Historic Achievement: Jayhawks crush TCU, earn 13th-straight Big 12 title

Kansas guard Tyler Self is handed the Big 12 Conference trophy following the Jayhawks' 87-68 win over TCU, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

All good parties have a guest of honor. And on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse, the Kansas men’s basketball team welcomed 13 of them.

Moments after knocking off TCU, 87-68, in yet another typically tough Big 12 game, Kansas officials escorted 13 shiny, Big 12 championship trophies onto the floor and athletic director Sheahon Zenger handed the newest one to this year’s team.

After the third-ranked Jayhawks shook hands with Wednesday’s opponents, it was straight to the Kansas bench where hats, towels and T-Shirts reading “13 Straight” were distributed to the team, which partied with fans in front of the Kansas bench while watching a video that recapped 13 seasons of Big 12 dominance.

From there, it was lights out in the old gym and, one by one, tables and trophies were brought to the Allen Fieldhouse floor, a symbol of KU’s successful journey to a 13th-consecutive Big 12 title.

KU’s victory on Wednesday ensured at least a share of consecutive Big 12 title No. 13, a mark that ties UCLA for the longest such streak in NCAA history.

“It’s a great feeling,” said KU senior Frank Mason III, who finished with a game-high 20 points in 39 minutes behind the strength of 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. “This is what we work for.”

Despite the festive atmosphere that followed, Wednesday’s victory required plenty of work.

The Jayhawks (25-3 overall, 13-2 Big 12) and Horned Frogs (17-11, 6-9) traded leads throughout the first half until KU led, 40-39, at the break and remained separated by just two points five minutes into the second half. But an 8-0 Kansas run, sparked by a vicious alley-oop dunk from Josh Jackson gave the Jayhawks a 10-point lead and it never dipped below seven the rest of the game.

Related document

Box score: Kansas 87, TCU 68 ( .PDF )

On a night when four Jayhawks reached double figures and nine different Kansas players cracked the scoring column, it was the play of freshman Josh Jackson that jump-started it all.

In delivering his 10th double-double of the season — 15 points and 11 rebounds — Jackson flashed his all-around game, scoring from inside and out, on drives to the basket, flushes high above the rim and jumpers from distance.

“I thought he played great tonight,” said KU coach Bill Self of Jackson, who added four assists and one steal in 26 minutes to his final line. “He only had 15 points, but 11 rebounds and some of the passes he made.... He played really well. He’s really got both feet in, and whatever we need he’s one of those guys that can actually do it.”

There’s a reason for that. And it has nothing to do with showcasing himself for NBA scouts or adding to his highlight reel on SportsCenter.

“I’m more of a type of guy who likes to win than have individual success,” Jackson said. “So I’m pretty happy with our season and where we’re at right now.”

Jackson may have been happiest on the bench in this one. After momentarily twisting his right ankle in the first half and heading back to the locker room, it was the bench where Jackson returned five minutes later to a large ovation from the crowd.

And then, late in the game, with Kansas well in control, it was from his comfortable seat on the bench where Jackson made good on an earlier promise.

“It felt great,” he said with a sly grin. “I was saying it the whole game. We even talked about it yesterday. We’ve just been having too many close games lately and we felt like it was time to just give it to somebody. Throughout the whole game I would look at Tyler (Self) and I would tell him, ‘You’re gonna play today. Don’t even worry about it.’ I told him a couple times.”

Wednesday’s 19-point victory was KU’s largest in Big 12 play this season and its first by double-digits since a 12-point home win over Texas on Jan. 21. It ended a streak of seven consecutive games decided by six points or fewer.

“I do think it was nice that we didn’t have to stress for all 40,” Self said.

As Jackson had predicted, that stress gave way to smiles late in the game, as seldom-used Jayhawks Tyler Self, Tucker Vang and Clay Young all checked in for the game’s final 66 seconds.

That proved to be the finishing touch on yet another special night at Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhawks won their 13th-consecutive Big 12 title, former KU great Brandon Rush had his jersey retired at halftime and roughly 17,000 Jayhawks partied like it was all happening for the first time.

Ever-gracious in moments such as these, Self admitted that “winning never gets old,” but added that, as sweet as obtaining Big 12 title No. 13 was, he does not believe KU belongs in the same category as those great UCLA teams of the late 1960s and '70s just yet.

“Let’s put it in perspective,” said Self of KU tying UCLA’s streak, nine of which were won under legendary coach John Wooden. “We won 13 in a row and they won 13 in a row and they won 10 national championships in 12 years and we’ve won one in 13. So I still think that we’ve got a little ways to go to actually catch that. I don’t think it’s right to be put in the same breath.”

What Self did think was right, however, was for his team to celebrate. So they did, with friends and fans, teammates and former players.

“I do think it’s pretty remarkable,” Self said of the streak. “People here will take it for granted, which is fine. But we won the Big Ten back-to-back years at Illinois and there were 5,000 people that greeted us at the airport both years. And here it’s awesome, but we got a hat and a T-Shirt.”

There’s a reason for that. And it’s very much the same reason that those UCLA teams never made a huge deal of their conference titles. They were expected.

Whether you’re talking about a player like Mason, who told fans after Wednesday’s game that the Jayhawks “wanted this bad,” or a rookie like Jackson going through the whole spectacle for the first time, the emotions were the same and the next step even more obvious.

“It’s just an honor to be a part of it,” Jackson said. “But like coach told us in the locker room, we don’t really think we’ve done anything that we weren’t supposed to do yet. I mean, we’re really happy with it, but we’ve still got work to do.”

