No. 1 Kansas Outlasts No. 2 Oklahoma in a Triple-Overtime Epic, 109-106

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LAWRENCE, Kan.– It took three overtimes for No. 1 Kansas to prevail against No. 2 Oklahoma, 109-106, in one of the finest regular-season contests in the steeped tradition of Jayhawk basketball on Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas relied on two late steals from junior guard Frank Mason III in the third overtime to put the game on ice after two hours and 53 minutes, 55 minutes of regulation, and a combined 215 points. Mason’s first steal setup two made free throws by sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham which put Kansas on top, 107-106, with 15 seconds remaining.

Mason then disrupted an in-bounds pass from Oklahoma star Buddy Hield with 12 seconds remaining for his next steal, which Mason then took into transition where he was fouled. Mason made both of his free throws in the bonus to put Kansas up by three.

Hield missed a 3-point attempt at the final buzzer to give Kansas its 32nd consecutive victory inside Allen Fieldhouse. Hield finished with a game-high 46 points and eight 3-point field goals made to tie the record for most points scored by an opponent inside Allen Fieldhouse

Senior forward Perry Ellis led top-ranked Kansas with 27 points and 13 rebounds in 53 minutes for his first double-double of the season after reaching nine rebounds with double-figure points in three of the previous five games.

Junior guard Wayne Selden Jr., and Graham joined Ellis with over 20 points on Monday night. Selden poured in 21 points, despite playing limited minutes in the first half in foul trouble. Graham registered 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 shooting at the free throw line, including the go-ahead points for the Jayhawks.

Kansas has won 18 of the last 20 games against the Sooners, as well as 15 straight wins over OU in Allen Fieldhouse.

The 40th matchup between the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the Associated Press poll lived up to its billing from start to finish. The fifth overtime game between top-2 teams featured 13 ties, 13 lead changes, and both teams rallying from deficits of 10 points or more in front of a raucous Allen Fieldhouse of 13,600 KU faithful.

After withstanding an OU five-point run to start the game, Kansas came back to make seven consecutive field goal attempts and seemingly take control of the opening period with a 24-16 lead at the 9:56 mark. Ellis scored four of those seven baskets during the run.

But Oklahoma and Hield kept pace.  

The Sooners ended the first half on an 18-3 run to go into halftime with a 44-40 lead – giving KU a deficit at halftime for just the third time this season. Hield scored half of OU’s 44 points in the first half. OU made a trio of 3-pointers during a 47-second span in the waning moments of the first half to erase the Jayhawks’ largest lead of the game – 11 points at 5:51 mark.

Oklahoma continued to ride its momentum in the second half by taking a 10-point lead four minutes after halftime. Senior forward Jamari Traylor quelled OU’s momentum by rushing back on defense to block a fast-break Sooner dunk attempt.

Traylor’s efforts started a 14-6 Kansas run, which brought the Jayhawks within three, 58-61. But Kansas needed more.

Down by eight with 8:08 remaining, 68-60, Kansas rolled off a 13-4 run to finally regain the lead. Graham pick-pocketed Woodard at the top of the key for a steal and sprinted to the other end of the floor to make a contested fast-break layup and convert a free throw after a foul to give KU its first lead, 73-72, since the first half.

Woodard responded after his turnover by making a 3-pointer to give OU a 75-73 lead with 1:47 remaining in regulation. When KU needed their senior leader the most, Ellis stepped up with late baskets to tie the game at 75 and give KU a 77-75 lead with 43 seconds remaining.

Hield made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds remaining to tie the game at 77 and all but send it into overtime.

The teams traded baskets in the first extra session, and Ellis hit a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game 86-all with 1:15 left. Both teams squandered chances to take the lead, and Selden’s open 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer came up short to force a second overtime.

Kansas and Oklahoma traded a trio of 3-pointers to open the second overtime. With KU trailing by three, junior forward Landen Lucas converted 1-of-2 free throw attempts and made a put-back layup to even the score at 92. On the ensuing OU possession, Lucas was fouled while seeking a defensive rebound and with KU in the bonus, he made both of his free throw attempts to put KU up by two, 94-92. Woodard answered with two free throws of his own to tie the game for the 11th time, 94-94.

Neither team scored in the last 2:34 of the second overtime, forcing a third extra period.

Selden scored five points in the third overtime to complement Mason’s two steals in the last 20 seconds to give Kansas the win.

