The Kansas Jayhawks won 27 games and the Big 12 Conference‘s regular season championship, and they’ll carry that impressive resume into next week’s NCAA Tournament as a number-one seed. But the Texas Longhorns have made sure the Jayhawks have a few wounds to lick in the meantime.
For the second time in a week, the Longhorns completely stifled the Jayhawks defensively on their way to a blow-out victory. This win, a 76-56 rout in front of a KU-friendly crowd at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, gave Texas the Big 12 Basketball Championship tournament crown for the second time in three years.
Texas was led by tournament Most Oustanding Player Dylan Disu, who finished with 18 points. Marcus Carr and Sir’Jabari Rice each had 17 for the Longhorns.
Jalen Wilson‘s 24 points were not enough for the Jayhawks to defend their tournament title from 2022, as Kansas never led in the second half and allowed Texas to shoot an even 50 percent (31-62) from the floor while only making 41 percent (24-58) of their own shots.
Wilson was great out of the gate for Kansas, but he didn’t have much in the way of help in a first half that saw eight lead changes before a Texas 10-0 run gave them a 35-28 advantage with 2:44 left. KU got to within two points before Texas scored the final four points of the half. Carr beat the buzzer with a tough running bank shot to send the Longhorns to the intermission on top, 39-33. Wilson finished the half with 17 points, more than half of KU’s total. His teammates were just 7-20 from the field in the first twenty minutes.
The two teams traded baskets for the early part of the second half, but a scoring drought for the Jayhawks that lasted nearly five minutes allowed Texas to build a double-digit lead. The Longhorns jumped ahead 60-45 halfway through the half with five straight points, and Kansas couldn’t get it closer than 12 before an 8-0 run, capped by a thunderous alley-oop dunk by Arterio Morris with 4:36 left, put Texas up by 20 and sent many of the blue-clad KU faithful at the T-Mobile Center streaming towards the exits.
Kansas was without the services of Kevin McCullar for the first time in the tournament. The senior’s back spasms flared up in Friday night’s victory over Iowa State and kept him out of the game. Joseph Yesufu started in McCullar’s place and scored 11 points for Kansas, joining Wilson in double figures. Gradey Dick, who had scored in double figures in the first two games of the tournament, went just 3-11 from the field and scored six points.
Wilson and Dajuan Harris were named to the All-Tournament team, along with Disu, Rice, and TCU guard Mike Miles.
Both Kansas and Texas await the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Sunday.