Mason lifts No. 1 Kansas to road win at Oklahoma State, 90-85
STILLWATER, Okla. – Frank Mason III scored 27 points as No. 1 Kansas closed the regular season with a 90-85 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday evening at a sold-out Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Big 12 champion Jayhawks conclude regular season play with a 10-1 record in true road games and a four-game lead in the conference standings.
Mason fortified his standing as the National Player of the Year front runner with a near-triple-double effort, adding nine assists and eight rebounds to supplement his 18th 20-point game of the season.
The Jayhawks (28-3, 16-2 Big 12) put the final touches on their 13th-straight Big 12 regular-season title by shooting 56 percent from the field and outrebounding the Cowboys, 42-30. Freshman phenom Josh Jackson scored 17 points with nine boards, while sophomore guard Lagerald Vick came off the bench for nine points and eight rebounds.
Devonte’ Graham became the 59th Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career points.
Junior guard Devonte’ Graham became the 59th Jayhawk of all-time to reach 1,000 career points with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.
Oklahoma State (20-11, 9-9) was led by the perimeter play of Jeffrey Carroll (27 points) and point guard Jawun Evans (22 points and 15 assists). Long-time Cowboy sharp-shooter Phil Forte scored 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting beyond the arc in the final game on his home court.
The final contest of KU’s 31-game regular-season slate began at a frantic pace with both teams combining for six 3-pointers in the first five minutes of regulation.
Mason and junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk each made 3-pointers to give Kansas an early 6-2 lead, while OSU countered with Carroll scoring 10 of the Cowboys’ first 12 points. Jackson began his high-flying night with a layup and a tip-in.
Forte, OSU’s all-time leader in the 3-pointers made, shot an uncharacteristic air ball followed by Mason going coast-to-coast for a transition layup, forcing an OSU timeout with the Jayhawks leading, 28-22.
Sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr., swished a perimeter shot coming out of the under-four-minute media timeout to give Kansas its largest lead of the first half at 12 points. But Oklahoma State went on to finish the first half on an 8-0 run for a halftime score of 43-40. The Cowboys’ run included five free throws and a 3-pointer by Evans.
Despite a two-minute scoring drought to finish the first half, Kansas shot 55 percent and did not trail for the entire period. At the break, Mason had 11 points with four rebounds and three assists. OSU’s Carroll scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half.
At the start of the second half, OSU extended its run to 12 points to take its first lead of the game, 44-43 with 18:51 remaining. Graham immediately responded to stop the Cowboys’ run with a 3-pointer.
The lead changed teams for the fourth and final time of the game after Mason made a layup with 18:06 remaining, giving KU a 48-47 lead. On the ensuing OSU possession, Lucas stole the ball from Evans, resulting in a thunderous dunk by Jackson to all but seal KU’s 10th true road win of the season.
Graham reached the century scoring mark of his career on a 3-pointer with 9:16 remaining in regulation to give KU a 71-64 lead.
With under five minutes remaining, Mason put the Jayhawks on his back grabbing an offensive rebound and taking it coast-to-coast for a fast-break layup. Mason then deflated the sellout crowd with a pair of dazzling assists – one on an alley-oop lob to Lucas, and the other a laser pass to Josh Jackson for a corner 3-pointer which put Kansas ahead, 86-80 with 1:51 remaining.
Mason and Vick each made a pair of free throws in the final minute of regulation to keep OSU at bay, despite the Cowboys’ 12 3-pointers on the night. Vick put the finishing touches on KU’s victory with a coast-to-coast layup for a five-point, 90-85, KU lead with 16 seconds remaining.
Kansas is the No. 1 seed in the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, March 8-11 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The Jayhawks’ quarterfinal game will be March 9 at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2. KU will face the winner of No. 8 seed TCU and No. 9 seed Oklahoma, which play Wednesday at 6 p.m. Kansas has won 14 conference tournament titles, including 10 in the Big 12 era.
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