POSTGAME NOTES

KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS): 
Jr. G Frank Mason III (14/53)
So. G Devonte’ Graham (12/12)
Jr. G Wayne Selden Jr. (14/85)
Sr. F Perry Ellis (14/85)
Sr. F Hunter Mickelson (7/32)

SERIES INFO 
• Kansas improved to 143-66 in the series with Oklahoma, dating back to 1920. Kansas has won 14 of the last 16 meetings, and have defeated the Sooners in 15 straight contests inside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas improved to 22-6 against OU in Big 12 Conference play. 

ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (235th-consecutive sellout)

KANSAS’ WIN…
• Made Kansas 13-1 and extended the Jayhawks’ win streak to 12 games, the longest since the 2012-13 squad won 18 straight. 
• Bumped KU’s winning streak inside Allen Fieldhouse to 32 games, including an 8-0 mark this season. Kansas is 198-9 in The Phog under Bill Self and 736-109 all-time in the venue. 
• Made Kansas 16-9, 6-2 under Bill Self, as the No. 1-ranked team in the Associated Press Poll. 
• Moved Kansas head coach Bill Self to 365-79 while at KU and 572-184 all-time.
• Improved the Jayhawks to 2,166-832 all-time. 

TEAM NOTES
• Monday’s game marked the third triple overtime game in Kansas history, there have been two quadruple overtime games. The last triple overtime contest for KU was a 76-73 loss at Oklahoma State, Feb. 4, 1981. 
• Tonight’s game marked the first regular-season triple overtime contest for No. 1 vs. No. 2. In the 1957 NCAA title game, No. 1 North Carolina defeated No. 2 Kansas, 54-53 in triple overtime.
• The contest marked the longest game (in game minutes) ever played in Allen Fieldhouse – no other contest had gone longer than double overtime. 
• OU scored the most points (106) by a Kansas opponent inside Allen Fieldhouse and third-most ever against KU, but the Jayhawks used a season-best 109 to claim the victory. KU’s 100-point effort against OU and 102-point win over Baylor on Saturday, gave the Jayhawks back-to-back triple-digit-efforts for the first time since the 2002-03 season when the team posted 102 and 100 in back-to-back blowout wins over UNC Asheville (1/2) and UMKC (1/4), respectively.
• No. 2 Oklahoma marked KU’s highest-ranked opponent (Associated Press) defeated since the Jayhawks beat then-No. 2 Memphis in the 2008 NCAA Championship game (3/7/08).
• The 109 points scored by the Jayhawks were also the most in a conference game since KU dropped 109 on Texas Tech in a 109-51 win in Allen Fieldhouse (3/3/08). 
• KU’s 94 shot attempts are the most in a single-game by the Jayhawks since the statistics for FG attempts were recorded in the team’s media guide box scores. The previous high on record was 91 shot attempts against Murray State (12/5/77) when the Jayhawks went 45-of-91 from the field. 
• Kansas had only faced a double-digit deficit in two games prior to falling behind 54-44 early in the second half (16:46) against the Sooners. In both of those contests – vs. Vanderbilt and Oregon State – Kansas rallied to win. 
• Despite its billing as an offensive match-up, Kansas used a stout defense to limit OU to to 24 percent (6-of-25) shooting from the field in the first 13 minutes before OU closed the half with five straight buckets and 8-of-11 overall to raise their shooting percentage to 38.9 by the break. It was just the fourth half for OU below 40 percent shooting this season and the third-lowest shooting percentage in a half this year. The Jayhawks made it five halves below 40 percent when they limited the Sooners to 39.3 percent after the break and before overtime began. 
• Trailing 11-9 nearly seven minutes into the game, Kansas hit seven straight field goals, including three in a row by Perry Ellis, to take a 24-16 lead with just under 10 minutes to play in the opening period. The streak was part of a 15-5 run by the Jayhawks over 3:12 of gameplay. 
• OU closed the first half on a 12-0 run (1:33), 18-3 overall to take a 44-40 advantage into the break, just the third time an opponent had led the Jayhawks at halftime this season. Kansas was 2-0 in previous games when trailing at half. 

