Two days ago, the Jayhawks clinched a share of their 12th straight Big 12 crown. The scene at Allen Fieldhouse was pure celebration: shirts and hats were handed out, and the net was cut down in front of 16,300 raucous fans.
Some wondered how the Jayhawks would respond after their league-clinching win. They would be asked to turn the page quickly; just two days after the Texas Tech game, Kansas would hit the road to take on No. 23 Texas in Austin. The Longhorns were coming off of an upset of No. 3 Oklahoma, and the Jayhawks hadn’t won a road Big Monday game in two years.
Kansas answered its critics with an all-time performance, even for a program with such a rich history.
Just hours after re-capturing the No. 1 spot in the polls, Kansas absolutely annihilated Texas on Monday night, 86-56. It was one of the most dominant road performances in recent memory for KU, which clinched the outright Big 12 title in tremendous fashion.
The Jayhawks made it clear that they were ready to play from the opening tip. Hot three-point shooting and stifling defense helped Kansas open the game on a 15-0 run. The Longhorns missed their first 14 shots. By the time Texas finally got on the board, Landen Lucas had already picked up three blocks. Just 10 minutes into the game, he had accumulated five, a new career-high.
Tevin Mack hit a three to get the margin back to single digits at 18-9, but that’s when Kansas went on its next run. A 14-2 spurt stretched the lead to 21, and after Wayne Selden and Brannen Greene hit consecutive threes at the end of the half, the Jayhawks took a 47-23 lead into the halftime locker room.
Kansas kept its foot on the gas after intermission. The Jayhawks made four of their first five three-pointers in the second half to extend the lead past 30. By the second TV timeout, fans were headed for the exits, not caring that Senior Night speeches would be taking place after the game’s conclusion. The closest Texas got to Kansas in the second half was still 21 points down.
And then Jamari Traylor did this:
Jamari Traylor just earned himself the top play of the night as he throws down this crazy alley-oop. Must watch! pic.twitter.com/OyaSShwyQT
— Andrew Baker (@abakesports) March 1, 2016
The final stats are ridiculous. In the game, Kansas shot 64% compared to Texas’ 30%. The Jayhawks made 69% of their three-pointers. The Jayhawks had 16 assists to Texas’ three.
The blowout win gave the No. 1 Jayhawks their third consecutive outright Big 12 title. In Kansas’ 12-year run of championships, eight of them have been won outright. KU extended its winning streak to 10 in a row, including a perfect 9-0 in the month of February. It’s the Jayhawks’ first perfect month in conference play since January 2013.
Kansas also has its first nine-game winning streak in Big 12 play since February 2010.
It may be time to stop saying “there are no great teams in college basketball this year.” If the Jayhawks continue to play at the level they’ve exhibited in the last month, there certainly is at least one great team this season. It resides in Lawrence, Kansas, and it’s probably the favorite to win the national championship as we turn the calendars to March.
- Kansas finishes the 2015-16 season with a 7-3 record in true road games. It went 5-6 in each of the last two years. That’s a substantial improvement.
- Perry Ellis: 20 points (9/11 FG), and four rebounds in 28 minutes. He has had three straight 20-point games against Texas.
- Frank Mason III: 14 points (5/6 FG, 3/3 from three) and six assists in 31 minutes. His re-emergence as an elite point guard has sparked Kansas’ February surge.
- Devonte’ Graham: 13 points (4/6 FG, 3/4 from three) and seven rebounds (T-career high) in 32 minutes.
- Wayne Selden: nine points (3/7 FG) in 28 minutes. He showed signs that he may be starting to come out of his slump.
- Landen Lucas: eight points, eight rebounds, and a career-high five blocks in 21 minutes. Against one of the biggest and most physical teams in the league, he was the best big man (other than Ellis) on the court.
- Jamari Traylor: eight points, two of which came on that jaw-dropping dunk. He was on the floor for 15 minutes. That’s the most points he’s scored since KU’s opener against Northern Colorado.
- Cheick Diallo had two points, while Carlton Bragg had two rebounds.
- Brannen Greene (five points), Lagerald Vick (three), Svi Mykhailiuk (two), and Hunter Mickelson (two) all contributed.
- The only sour part of the evening for the Jayhawks was their free throw percentage. Kansas was an abysmal 11/24 (46%) from the stripe.
- Some stats from the Texas side: Isaiah Taylor was 1/10 from the floor. Connor Lammert was 1/8. The only Longhorn that shot better than 50% from the field was Demarcus Holland, who was 4/7.
- That’s five straight wins for the Jayhawks against the Longhorns, and they’ve won nine of the last 10 matchups.
- Up next for Kansas: Saturday, Senior Day, against No. 21 Iowa State at 3:00 pm.