No. 2 Kansas Clinches 12th-Straight Big 12 Title, Defeats Texas Tech 67-58
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Twelve straight: accomplished.
Since the beginning of the season, the University of Kansas basketball team broke their end-of-practice huddles by chanting “Big 12 Champs” in unison. That daily ritual became a reality on Saturday afternoon as the second-ranked Jayhawks defeated Texas Tech, 67-58, inside Allen Fieldhouse to clinch at least a share of the program’s 12th-straight Big 12 Conference regular-season title.
Kansas (25-4, 13-3 Big 12) has won an NCAA-leading 59 conference regular-season titles, including 16 in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are now one shy of UCLA’s 13-straight Pac-10 regular season titles, won under hall-of-fame coach John Wooden from 1967-79. In the 20-year history of the Big 12, Kansas has won a regular-season or tournament title in 17 of those years.
Kansas’ current winning streaks include nine-straight overall, 39-straight inside Allen Fieldhouse and 14-straight against Texas Tech (18-10, 8-8).
Sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk came off the bench to score 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting from 3-point range, and junior floor general Frank Mason III added 16 points with three 3-pointers to lead the Jayhawks.
Junior forward Landen Lucas gave the Jayhawks an early spark by scoring KU’s first five points, including making his first three free throws.
The Kansas defense forced a shot clock violation on Texas Tech’s first possession and held the Red Raiders scoreless until the 17:31 mark of the first half. Mason made a wide-open 3-pointer from a reverse pass from Devonte’ Graham to give KU an early 8-0 lead.
Both teams went into a scoring slump midway through the first half. Senior forward Jamari Traylor ended an 0-for-8 KU shooting drought with a layup in the paint, and-1, at the 11:34 mark.
With Tech down by two, 16-14, and nipping at KU’s heels, Mykhailiuk came off the bench to drain his first 3-pointer of the day and swing KU’s lead to 19-14. Mykhailiuk proceeded to make three 3-pointer in the final five minutes of the first half, including one at the buzzer, to give KU a 37-29 lead.
Kansas started the second half on a 12-0 run, holding the Raiders scoreless from the 19:47 mark to the 12:46 mark of the second half.
The run to start the second half allowed KU to take its largest lead of the game — 20 points with 10:19 remaining.
Texas Tech, winners of five-straight games coming into Allen Fieldhouse, ran off a quick 14-2 run to make one final push, but Mykhailiuk had another answer: hitting two 3-pointers within two minutes to help the Jayhawks stay composed and secure the program’s 12th-straight Big 12 title.
Junior forward Landen Lucas flushed home a dunk and Mason made two free throws with 40 seconds remaining to secure the 67-58 victory for the Jayhawks.
Kansas plays its final road game of the regular-season at No. 25 Texas, showcased on ESPN Big Monday (Feb. 29) at 8 p.m. Central time. Senior Day against Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse is set for Saturday, March 5 at 3 p.m. on ESPN.
KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS):
Jr. G Frank Mason III (29/68), So. G Devonte’ Graham (28/28), Jr. G Wayne Selden Jr. (29/100), Sr. F Perry Ellis (29/100), Jr. F Landen Lucas (11/25)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 31-4 // 16-0 in Allen Fieldhouse
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (242nd-consecutive sellouts)
• Clinched at least a share of the Jayhawks’ 12th-consecutive Big 12 Conference regular-season championship and added to KU’s 16th overall Big 12 crown and NCAA-leading 59th conference regular-season title.
• Made Kansas 25-4 overall, giving the Jayhawks 25 victories for the 11th-straight season (beginning in 2005-06).
• Jumped KU’s record to 13-3 in Big 12 play, also marking the 11th-consecutive season that the Jayhawks recorded 13 league wins, beginning in 2005-06.
• Provided head coach Bill Self a three-game cushion on consecutive conference titles (12) to home losses in Allen Fieldhouse (nine) in his 13th season at the helm.
• Extended Kansas’ nation-leading home floor win streak to 41-straight games, which includes 39 in a row in Allen Fieldhouse. Overall, the Jayhawks are 743-109 all-time inside their storied venue and 205-9 at home under Self.
• Prolonged KU’s NCAA third-best winning streak to nine games in a row. Kansas’ victory also snapped Texas Tech’s five-game winning streak which was tied for 12th nationally.
• Improved Self to 377-82 while at Kansas, 18-6 against Texas Tech (17-3) at Kansas and 584-187 overall.
• Made KU 2,178-835 all-time.
• Kansas nearly led wire-to-wire in the contest after a free throw by junior F Landen Lucas 15 seconds into the game. Texas Tech then tied the score two-all, but Kansas went on to reclaim the lead for the next 39:45 of play.
