get the Jayhawks to the top of the league anyway. There might have been some NCAA tournament upsets along the way, and some have been more dramatic than others, but in the biggest sample sizes, against some of the best college hoops talent of the past decade, Self's Kansas program has prevailed. It's a ridiculous, mind-blowing run of success, and we don't talk about it enough."
If you'll forgive us the self-quote, that's us, writing all the way back on Feb. 27, 2012, after Kansas coach Bill Self had led his program to its eighth-straight Big 12 regular-season title.
Fast-forward three years, and Kansas is astride its league like a colossus. Iowa State's win against Oklahoma on Monday night guaranteed the Jayhawks at least a share of their 11th-straight conference title. Eleven straight! In the Big 12! That the 11th came in one of the best and most punishing editions of the league in decades is just icing on Self's already ridiculous cake. We don't like to quote our old writing. (We hate reading anything we've written, period.) But three years later, it's all still happening. Kansas is still insane. Update the details all you want, but what more is there to say?