By the Numbers: Kansas 87, TCU 68.

By the Numbers: Kansas 87, TCU 68.

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU


Comments

Steve Zimmerman

"But there's a lot of places -- we won the Big Ten back-to-back years at Illinois and there was 5,000 people who greeted us at the airport. Here we got a hat and a T-shirt." - coach Self.

Seriously? Aren't we the best fans in the nation? Coach, I'll be greeting you & the team here, in Phoenix!!

6 months ago

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Brett McCabe

Self sort of did this last year - a lot of whining for no apparent reason. Nothing like taking a great moment and diminishing it by sending out a little dig at your fans.

6 months ago

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Jay Scott

"Self sort of did this last year - a lot of whining for no apparent reason." An example?

Perhaps he's just following the "advice" of the Chicken Littles that post here...Didn't some moron suggest that he actually reads these forums for coaching tips?

6 months ago

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John Fitzgerald

Troll

6 months ago

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Jay Scott

Johnny! Was that the sum total of your wisdom today?

Have you no help with finding these examples of "whining"?

Came by just to insult someone who makes a fool of you?

Guess what? That makes you a.......troll. Have a great day!

6 months ago

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John Fitzgerald

Trolly Poly

6 months ago

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Craig Alexander

I don't see it as complaining. At Illinois every championship was special. Here it is special but the fans expect it now so it is hard to keep emotions up. During his pre-game interview he mentioned how some (outsiders) try to diminish the importance of the streak because of league strength but that is crap. We aren't surprised by his teams winning, so it is hard to maintain the meet you at the airport mentality but he knows KU fans are tops.

6 months ago

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Jay Scott

You're right on Craig. Of course it's not complaining. He's just relating how different the expectations of the fan bases are and how much more is possible at KU.

Self knows that most KU fans have a college level intellect. Not all do, as we've seen here.

6 months ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Not expected at all. This team won B12 again, was unexpected, at least by me. But you're spot on Craig. And I didn't think of it as a complaint either. I just raised my expectation: to win it all!!

6 months ago

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Chandler Accipiter

Self's quote looks worse than it sounded in the presser, which wasn't bad at all.

6 months ago

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Dirk Medema

Good to see Carlton step up and have a good night. Not good to see Frank playing 39 minutes. Hopefully, he'll get a bit more rest in the next couple weeks.

6 months ago

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Mallory Briggans

The " COME AND TAKE IT TOUR " came to a close at AFH last night . Great job guys but we still got work to do.

6 months ago

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Rose Anderson

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6 months ago

Rose Anderson

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6 months ago

Mike Riches

I don't know if "crush" is the right word for a game where we led by one at the half (and would have been down if Jackson doesn't rebound his own missed FT) even though the final score might make it look more like a blowout. TCU seemed to give up down the stretch, and I think that's the first time in conference play that an opponent has done that, which is a testament to how tough league play is. This was a solid win and the guys should feel great about locking up #13.

Btw, I loved how Coleby threw it down at the end of the game. I know it was garbage time but he seems like a pretty strong finisher. I hope he gets some more pt in the next two weeks.

6 months ago

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Robert Brock

Jamie Dixon is getting a lot of performance out of these Frogs. When he gets some of his own players, TCU will be a tough match.

6 months ago

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Bryce Landon

13 straight and 15 of the last 16. The bigger the streak grows, the harder it is for me to wrap my mind around it. Kansas basketball is to the Big 12 what Patriots football is to the NFL - only without the spying and deflating.

6 months ago

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Karen Mansfield-Stewart

Congratulations to everyone involved with this basketball program today and for the past 13 years! An amazing accomplishment to be mentioned in the same breath as the UCLA teams from the 60s/70s. Sure those UCLA teams were better by comparison of National Championships but its incredibly more difficult to do it in today's hyper competitive and non-cheating environment.

Now that we missed on Trea Young I've been watching Devonte Graham's ball handling more in the games and I think he would make a fine point guard next year (assuming he stays) if we miss out on Trevon Duval too (it appears that Duke may be leading for him). With the new transfer guards Malik Newman and Sam Cunliffe our back court should still be solid. A lot of our success will depend on if Udoka Azubuike can stay healthy, how quickly Billy Preston develops, and if Carlton Bragg can continue to improve. Regardless, our quest for 14 looks plausible!

P.S. Those conference championship tech t-shirts they wore after the game look nice. Anyone know where you can purchase one?

6 months ago

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Jay Scott

You're right on Karen. As it looks more likely that Graham returns, a top PG recruit is unlikely to sign. Graham would be one of the top PGs in the country next season and a group of DG, Newman, Vick, and Garrett handling the ball with Cunliffe and possibly Svi at the three is a loaded backcourt. Add Dok, Bragg, Coleby, Preston and Lightfoot and you have the preseason #1. We'll see.

Garrett is having a great year. He might be as undervalued as Mason and Graham were.

6 months ago

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Joel Hood

Regarding the t-shirts - http://www.kustore.com/Kansas_Jayhawks

6 months ago

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Karen Mansfield-Stewart

Thanks Joel.

6 months ago

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Bryce Landon

The ones sold on Rally House's website are nicer. Since I now live up in Iowa, I may have to order one.

6 months ago

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Bryce Landon

By the way, Karen, I think I inadvertently flagged you comment for removal. So memo to the LJW staff - don't remove Karen's comment; that was me having a brain fart.

6 months ago

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