INDIVIDUAL NOTES
Senior F Perry Ellis 
• Ellis scored a personal- and team-season-high 27 points and grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds. He passed three Jayhawks – Marcus Morris (1,371), Adonis Jordan (1,373) and Richard Scott (1,375) – to move into 24th on KU’s career scoring chart with 1,382 points. Ellis’ next target on the list is Wilt Chamberlain at No. 23 with 1,433 points. 
• Among Ellis’ 13 rebounds was the 700th of his career, joining just 15 other Jayhawks with at least 700 rebounds. Ellis has 705 career boards, which ranks 16th on KU’s charts. 
• He logged his first double-double of the 2015-16 season, and notched his second career double-double against Oklahoma after posting a 22-point, 11-rebound performance as a sophomore in Norman (1/8/14). Ellis moved into a four-way tie with Markieff Morris, Kelly Knight and Herb Nobles for 14th on KU’s career double-doubles chart with 14.
• Ellis led Kansas with 11 points at the break, including keying a 15-5 run to rally the Jayhawks near the midway point of the first half. He made three-straight buckets, totaling seven points during the stretch.
• Ellis’ 28 field goal attempts Monday night were the most by a Jayhawk since Danny Manning put up 29 shot attempts against Vanderbilt in the NCAA Midwest Region Semifinals, March 25, 1988. 

Junior G Wayne Selden Jr. 
• For the second consecutive game, Selden surpassed 20 points with 21 Monday night on 9-of-17 shooting. It was Selden’s fourth 20-point effort of the season and moved him over 900 career points at 902.
• Selden chipped in three triples and climbed past Steve Woodbury (126) and into 16th on KU’s all-time three-point field goals chart with 127. 

Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham 
• Matched his career-high with 20 points set last season against TCU (2/21/15). 
• Graham led Kansas in scoring in the three overtime periods with eight points after regulation. 
• Set a new career-high with seven rebounds, tied for third most among Jayhawks Monday night. 

Junior G Frank Mason III 
• Mason continues to rack up double-digit scoring efforts and chipped in 15 points against OU. He’s reached double digits in all but one of KU’s 14 games this season. 
• He led Kansas with six assists and also pulled down seven rebounds. 

Senior F Jamari Traylor
• Traylor tied a season- and career-high with three blocks and added six points for Kansas. His blocks moved him past Markieff Morris (103) into 18th on KU’s all-time swats list with 105. 

OPPONENT INDIVIDUAL NOTES
Senior G Buddy Hield 
• Hield’s game-high 46 points tied for second-most ever scored by a Kansas opponent and the tied Mike Wroblewski (K-State – 2/7/62) for the most scored by an opposing player in a conference game. 
• Hield’s 13 field goals were the most since North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside knocked down 13 against KU in the NCAA Tournament (3/20/09). It was the most in a conference game since Texas’ Kevin Durant drained 13 field goals as part of a 37-point effort in the Fieldhouse (3/3/07). 
• His eight three-pointers were the most since Alan Voskuil (TTU) knocked down nine treys on March 4, 2009. 

Senior F Ryan Spangler 
• Spangler pulled down a game-best 18 rebounds, marking the most by a Jayhawk opponent since Jackson Vroman (ISU) grabbed 19 on Feb. 21, 2004. Spangler’s 15 defensive rebounds were the most by a Jayhawk opponent since Bryant Reeves grabbed 16 rebounds at Oklahoma State on Feb. 6, 1995. 

QUOTES

Bill Self
Opening statement:
“That game was fantastic, just incredible. Probably the best game I have ever been a part of during the regular season, maybe ever. The Missouri game here is the only one that comes to mind that rivals it and, of course, that was such an emotional game, and this one turned out to be that way. This game changed as the game went on, I looked down at their bench and their coaches are just smiling and laughing at me and I’m laughing at them because it was ridiculous how good both teams were and ridiculous how many hard shots both teams made, especially them. They’re good, they could win a national championship. But I thought our team did show some things, I didn’t think we got a great whistle early, which allowed them to have the lead at halftime. We played terrible the last four minutes and they went on an 18-3 run to end the half. So we had nothing going, we didn’t score to start the second half and then of course Perry (Ellis) and Wayne (Selden Jr.) made some big time plays, Frank (Mason III) was off all night, but he made the two plays to win the game and Devonte’ (Graham) was a different player the second half. Landen (Lucas) was terrific down the stretch.”

On Buddy Hield’s performance and him potentially being the best player in the country:
“Denzel (Valentine of Michigan State) put it on us pretty good, but we guarded our ass off against Buddy. I was going to put Devonte’ on him to start the second half and then Frank  comes to me and says, ‘No, let me have him, I will play underneath him’ and Frank guarded the heck out of him and of course he went for 24 (in the second half) but he had 35 minutes to do it. He’s great and he’s such a class act, there was nothing but respect from both ways. Their whole program is first class, Lon (Kruger) is great. Our guys certainly respect what they have done, all we did was win at home. But if it’s going to be like this just to win at home, just think about when we’re on the road. I think it was a great was to showcase our league, I don’t think it could have been scripted any better.”
 
