“Pay heed, all who enter: Beware of ‘the Phog.”
The iconic sign at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence once again witness a Senior Day win by the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks — the 39th in a row, dating back to 1984. The Jayhawks needed extra time to defeat the No. 21 Texas Longhorns, but took control in overtime, scoring 13 of the 19 points over the final five minutes and clinching a share of the Big 12 regular-season title for the 16th time in the last 18 seasons.
The victory by the Jayhawks broke a school-record three-game winning streak for the Longhorns in the head-to-head series to give Kansas a 36-12 advantage overall.
Texas simply couldn’t make enough baskets down the stretch, hitting only one field goal after senior guard Andrew Jones drained a three with 3:55 remaining in regulation as part of an eventual 7-0 run to erase a six-point deficit. In overtime, the Longhorns were 1-of-9 shooting and lost possession on a critical play facing a two-point deficit with 1:17 remaining.
Senior forward Timmy Allen caused a deflection and recovered the ball on the Texas wing in transition, attacking the basket in an attempt to make a layup, draw a foul, or both. Instead, Kansas forward Jalen Wilson met him at the rim and the officials ruled it a jump ball, with the possession arrow in favor of the Jayhawks. From that point, Kansas outscored Texas 7-2 to run away with the victory.
In shooting 2-of-15 from the field, Allen struggled all game with the length and athleticism of Kansas defenders, rarely getting clean looks, and turning the ball over three times.
Texas didn’t get much help from senior guard Marcus Carr, either — the Minnesota transfer missed all three of his field-goal attempts in the first half and then dealt with foul trouble in the second half while scoring only five total points. Carr fouled out with 3:10 remaining reaching in on Kansas forward David McCormack, who went on to make the free throws anyway.
McCormack scored a game-high 22 points on 10-of-10 shooting and added 10 rebounds, a blocked shot, and a steal in a strong performance that allowed star guard Ochai Agbaji to finally find his footing in overtime.
Once again faceguarded by Texas senior guard Courtney Ramey, Agbaji struggled for most of the game, missing all five of his three-point attempts and his first 10 field-goal attempts — he didn’t score from the field until a driving layup with 2:37 left in overtime. But he did make enough plays when they mattered, hitting all four of his free throws in the extra period and finding McCormack for a dunk with 39 seconds left after Kansas broke full-court pressure by Texas. Allen had just narrowed the lead to two for the Jayhawks, but the Longhorns never scored again after McCormack’s dunk.
Despite nine turnovers in the first half, Texas went into halftime facing a 35-33 deficit thanks to a big-time performance by Ramey in the first 20 minutes. The St. Louis native scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, hitting both of his three-point attempts. After hitting a corner three to open the scoring for the Horns in the second half, however, Ramey went cold, missing his final five shots, including a go-ahead jumper over McCormack with 22 seconds remaining after crucially splitting two free-throw attempts about 30 seconds earlier.
Neither team shot well from the field in a typically physical contest for the Big 12 this season — Kansas shot 31 percent and Texas shot 34 percent, but the Jayhawks were able to secure a major advantage in free-throw attempts, taking 36 compared to 19 for the Longhorns. Thanks to the length and athleticism of McCormack and Wilson, Kansas also possessed a 24-advantage in points in the paint and a 37-13 advantage in bench points.