Senior sendoff: No. 1 Kansas runs past Oklahoma, 73-63
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Top-ranked Kansas basketball sent its beloved senior class out in style on Monday night, defeating Oklahoma 73-63 to extend its home finale winning streak to 34 games.
Monday was all about the senior class, and from tipoff to their postgame speeches, none of the three disappointed. Frank Mason III scored 23 points with six assists in his final bow inside Allen Fieldhouse. Landen Lucas grabbed eight rebounds with eight points, and Tyler Self made his first-career start for his father.
The 10-point win for the Big 12 champion Jayhawks (27-3, 15-2 Big 12) didn’t come without difficulty though.
With 10 minutes remaining Oklahoma (10-19, 4-13) held a 12-point lead over the Jayhawks, 54-42. KU found themselves trailing by double-digits after shooting 37 percent from the field in the opening 30 minutes of regulation.
But that all turned around with just under 10 minutes remaining.
KU could not be stopped in the waning moments of Senior Night on the way to overcoming its 12-point deficit in just four minutes during an astounding 22-4 run. Junior guard Devonte’ Graham gave KU the go-ahead lead after swishing back-to-back corner 3-pointers, followed by an acrobatic layup by Mason to cap-off KU’s run for a 64-58 lead.
In the final 10 minutes of regulation, Kansas rattled off a 31-9 run on 13-of-15 shooting from the field (86 percent). Five of those final 13 field goals were 3-pointers.
Coach Bill Self embraces his son, Tyler, on Senior Night.
“We slept-walked for about 30 minutes and we finally woke up,” Coach Self said to the fans inside Allen Fieldhouse before the senior speeches. “You guys saw what our kids can do when their backs are again the wall. We may have not played the best, but there is no team tougher than the University of Kansas.”
Freshman phenom Josh Jackson helped the winning effort with his 11th double-double of the season. Junior guard Devonte’ Graham and sophomore guard Lagerald Vick combined for seven of KU’s nine 3-pointers. Graham finished with 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from behind the arc, while Vick added 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from long range.
Oklahoma’s Kameron McGusty led the Sooners with 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting.
Before the ball was tipped, it was an emotional atmosphere as the senior student-athletes and managers were introduced before the game with their closest kin, including three generations of Mason’s family represented on the court – his father and his son.
Self was penciled into the starting lineup for the first time of his five-year walk-on career with his father at the helm.
Oklahoma took a 7-0 lead to start the game. McGusty made a 3-pointer at the 16:33 mark to put an exclamation mark on OU’s quick start which forced a Coach Self 30-second timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Kansas turned the ball over but Mason put it right back in KU’s possession with a steal in transition. Mason’s patented hustle which he has shown his entire four-year career resulted in a 3-pointer by Graham for KU’s first basket of the game.
A backdoor alley-oop from Graham to Jackson tied the contest at 18 and set Allen Fieldhouse ablaze. But the pace of the game slowed early on as Kansas reached the bonus at the 13-minute mark of the first half. Ten minutes into the contest both teams were shooting lower than 20 percent from the field – OU at 5-for-18 and KU at 3-for-12.
KU and OU went into halftime tied at 28 after making just eight field goals each in the first half and combining for 24 fouls. Kansas held Oklahoma to 25 percent first-half shooting.
As Oklahoma increased its second-half lead, Kansas was grasping for a break. Carlton Bragg Jr. missed an open dunk and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk dribbled off his foot for a turnover. The Jayhawks found themselves down by 10, forcing a Coach Self timeout with 12:29 remaining.
Oklahoma extended its largest lead of the day to 12 points after McGusty drained a 3-pointer with 10:10 remaining in regulation, putting the Sooners head 54-42.
That’s when the Frank Mason III Show started.
Mason made a layup to begin KU’s speedy comeback, followed by a steal by Jackson which turned into a wide-open 3-pointer by Vick. A hook shot by OU’s Jamuni McNeace in the paint briefly stopped KU’s 5-0 run.
Coming out of an inbounds pass, Mason found Jackson for an alley-oop dunk. Moments later on the ensuring Oklahoma inbounds pass, Mason took the ball as if it was candy from a baby and found Vick for another trey, cutting KU’s deficit to four, 56-52.
The Jayhawks’ unrelenting pressure continued after forcing a five-second violation coming out of a media timeout. The Sooners’ turnover resulted in a Jackson layup to bring Kansas within two, 58-56
KU’s continued full-court pressure forced OU to take its final timeout of the contest with 6:33 remaining.
That set up Graham’s pair of monumental back-to-back 3-pointers – both assisted by Lucas – to give Kansas the go-ahead lead with nearly six minutes remaining in regulation. The first gave KU a 59-58 lead, the second gave KU a 62-58 lead and sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy.
As KU pulled way for its third-straight double-figure win, the seniors left their final impression on Allen Fieldhouse as Mason found Lucas for an alley-oop. At the one-minute mark, fans started directing an “MVP” chant towards Mason and he rewarded them with a bank-shot jumper which put KU ahead, 73-62.