• The Jayhawks were out-rebounded by Texas Tech, marking the first time since 2014-15 that they have been beat on the glass in consecutive games (Baylor 33-28).
• Kansas has only been outrebounded eight times this season and now has a 5-3 record in those games.
• Just two players scored in double figures against Texas Tech (Mykhailiuk 17 and Frank Mason III 16). Coincidentally the last time a Kansas team only had two players score 10 or more points occurred at Texas Tech on Jan. 9, 2016. In that contest Mason registered 17 and Perry Ellis contributed 15.
• For just the fifth time in 29 games this season, Kansas scored fewer than 70 points, but is now 3-2 in those contests.
• After junior F Landen Lucas converted KU’s first five points 58 seconds into the game, he exited the contest and the Jayhawks only scored eight points over the next eight minutes of play, leading just, 13-8, with 11:34 to go in the first half.
• Since cutting the score two points, (16-14), with 9:21 to play in the first half, Kansas held Texas Tech to make 2 of its next 11 field goals, claiming a 10-point advantage, 26-16 at the 5:36 mark.
• The Kansas bench tallied more points in the first half (19) than it had overall in the previous two contests at Kansas State (17) and at Baylor (10).
• KU blew the game open in the second half, opening the final period on a 12-2 run over the first seven minutes, claiming an 18-point lead 49-31. Texas Tech however, showed resiliency and reeled-off a 12-2 run beginning with just over nine minutes to play, cutting the lead down eight points, 58-50.
• Sophomore G Svi Mykhailiuk put the Red Raiders away with his fifth three in as many tries with 4:02 to play, pushing the lead back to double figures, 63-52.
• For the 16th time this season, Kansas hit eight or more shots from beyond the arc. In 2014-15, KU made eight or more treys 12 times. Throughout the 12-consecutive Big 12 titles Kansas has only made eight or more three-point buckets one time, this season, in which the team has eclipsed eight nine different times with two games remaining. 2015-16 – Nine; 2014-15 – Six; 2013-14 – Five; 2012-13 – Five; 2011-12 – Four; 2010-11 – Eight; 2009-10 – Seven; 2008-09 – Six; 2007-08 – Five; 2006-07 – Six; 2005-06 – Four; 2004-05 – Five.
• At the 11:24 mark in the second half, freshman F Cheick Diallo hit an elbow jumper signifying all 10 Jayhawks who had played in the contest to that point scored a bucket.
• Texas Tech’s 10 steals marked just the fifth time this season a Kansas opponent has swiped 10 or more possessions from the Jayhawks.
Sophomore G Svi Mykhailiuk
• Finished one point short of a career-high after a 17-point outburst against the Red Raiders.
• Connected on all five of his three-point attempts becoming just the third Jayhawk this season to make every three he hoisted on a minimum of three attempts.
• Frank Mason III (3-3, Northern Colorado on Nov. 13, 2015), Brannen Greene (5-5, Northern Colorado on Nov. 13, 2015, 3-3 Oklahoma State on Feb. 15, 2016) and Perry Ellis 3-3, Kansas State on Feb. 2, 2016).
• His five makes from long range without a miss were the most in a Big 12 Conference game since Jeff Hawkins made five against Baylor in 2005.
• Made four three’s in the first half marking just the second time this season he has connected on multiple long-range attempts, the other a six-trey outburst against Chaminade on Nov. 23.
• Tied Brannen Greene (second half against Northern Colorado Nov. 13, 2015) for most three’s made in a half in 2015-16 after making all four of his attempts behind the line.
• In the opening portion of the Chaminade game on Nov. 23, Mykhailiuk made three of seven attempts from downtown.
• Tied his scoring output from the previous two games combined (nine at Kansas State and three at Baylor) after a 12-point outburst in the first half against the Red Raiders.
• Over the previous three games he is 10-15 from the field and has made 9-of-11 three’s.
Junior G Frank Mason III
• Contributed eight points to start the second half on his way to 16 points overall.
• On a three with 11:53 to play in the contest, Mason surpassed 10 or more points for the 26th time this season and 63rd time in his Kansas career.
• Now ranked 51st on KU’s all-time scoring list with 1,036 points. He passed David Magley, Cedric Hunter, Thomas Robinson, Bill Bridges and Jerry Gardner.
• Passed Danny Manning and Jerod Haase with 345 career assists.
• Made three of his five three’s becoming the third time this season he has made a trio of three’s in a contest.
Junior F Landen Lucas
• Notched KU’s first five points just a minute and a half into the contest.
• Finished the contest with eight rebounds – his sixth-consecutive contest cleaning the glass at least eight times.
• Lucas is averaging 10.3 boards in the last six games.
Senior F Perry Ellis
• Totaled eight points, the first time in 24 games he had been held under 10 points, the last time being seven against Vanderbilt on Nov. 25, 2015.
