Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Big 12 rivalry ends with a classic


LAWRENCE, Kan. — It was the best atmosphere that Kansas coach Bill Self could remember. Thomas Robinson said the Jayhawks rose to another level. Tyshawn Taylor simply smiled, shook his head in disbelief and tried to describe his emotions.

"I'm so proud of my teammates," he said finally. "They stuck it out, man."

In the final scheduled game between Kansas and Missouri, it was only fitting the bitter adversaries in the Big 12 would need five extra minutes to decide it.

Robinson's three-point play in the waning moments of regulation kept their 105-year-old rivalry alive, and Taylor's free throws with 8.3 seconds left in overtime gave the fourth-ranked Jayhawks a dramatic 87-86 victory over the No. 3 Tigers on Saturday.

"That couldn't have been scripted a lot better for us," said Self, whose team wrapped up a share of an unprecedented eighth straight conference championship. "I'm not the most emotional guy, but that's about as good as it gets."

Missouri, which blew a 19-point second-half lead, never got off a winning try after Taylor's two free throws. Michael Dixon was boxed in by Robinson as he tried to get to the basket, and the buzzer eventually sounded on a series steeped in tradition.

"These guys played their hearts out. We left it on the court," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "I read everything; we weren't supposed to be in the game. We came out and competed."

Robinson finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds for Kansas (24-5, 14-2 Big East), which sent the Tigers off to the SEC with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Taylor added 24 points and five assists, and Connor Teahan sank all four of his 3-pointers as the Jayhawks mounted their big second-half charge.

"Just the whole situation combined made it one of the best victories I've been a part of," said Teahan, who was a freshman on the 2008 national championship team.

Marcus Denmon had 28 points to lead Missouri (25-4, 12-4). Ricardo Ratliffe had 22 points, Dixon 17 and Kim English 11.

"We had the game in our hands," English said. "We gave them a gift."

The Tigers were controlling the game early in the second half, but Kansas methodically chopped away, Robinson working inside and the Jayhawks taking advantage of the Tigers' foul trouble.

Robinson's basket inside with 2:28 left got the Jayhawks within 71-70, and Travis Releford answered a basket by Denmon with two free throws. Ratliffe restored a three-point lead with two free throws, but the Jayhawks still had time to draw even.

Robinson took a feed in the post and backed down Dixon, getting his leaner to go as he was undercut for the foul. His free throw with 16.1 seconds left tied it at 75.

NO. 1 KENTUCKY 83, VANDY 74: Freshman Anthony Davis scored a career-high 28 on 10-of-11 shooting, and the Wildcats (28-1, 14-0 SEC) won the conference regular-season title for the 45th time with their 51st straight home victory.

NO. 2 SYRACUSE 71, UCONN 69: Fab Melo hit a follow-up dunk with 31 seconds left, and the visiting Orange (29-1, 16-1 Big East) clinched the league regular-season title despite blowing a 17-point second-half lead.

NO. 5 DUKE 70, VA. TECH 65, OT: Austin Rivers had 23 points and Seth Curry 19 for the host Blue Devils (25-4, 12-2 ACC), who made 6 of 8 free throws in the final minute of overtime to win their sixth straight.

NO. 6 MICH. ST. 62, NEBRASKA 34: Draymond Green had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the host Spartans (24-5, 13-3), who remained in control of the Big Ten race.

NO. 7 UNC 54, NO. 25 UVA 51: Tyler Zeller scored 20, including a critical dunk with 13.3 seconds left and the shot clock winding down for the visiting Tar Heels (25-4, 12-2 ACC). The Cavaliers (21-7, 8-6) played much of the game with leading scorer Mike Scott in foul trouble.

NO. 9 G'TOWN 67, VILLANOVA 46: Freshman Otto Porter had 15 points and six rebounds in his second start of the season, and the host Hoyas (21-6, 11-5 Big East) took sole possession of fourth place in the conference.

PURDUE 75, NO. 11 MICHIGAN 61: Terone Johnson scored a career-high 22 to help the Boilermakers hand the Wolverines (21-8, 11-5 Big Ten) their first home loss of the season in 16 games and boost their own NCAA Tournament chances.

NO. 13 BAYLOR 70, OKLA. 60: Pierre Jackson scored 18 and hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer that started a late 13-2 spurt for the host Bears (24-5, 11-5 Big 12).

NO. 14 MURRAY ST. 69, TENN. TECH 64: Isaiah Canaan scored 18, and the Racers (28-1, 15-1 Ohio Valley) finished undefeated on the road for the first time in school history.

TCU 83, NO. 18 NEW MEXICO 64: Amric Fields scored eight in a row within 48 seconds in a tiebreaking run for the Horned Frogs, who routed the Lobos (22-6, 8-4 Mountain West) for their second straight win at home over a ranked team.

NO. 19 WICHITA ST. 81, DRAKE 58: Ben Smith had 18 points to lead a balanced offense for the host Shockers (26-4, 16-2), who had already clinched the Missouri Valley regular-season championship going in but celebrated their first title since 2006.

ST. JOHN'S 61, NO. 20 NOTRE DAME 58: Moe Harkless had 22 points and nine rebounds for the host Red Storm, which beat a ranked team for the first time in 11 games this season and stopped a program-record nine-game conference winning streak by the Fighting Irish (20-9, 12-4 Big East).

NO. 21 UNLV 68, AIR FORCE 58: Senior Chace Stanback scored 21 for the host Runnin' Rebels (24-6, 8-4 Mountain West) to pass Reggie Theus for 23rd place on the school's all-time scoring list. Stanback has 1,187 points in his career.

SAINT JOE'S 82, NO. 22 TEMPLE 72: The host Hawks snapped Temple's 11-game winning streak and kept the Owls (22-6, 11-3 Atlantic 10) from clinching the conference regular-season title.


UCF 63, UTEP 45: Isaiah Sykes had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Knights (20-8, 9-5 C-USA), who improved to 15-1 at home.

FLA. TECH 82, TAMPA 74: The Panthers rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit, and the host Spartans (6-20, 2-14 Sunshine State) fell in their season finale.

ECKERD 74, LYNN 58: Seniors Wayne Sears had 16 points and Lance Kearse 11 in their regular-season finale as the host Tritons (19-7, 11-5 SSC) snapped a two-game skid.

SAINT LEO 61, BARRY 56: Trent Thomas had 20 points for the visiting Lions (16-10, 10-6 SSC), who finished the regular season with seven straight wins.


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