Kansas Grabs A Share Of Eighth-Straight Conference Crown
Feb. 26, 2012
For the eighth straight time Kansas has clinched at least a share of the Big 12 regular season conference title, after defeating No. 3 Missouri, 87-86, in overtime. Junior forward Thomas Robinson combined with senior guard Tyshawn Taylor to score 52 points and propel Kansas to the top of the Big 12 standings with a two game lead over Missouri. Kansas head coach Bill Self, in his ninth year at KU, was gratified by his team’s accomplishment.
“To me, it is not about the last time we played (Missouri); even though that is what you guys will focus on,” said Self during the post-game press conference. “To me, it is about this team winning its eighth-straight championship.”
The Allen Fieldhouse crowd held its collective breath as Robinson launched himself for a block at the end of regulation to preserve the tie. When Robinson fell after smacking the ball away from the rim, 16,300 fans erupted in a celebration that rocked the stands as the buzzer signaled the end of regulation. With a historic court that has seen a number of fantastic finishes, the Jayhawks’ performance along with the energy from the stands helped to create another indelible moment.
“It has never been better than the last 10 or 15 minutes of regulation and, of course, the last five minutes (overtime),” commented Self on the atmosphere. “It was a special day for us.”
In a game that had 18 lead changes and 14 ties, Kansas would ride the crowd’s momentum through overtime. Taylor, the Hoboken, N.J. native, kept the offense alive scoring nine of the Jayhawks’ 12 points during the extra period. Robinson finished the game with 28 points and 12 rebounds en route to his Big 12-leading 20th double-double of the season. Kansas overcame a record tying 19 point deficit at home in order to outlast Missouri.
“For this team to come as far as it has and win an eighth straight (conference title),” said Self, when asked of his excitement concluding the game. “And I’m not the most emotional guy, but that was as good as it gets.”
In the 16 years of the Big 12’s existence Kansas has been crowned conference champion 12 times. The current streak of Kansas success is now two championships greater than that of the six conference titles won by KU in the Missouri Valley Conference from 1921-1927 under former coach Phog Allen.
“The thing about our players is, just because the roster changes, the expectations don’t,” Self concluded. “And they committed to it and certainly they have amazed me, to be real candid.”