Kansas Wins 11th Straight Big 12 Championship in Win Over West Virginia

Kansas achieved their annual goal Tuesday night, but it didn’t come easy.

Kansas Wins 11th Straight Big 12 Championship in Win Over West Virginia

West Virginia led the Jayhawks at halftime, 40-26, and was in total control of the game. The Mountaineers were turning Kansas over in the first half by applying their ball-pressure defense, and it was working well. Much of the same continued for most of the second half. Their lead seemed locked in stone. Allen Fieldhouse was stunned, and it looked as if Kansas would lose on their Senior Night.

That is, until Kansas started to turn it up at the 10:00 mark of the second half. The Jayhawks weren’t playing scared anymore, and the Fieldhouse started to get loud again.

West Virginia still had eight point lead with two minutes left, though. It was their game to lose, something that coach Bob Huggins reiterated after the game by saying, “We deserved to win the game. We really did. We just didn’t do enough in the end.”

Kansas tied the game, and got a defensive stop as regulation expired. The game went into overtime, where the Jayhawks prevailed thanks to Frank Mason III and Jamari Traylor. The pair combined for 13 of Kansas’ 17 overtime points, and both showed a lot of composure to close the game out.

What a way to win the — and their 11th straight — Big 12 championship, huh?

While the comeback was incredible, we can’t forget who Kansas won the game without. Big 12 POY candidate Perry Ellis went down with a knee injury late in the first half, and freshman Cliff Alexander sat another game due to eligibility concerns.

While Alexander was in a funk anyway, and in Bill Self’s doghouse, Ellis’ absence is a different story. The junior is averaging 14.2 points per game and 7 rebounds per game on the year, and had scored over 20 points in the previous three games before last night’s shortened game. Despite Traylor’s emergence last night, Ellis has been the only consistent Jayhawk big man.

Good news for Kansas: Ellis should only be out a week, and should be able to return for the Big 12 tournament.

The other good news for Kansas: The Jayhawks won a tough game without their best player.

Bill Self took that a step further by saying, “We haven’t had a better win here for higher stakes than what that was.”

It was Self’s 190th win in 199 tries at The Phog. That was the most satisfying win of them all?

“It was pretty special for me to sit there and watch those guys pull it off” said Self of his players.

So, in the nation’s toughest and deepest conference, and for the eleventh consecutive time, Kansas reigns supreme once again. It seems like a yearly event nowadays, but we should not take Kansas’ consistency for granted. It takes a special program to pull this type of accomplishment off, and Tuesday night’s game was the way to do it.

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