The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (25-3, 13-2 Big 12) wrapped up their 13th straight Big 12 title on Wednesday night.
The Jayhawks road an extremely efficient second half to a 87-68 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs (17-11, 6-9 Big 12). It was the first time all Big 12 season we’ve seen KU run away and hide with a game.
The night didn’t start that great for the Jayhawks, though. TCU battled neck-and-neck with KU in the first half. At one point the Horned Frogs led by as many as four. Kansas would get their act together and went on an quick 5-0 run to end the half and go into the half with a 40-39 lead.
KU did receive a short scare in the first half when freshman wing Josh Jackson went down holding his right ankle. He had to go in the locker room for about 10 minutes of real time. He eventually came out to an ovation from another sold-out Allen Fieldhouse crowd and returned to action almost immediately.
The Jayhawks would quickly gain control in the second half as they scored on six of their first 10 possessions. Junior guard Devonte’ Graham jump-started the KU attack. He scored the first eight points of the second stanza, including his first two-point basket since the Iowa State game on February 4. Graham finished with 17 points on 4-10 shooting, 7 assists and was a perfect 6-6 from the foul line. The junior also was 3-7 from three, which is a huge improvement from his 1-9 effort against Baylor on Saturday.
KU also got a huge performance from its National Player of the Year candidate Frank Mason III. Mason scored a game high 20 points, dished out 4 assists and was 4-6 from three-point land. He continues to state his case for the Player of the Year award.
Senior forward Landen Lucas had one of his quieter games, as he scored only 7 points and hauled in 6 boards. Fortunately for head coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks, sophomore Carlton Bragg Jr. picked up the slack. Bragg played arguably his best game of the season, as he scored 15 points, 7 boards and had 2 blocked shots off the bench for the Jayhawks. On Monday’s episode of Inside the Paint, the guys discussed how important Bragg was to KU’s potential success in March. He surely answered the bell on Wednesday night.
Jackson notched his sixth double-double in his last eight games. The freshman had 15 points, 11 rebounds and was 6-11 from the field. He also had one ridiculous alley-oop via Mason. Jackson continues to get better as the season wears on, which is making KU fans very excited for March.
Josh Jackson throws down the oop! pic.twitter.com/qDFa78y5zl
— Jayhawk Video (@JayhawkVideo) February 23, 2017
After having a monster game in the initial matchup in Fort Worth, the Jayhawks held junior forward Vladimir Brodzinsky to 8 points and 2 rebounds. Sophomore guard Alex Robinson led the charge for the Horned Frogs, pouring in a team high 15 points and 4 assists.
Kansas will now travel to Austin, Texas on Saturday to take on the Longhorns at 5 p.m. A win over Texas would clinch the Big 12 outright. Kansas has not shared a Big 12 title since 2013 when they did with Kansas State. Make sure to keep up with us here at Rock Chalk Blog and on Twitter at @RockChalkBlog.
Notes and Observations
- Kansas’ 13th straight Big 12 title ties UCLA’s streak that spanned from 1967 to 1979
- It is also Kansas 17th Big 12 title and 60th conference crown overall
- Kansas improves to 219-10 at Allen Fieldhouse in the Bill Self era
- KU now holds a 14-1 series lead over TCU
- TCU is now 0-6 in Allen Fieldhouse
- TCU head coach Jamie Dixon is 0-2 all-time vs. Bill Self
- In the second half Kansas was at 1.30 points per possession, which is really good
- For the game, Kansas was at 1.22 PPP
- After starting the night 5-11 from three, TCU finished 1-12 from the outside
- Kansas’ defense was quite poor in the first half (TCU was 1.14 PPP), but the Jayhawks clamped down in the second half holding the Horned Frogs to 0.80 PPP…the defense continues to improve.
- Josh Jackson notched his sixth double-double in his last eight games
- Carlton Bragg played his best game of the year. Kansas needs this out of him as we head into March
- According to my count, Kansas scored on 20 of KU’s 37 second half possessions
- KU was out-rebounded by eight in the first half, allowing 11 offensive boards. In the second half Kansas was +13 in the rebounding margin
- Former KU guard Brandon Rush had his number retired at halftime of Wednesday night’s ballgame