NCAA DIVISION I CONSECUTIVE CONFERENCE REGULAR-SEASON TITLES
# – Team, Conference (Seasons)
13 – UCLA, Pac-10 (1967-79)
12 – KANSAS, Big 12 (2005-16)
11 – Gonzaga, West Coast (2001-11)
10 – Connecticut, Yankee (1951-60)
10 – UNLV, Big West (1983-92)
9 – Idaho State, Rocky Mountain (1953-61)
9 – Kentucky, Southeastern (1944-52)
KU’S BIG 12 TITLES
1997 – regular season / tournament
1998 – regular season / tournament
1999 – tournament
2002 – regular season
2003 – regular season
2005 – regular season (tie with Oklahoma)
2006 – regular season (tie with Texas) / tournament
2007 – regular season / tournament
2008 – regular season (tie with Texas) / tournament
2009 – regular season
2010 – regular season / tournament
2011 – regular season / tournament
2012 – regular season
2013 – regular season (tie with K-State) / tournament
2014 – regular season
2015 – regular season
2016 – regular season (clinched at least a tie)
“It wasn’t a great performance. We didn’t have the energy we’ve been playing with obviously. Our starters weren’t very good. Svi was great off the bench so our bench gave us some nice energy and really carried us today so that was a positive. But we have to play a lot better. It’s like we were due to have one of these games and certainly we were fortunate that we were at home and that we won. Tubby has done a great job with his team. Certainly they’ll be in the tournament. For this team, in the year that the league is the best it’s ever been in the history of the Big 12, it’s a remarkable accomplishment. People will talk about 12, but I think people should focus on and talk about one, because this team has done great. We weren’t our best today, but somehow they just keep hanging in there. I’m really happy for the guys, they worked hard. But all it did was tie and we need to finish the job and to do that we have two tough games left. We need to be ready to play on a quick turn around.”
On the performance of sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk:
“Wayne struggled the last couple days shooting the ball. But I wasn’t disappointed in Wayne. I thought his effort was good, he was ready to play and his energy level was good. He just didn’t have a good game offensively. And of course Frank was just out there, Devonte’ never got into it, Perry was just there. So you turn to Svi and he delivered and has been playing well. He has earned everything he’s gotten because it’s been hot and cold and hopefully he’ll stay hot the rest of the way. I thought Cheick, Carlton, and Jamari did some good things off the bench. I thought Landen was solid for the most part. We are in a little bit of a semi-phase that we can just turn it on when we want to. We go from a close game to up twenty and next thing you know it’s eight, because we lose focus. But what a great accomplishment for this team. It was nice to see the fans all stick around. Normally I don’t like doing stuff like that but those guys certainly deserved it.”
On the accomplishment of winning another title in the toughest conference:
“Well we’ve won a title when it’s been the toughest league in the country multiple times. But certainly this year it is the best. It is remarkable because we have a bunch of really good players but we probably don’t have the star power we’ve had in years past with high draft picks and that kind of stuff. So to see these guys respond in the fashion that they have is pretty special. Different guys have always stepped up. Even though we didn’t play extremely tough today, it seems to me that when possessions are on the line we play tough.”
On the upcoming game against Texas:
“I got a different feel today. Sometimes you have to at least take some time to enjoy the situation. We’ve been saying Big 12 champs basically since we started practicing for the Korea trip. They need to be able to enjoy it. I want them to go have some fun. I’m not talking about partying fun, but just go out and enjoy it and then we will worry about Texas tomorrow. These guys deserve a little reward tonight. I wish the Texas game was on a Tuesday or Wednesday but it’s not. We’ll be ready to play, doesn’t guarantee we play well. But these guys need to have some fun and enjoy themselves.”
Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis
On cutting the last piece of net:
“It felt great. Just thinking back on all the memories. It’s a great feeling.”
On continuing the streak:
“It’s an amazing accomplishment—the continuous success. It’s an honor. It’s an honor to be here. It feels great. Thinking about all the hard work and all the hours you put in and then it all pays off in the end. It’s just a relief and an exciting time.”
On Frank Mason III:
“Frank’s a leader on this team. We follow him and he gave us great momentum. He was great.”
On how Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s scoring affects his playing:
“When he’s knocking down shots defenders are on him and it’s key to make great passes.”
On fans chanting his name as he cut down the net:
“It was awesome. The fans have supported me since I got here. They just make me want to finish the season out even stronger.”
On staying focused through the excitement:
“We knew we had to win the game regardless of what’s happening. This was just the next game, and we had to try to come out and compete. The good things will happen after you win.”
On not being the team to end the streak:
“The streaks been on for so long you really don’t want to be the team (to end it).”