Mason, Lucas and Self all subbed out before the final buzzer to a standing ovation from the Allen Fieldhouse crowd.
Kansas concludes the regular season at Oklahoma State on Saturday evening (5 p.m., ESPN) in Stillwater. Kansas will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Phillips 66 2017 Big 12 Championship, March 8-11 at Sprint Center in Kansas City.
KU STARTERS (CONSECUTIVE / SEASON / CAREER STARTS):
Sr. G Frank Mason III (104 / 30 / 107)
Sr. G Tyler Self (1 / 1 / 1)
Jr. G Devonte’ Graham (37 / 30 / 66)
Fr. G Josh Jackson (30 / 30 / 30)
Sr. C Landen Lucas (19 / 26 / 57)
• Kansas won its fourth-straight game against Oklahoma, making the series 146-66 in favor of KU.
• The win also gave KU its 16th-straight victory against OU in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 1994.
• Bill Self is now 17-5 all-time against the Sooners, including 17-3 at KU.
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (258th-consecutive sellout)
• Made KU 27-3 overall, giving KU 26 wins for the third-straight season and the 10th time in the 14 seasons under Bill Self.
• Gave Kansas its 34th-straight regular-season home finale victory, beginning in 1983-84.
• Made the Jayhawks 54-9 in home regular-season finales played in Allen Fieldhouse. In 119 years, Kansas holds a record of 98-21 in its final home game of the regular season.
• Gave KU 15 league wins for the second-straight year and fourth time under Self.
• Made KU 14-1 in Allen Fieldhouse this season and 758-110 all-time in the venue, including 220-10 under Bill Self.
• Improved Self to 412-86 at KU and 619-191 overall.
• Made KU 2,213-839 all-time.
• The Jayhawks used a stretch of 10-straight field goals to turn a 12-point OU lead (52-42) with 9:45 remaining in the second half to a 67-60 KU lead by the 4:08 mark.
• Beginning at that 9:45 mark, the Jayhawks closed the game on a 31-9 run, going 13-of-15 (86.7 percent) from the field in that span. That included a 5-of-5 clip from beyond the 3-point arc.
• Kansas faced a 12-point deficit, its eighth double-digit deficit faced this season. The Jayhawks are now 7-1 in those games. KU has trailed by eight or more (points) in 12 games this season and is 11-1 in those instances.
• Both squads struggled in the opening half, each shooting below 35 percent, combining for only 16 field goals and committing a combined 19 turnovers and 24 fouls.
• The Jayhawks found themselves tied at the half (28-28) for the first time this season. Kansas has been level or trailed at the intermission in seven of its 17 conference games.
• Prior to their 31-9 run over the final 10 minutes of the contest, the Jayhawks were shooting 13-of-37 (35.1 percent) over the first 30:08 of the game.
• The Jayhawks’ 52 field goal attempts were their fewest in a game this season.
• Kansas’ 19 turnovers were its second-most of the 2016-17 season. The Jayhawks committed 21 turnovers in their loss to Iowa State on Feb. 4.
• The Jayhawks hit 26-of-52 (50 percent) from the field, marking their 14th contest this season hitting 50 percent of better. KU is 13-1 in those games.
Senior G Frank Mason III
• Mason III led all scorers with 23 points, marking the 21st time he has led KU in scoring this season and the 17th time he has scored 20 or more points.
• His 2-of-5 clip from the 3-point line marked the 28th-consecutive game he has connected on at least one trey.
• Mason III’s three steals tied a season high.
• Mason III passed Cedric Hunter for 17th on the career steals list and now has 159 thefts after his three steals against Oklahoma.
Junior G Devonte’ Graham
• Graham connected on 4-of-8 from the behind the 3-point arc, three of which came in the final 6:05 of regulation, marking his seventh game this season he has hit three or more treys.
Freshman G Josh Jackson
• Jackson’s 12 points and 11 rebounds marked his 11th double-double of the season and his eighth in his 17 Big 12 contests.
• In his last 10 outings (dating back to Jan. 28 vs. Kentucky), Jackson has scored 183 points and grabbed 84 rebounds for an average of 18.3 ppg and 8.4 rpg in that 10-game span.
• With his 11 points this evening, Jackson moved passed Xavier Henry for fourth on the Kansas freshman scoring list. He now has 490 points on the season and trails Danny Manning by six points for third place.
• Jackson’s eight turnovers were the most by a Jayhawk this season and the most since Tyshawn Taylor turned it over nine times against Kansas State on Jan. 4, 2012.
Senior G Tyler self
• Self earned his first-career start, continuing the tradition of Jayhawk seniors getting the start in their final home game. Self played the first 3:29 and returned for the final 10 seconds of the contest, but did not record any statistics.
SENIOR C Landen Lucas
• Lucas was a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, the sixth time he hasn’t missed in a shot in a game this season. Over his last 11 games, Lucas is shooting 66.7 percent (34-of-51) from the field.
Sophomore G Lagerald Vick
• Vick was a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point land, his seventh game this season with multiple 3-pointers. Vick has hit on eight of his last 16 attempts from beyond the arc.
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