On Perry Ellis’ play down the stretch:
“We went inside. We ended up shooting pretty good from three, 11-of-22, that’s great. But they still outscored us by 15 points behind the arc. We ended up rebounding the ball okay, but the thing we did is that we got some loose balls and had chances to win the game in regulation and the first overtime and didn’t really execute great. (Khadeem) Lattin was great; we knew he was going to be a good player, but he was great. He blocked everything within five feet of the rim. But the guys just hung in there, and we made our free throws late. I’m so proud of the guys. This is draining and emotional. We may have to take a couple days off, but certainly (it’s) one of the most fun nights I’ve had here.”
 
On the last play of the game and whether or not the team was close to trying to foul Oklahoma:
“We weren’t going to let them get the shot up, I said, ‘Let’s foul them’ and then at the end of the timeout I said, ‘Let’s guard their ass’ so we were switching five. But the whole thing was the only reason Buddy got the ball was because Perry blocked the shot so Frank went for the ball. We were not going to let Buddy catch it. Everybody was supposed to play on top of their man and dare them to go back door and the ball is in (Ryan) Spangler’s hand, which we know Perry can guard him and really pressure and force him to drive so we just said guard them. They were fortunate on that last play to get a look based on us having a great 50/50 ball that we had a chance to steal, but they were key plays.”?

Kansas junior guard Frank Mason III
On his overall thoughts about the game:
“(It was) The craziest game I’ve ever been a part of. I’m proud of my teammates for not giving up and following through with the game plan. We played a great team. I just proud of the guys. We did great job tonight.”

On if this game felt bigger than a regular-season game:
“Yeah, most definitely. Coach (Self) gave us a great speech before the game and he told us that he had never been a part of a one-versus-two matchup anywhere so it was a huge game coming into it.”

On heading into the game planning on guarding Buddy Hield very much:
“The scouting report changed as the game progressed. The plan wasn’t for me to guard him and I believe Wayne (Selden Jr.) was to begin on him and then he got into foul trouble. The next plan was for Devonte’ (Graham) to defend him and he got into foul trouble as well, so the last person to guard him was me.”

On the shots that Buddy Hield made over his defense:
“I think a lot of his made shots came on good defense. I had a hand up in his face on most of them. He also had many open looks when the ball was shot. We all stood around and watched and their big guys did a good job of finding him, kicking the ball out and he knocked the shots down.”

On having four fouls:
“I can’t let that be on my mind a lot because once I do that, the tendency is to start giving up easy baskets and that wasn’t the time for it.”

On Buddy Hield:
“Buddy’s a great player. He made contested shots. I think their bigs did a good job and the team did a good job of stealing extra possessions. Once they do that we all crash for the rebound and they kicked a couple out to him and he made some huge shots.”

On the steal in the final seconds:
“Right before the play started the ref told me not to get close to the line, but after he handed the ball in there was nothing he could do. So I took a step closer and went all out on the deny and I got a deflection and the steal. It was a great feeling. I can’t explain it. I was just happy I made the free throws and happy I was in a great position to get a deflection and shoot free throws at the end. “

On making free throws:
“I think it has a lot to do with confidence. When I stepped up there I had a lot of confidence that I was going to make both shots. Coach believed in me. I think it’s all mental; just being focused and doing what you normally do at the free throw line and following through.”

Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis
On what the game was about for him:
“Heart. All of us together.  It was going either way and we just kept fighting. We are excited about the win.”

On what he hopes the team learns from this game:
“The key thing to take away from this is all the efficient possessions we had. We had to get key stops and we were down by a few points and had to make some plays. Those are the important things to take away from this game because they may happen again down the road.”

On if this was one of his best performances at Kansas:
“I’m not sure if this was one of my best games from a scoring standpoint, but from a confidence standpoint, this was one of my best games.”

On Buddy Hield:
“I saw it back in high school. He always could score well and he did a great job tonight. He’s one of the best scorers out there, (all the) credit to him.”

On if he has ever seen the Kansas crowd give a player a standing ovation:
“I’ve never seen that before. Buddy (Hield) deserved that. He played a great game. Words can’t describe how well he played.”

On how much respect the crowd showed to Buddy Hield following the game:
“Buddy should feel great about that. Our fans know when they see a good player and they definitely expressed it to him tonight.”

 Kansas sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham
On what Coach Self said about the game at the end of regulation:
“He said that this was one of those games that you should never want to end. Then it ended up going into three overtimes and we actually wanted it to end. It was great.”

On being down in the second half:
“We had the crowd behind us. We really don’t expect to lose at home and we knew we just had to get one stop at a time and take it one possession at a time.”