Kansas sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
On playing the role of a leading scorer:
“If I am coming from the bench, I need to play better and do good things for my team so we can play well.”
On his comfort with pick and rolls:
“It was pretty good today because there was hard hedging the ball and they were trying to get that pass from me.”
On whether the team went into this game focusing on the title or playing like it was just another game:
“We just focus on the game itself and try to win every game. The title is a great accomplishment but like Coach says, we just need to take care of our business and win games.”
On his consistent threes throughout the game:
“I just shot the ball like I should all the time, and that is how it is.”
Kansas junior guard Frank Mason III
On 12 straight:
“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m proud of my teammates. Twelve straight is something we will always remember.”
On Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s performance:
“We always believed in Svi. Every day, even in practice, we try to tell him to keep his confidence. We tell him his a great player and a great shooter to try to keep him going because we know he is a huge part of our team.”
On the relief of knowing you have the win:
“That is why I appreciate the guys. I tell them every day before we got to this point that we can be the team to end the streak. We really have a lot of pride in that.”
On his journey to this point:
“It feels amazing. Coming from where I do, it is a huge accomplishment for me. Not too many people make it from where I am from. In high school I made a commitment to go to Towson, things didn’t work out and now I’m here. I am blessed to be in this position.”
On being the first up the ladder to cut the net:
“Coach Self told me to go first, so I just did what he told me to do.”
Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith
“First I just want to congratulate Bill Self and the Jayhawks on another conference championship. It’s unbelievable what he’s been able to achieve here and accomplish. He’s come a long way since the days we were competing against each other at Oral Roberts and Tulsa. He has certainly done a fantastic job. Hats off to him. But I thought our kids represented themselves well. It’s always a tough place to play. Disappointed we didn’t play better and shoot the ball better, but I thought we played hard.”
On Kansas winning the league even with it being as tough as it is this year:
“It’s a representation of just how talented and how good Kansas is because it is a very talented league. It’s one of the toughest leagues in the country. The Jayhawks, Coach and the staff have put together a team that is very capable of winning it all. A lot of things go into play when that happens: they have to be healthy, have some luck, have balls fall their way, but they most certainly have the depth from the bench to get things done. They are playing well at the right time.”
On going into the halftime after Svi Mykhailiuk hit a three at the buzzer:
“I probably shouldn’t have said it at halftime but I usually talk about it being the most insignificant score – the halftime score in a game. We did a good job and barely got a pass, Jordan Jackson had it. He jumped a little this time but if he would have gotten that steal and that stop, I think it would have helped. But Mykhailiuk, he did a fantastic job of getting open and getting his shot off quickly. You go 5-for-5 on threes, it’s tough to guard him, but that was a big shift in momentum.”
On what he thought the Red Raiders could have done better:
“We made a lot of mistakes. We turned the ball over 14 times and you can’t do that against any team, much less against Kansas on the road. We made some errors there. We haven’t really been taking care of the ball lately. So those are the things I’m disappointed about. I was happy with our rebounding and our effort. We made a great effort. There were a lot of things we could have done better and differently. We’re going to have to improve in those areas.”
On noticing any differences in Kansas’s play after playing them earlier in the season:
“Yeah they probably shortened their bench like most people do. Roles are defined better at this point in time. That usually helps the kids understand when their opportunities are going to be. When you have such a deep bench and so much talent, it can be tough finding opportunities. Kids sell into this is how I can contribute, and if they can get past the chatter and distractions of other people like the media and family – the “Why aren’t you playing?” – that’s the biggest challenge for most of them. Once they understand that, the sky is the limit.”
On if 12 straight is something he thinks he’ll ever see again in a power conference:
“I doubt it. I didn’t think I’d see it now. It’s amazing what Bill Self has done. He’s done a fantastic job. I think he deserves Coach of the Year. I think he’s done a fantastic job.”
Texas Tech senior guard Toddrick Gotcher
On fighting back from two sizeable scoring deficits:
“Defensively, we went to the zone and got a lot of assists and deflections and it really kept us in the game. We got to the free throw line at the end of the game, so that really helped us out.”
On bouncing back from Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s three at the end of the first half:
“That was a big three by them. We were down five at the time and we thought we were coming into halftime only down five and then they hit that big three at the buzzer, but we gained our composure and Coach did a good job of encouraging guys in the locker room and saying come out in the second half and play hard.”
On his team’s rebounding performance:
“I think we really got after it, especially offensively. Coach harps on it all the time, attacking the glass. I think we did a good job, even though we’re undersized, attacking the glass and getting offensive and defensive rebounds. I thought we did a good job today.”
On differences in Kansas between the first and second meetings:
“They’re more complete. Each guy knows his role on the team and when to take the shot and who takes the shot. I think they’re more complete and they’re going to make a good run in the tournament.”
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