On if he has ever seen a player score like Buddy Hield did tonight:
“No, I haven’t. That guy is tough; he can hit threes, can finish around the basket and is a pretty good defender. He has an all-around game. Props to him and his performance tonight.”

On if the team is looking forward to the game in Norman in February:
“That is going to be a great game. That is down the road though so we need to focus on our next ballgame.”

Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger
Opening statement:
“(It was) A really terrific game. I thought guys on both sides made fantastic plays despite the fatigue and just kept grinding and battling. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys. Obviously, I would much prefer the satisfaction of winning the game but we’ll learn a lot. I applaud Kansas for the job they did. It seems like when we had a margin they were able to make a shot or two to get back in to it. When they had a margin we did the same kind of thing, but again, I’m just happy about our guys’ effort. I’m proud of them. I’m just disappointed that we couldn’t quite feel that satisfaction. You don’t win in here very often so I would’ve liked that for them, but again I’m very proud of them. Congrats to KU and the job they did.”

On tonight’s atmosphere:
“Given what’s at stake and given the stage it was in, I don’t think I’ve been in one better. It was terrific. It was a grind both ways. Each team had a bit of lead and each team came back. Again, I think the effort of the guys was outstanding.”

On Buddy Hield’s performance:
“It was one of the best, no question. He just kept grinding in the face of a very good KU team that does very good offensively. I applaud Buddy for being persistent and staying after it and battling like he did.”

On their lead going into halftime:
“We got ourselves in a bit of a hole. I think we were creating offense for them. We took some tough shots and turned the ball over a couple of times. Then we had a few better possessions and made some shots and it was a quick turnaround. I thought we handled possessions better offensively and kept them from getting out in transition, which got us back in the game there in the first half.”

On what Oklahoma will take away from tonight:
“When you get a game like this, the value of each possession, the value of each block out, the value of each loose ball — we just have to understand the significance of that. We have to go back through, and KU could and we could, identify 10 or 12 or 15 opportunities where we could maybe do something better. The guys did a good job. Everyone just has to get better at this point. In Big 12 play we have the chance.”

On substituting players:
“We talked about that, talked to the guys a bit. They deserved to keep going if they could. They wanted to, for sure. Obviously it would be tough for someone to step in there and get in the flow. I thought both teams had a little bit of a feel for guarding each other; for someone new to step in, getting into that flow would have been difficult. We talked about it, but didn’t change it.”

On the team’s upcoming games against Kansas and Iowa State:
“There’s more than two (teams) in this league. There will be a lot more. There’s a lot of good teams and that’s the nature of the league. I told the guys afterwards we have to bounce back and get ready for the next one. Whether we win or lose this one, we can’t let that affect the next one. We have to bounce back quickly.”

On Khadeem Lattin’s improvement this season:
“He’s getting more physical defensively and doing some things offensively. He’s got a good bounce to what he does. He affected a lot of shots; blocked a lot of shots. He’s getting better.”

Oklahoma senior guard Buddy Hield
On the team’s performance:
“We just have to go out there and grind it out and make plays. Like Coach said, everybody on both sides, in both jerseys, made plays at the right times. We were up four or five and KU made a run, and then vice versa. KU made that last run and prevailed at the end.”

On if he has anything left in the tank:
“Well I wish I had the three; I have more in the tank. It is what it is, we both had chances to win this game. In regulation, then in the second overtime, we had enough chances to win the game. We just fell short.”

On what happened on the in-bound pass:
“Isaiah (Cousins) kind of faked me out and I thought he was going back. It was my fault and we just have to do a better job. I need to watch film to see what I did wrong and learn from this and try to get better.”

On Frank Mason III’s defense:
“I told Coach I was trying to get him his fifth foul so he could stop guarding me so tight. He did a good job, despite what I had, and he really fought with me – the whole team fought against me. It’s not about me, it’s about the team and we all did a good job fighting together. I would take my teammates any day. Jordan (Woodard) made a lot of good plays, Ryan (Spangler) stepped up and we just fell short. We just have to get better as a group and learn from this.”

On how much the game meant and how it felt to come up short:
“I just hate losing. No matter how good I do, I believe I could have done better. I hate the fact that we came up with a loss, and this is my last time playing in this building. It sucks going 0-4 here. Kansas does a good job and Coach Self does a good job coaching the team. The crowd was good tonight but I don’t think it really affected our guys. We were under control and composed most of the time. We just have to learn from this.”

On how much the rematch in Norman means:
“I want it bad. We have to split this time. We wanted to pick up the win and we couldn’t, but we have to split that one and win the league.”

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