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Kansas claims epic win in Border War finale

Kansas head coach Bill Self raises up the fieldhouse following the Jayhawks' 87-86 overtime win over Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012.

Kansas head coach Bill Self raises up the fieldhouse following the Jayhawks' 87-86 overtime win over Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012.

February 26, 2012

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 87-86 overtime victory over Missouri on Feb. 25, 2012.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU players Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson and Conner Teahan

KU players Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson and Conner Teahan talk about the Jayhawks' 87-86 overtime victory over Missouri on Feb. 25, 2012.

KU vs. Missouri

Box score

Thrusting his arms into the air while peering into the Allen Fieldhouse stands, Bill Self let out a primal scream as the final horn sounded in Kansas University’s 87-86 overtime victory over Missouri on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m not the most emotional guy, but that’s as good as it gets. It’s as exciting of a game as I’ve ever been part of. It’s the best home win I can remember us having,” Self, KU’s ninth-year basketball coach, said after his Jayhawks successfully completed a comeback from a 19-point deficit — the largest second-half deficit overcome in program history.

“Playing Missouri does mean something. It means something to me. But to me, it wasn’t about this being the last time we played (with MU moving to SEC next season). To me, it’s about our team winning its eighth-straight championship. For this team to come as far as it has, winning that eighth straight ... these guys committed to it. They’ve amazed me.”

The Jayhawks, who trailed, 58-39, with 16:20 left, avenged a 74-71 loss to the Tigers on Feb. 4 in Columbia, Mo. — a game in which KU blew an eight-point lead in the final two minutes. In doing so, KU (24-5) improved to 14-2 in the Big 12 with two games to play. Second-place MU (25-4) dropped to 12-4, meaning the Tigers can do no better than tie KU for the crown if they win out and the Jayhawks lose Monday at Oklahoma State and Saturday at home against Texas.

“We’ve got eight of those things now,” KU senior guard Tyshawn Taylor said of Big 12 championship trophies. The 2011-12 hardware will be delivered by the league office to KU at a later date per Self’s wishes.

“That’s what we play our season for. After every huddle, every timeout, we yell, ‘Big 12 champions.’ We got that today. It feels good,” added Taylor, who scored 24 points, including nine of KU’s 12 points in overtime.

His two free throws with 8.6 seconds left in OT erased an 86-85 deficit. Remember: He missed two down the stretch in the meltdown loss at MU.

“I talked to one of my best friends after the last game, and he told me, ‘Next time you see them, you’re going to be in a bigger situation and a bigger stage, and it’s going to mean more.’ He was absolutely right,” Taylor said. “It was the same team again, and I came through this time. I’m actually glad I got to shoot those free throws. And I knocked them down.”

“For him to make the two free throws in the same scenario as he missed them in Columbia ... I thought that was great,” Self said of Taylor, who opened OT with a three. “How poised was he down the stretch? He made every play.”

MU had a chance to win after Taylor’s two free throws, but the Tigers’ final possession didn’t even result in a shot.

Michael Dixon dribbled slowly down court, then after heading left near the top of the key, dished to Marcus Denmon (28 points), who was unable to launch a long-range shot before the final horn.

Yes, the clock expired, and defender Travis Releford ripped off his jersey and stood on the scorer’s table as the fieldhouse crowd roared at perhaps an all-time decibel level.

“That reminded me a little of Davidson,” Self said of the final possession of KU’s 59-57 victory over Davidson in the 2008 Elite Eight. Davidson launched a wild, off-balance three at the buzzer that had little chance of going in. “We did a good job. They never got the ball in scoring position.”

It was junior forward Thomas Robinson (28 points, 12 rebounds) who saved the day in regulation.

First, he hit an inside shot, and free throw (following a foul by Dixon) with 16.1 seconds left, erasing MU’s 75-72 lead.

“I just knew I had to get the ball off the glass, and that is all I tried to do,” Robinson said. “He (Dixon) walked up from under me at the last second.”

On the other end, Robinson skied to block a driving layup try of Phil Pressey with :02 left. That block assured overtime for KU and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

“I think I had my eyes closed actually, to be honest with you,” Robinson said.

Noted Self: “Thomas came from guarding the corner all the way over. That was a big-time play by a big-time player.”

Robinson, who like Jeff Withey had two first-half fouls, sat out the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first half, MU’s lead going from two points to 12 (44-32) by halftime, a lead that grew to 19 the second half.

“We were awful,” Self said. “We played so poorly. I thought we played tight, not to lose. I thought we got caught up in the emotion of the game. We played to protect it as opposed to go take. We were getting our butts handed to us. I knew something had to happen real fast or it was going to end sad. We did a much better job late. One thing as a coach ... you are down 19, and guys made plays. We showed some toughness making plays against a team that was on fire.”

The 19-point comeback win tied for largest comeback in a KU home victory. KU trailed UCLA by 19 in the first half of a 85-70 win on Dec. 1, 1995. The biggest comeback in school history was from 22 down against Texas in a March 11, 2007, Big 12 tourney title game (an 88-84 overtime victory).

“It coudn’t have been scripted better for us,” Self said.

KU will meet Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. Monday in Stillwater, Okla.

Comments

hawk24 2 years, 1 month ago

WOW! We got our tails kicked for about 23minutes, but somehow someway we found a way to get it done against a good team that was on fire. Im not saying the Big 12 doesnt have their share of players that deserve recognition , but TYSHAWN AND THOMAS CO PLAYERS OF THE YEAR IN THE BIG 12. What do you think?

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beaker_for_life 2 years, 1 month ago

I suggest that all complaints from MU coaches/players/fans about the apparent foul disparity in yesterday's game should be answered by referring them to the box score from the earlier KU-MU game in Columbia. Fouls: MU-10, KU-20, Free Throws: MU-20, KU-9. End of story!

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CHEEZIT 2 years, 1 month ago

Yea definately a foul on the block at the end but the first foul on Trob was phantom? He touched no one! He second was questionable also and between his and Withey"s it totally took us out of the game!

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2 years, 1 month ago

I think Haith is getting way too much credit. This team was built by Mike Anderson. It's like a couple of years ago when Self built the team that took Weber to the finals. Has Weber been back? Not even close...

MU had better enjoy this season because the real proof in Haith's ability will be when his first recruits become juniors and seniors. They are moving to a far inferior bball league though so maybe they'll be competitive. They really weren't competitive in the Big 12. I can't wait for a couple of years when MU starts telling us they left the Big 12 for bball when the fball team falls flat.... I mean, if they could never win the Big 12 in fball, why would they think they could win the SEC??!! LOL! Wow... Some mighty powerful moonshine they must be getting...

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Kaplow 2 years, 1 month ago

I loved S.E.C....O.N.D.

Congrats Jayhawks, unbelivable win!

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hawker61 2 years, 1 month ago

LOL! I hate iPhone auto correct! That should have read: "I think we got REALLY lucky..." Made me sound like mizzou grad...

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hawker61 2 years, 1 month ago

I think we get REALLY luck with the no call at the end of regulation. 99% of the time, that gets called a foul.

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hartnik 2 years, 1 month ago

Ok Mizzou, NOW you can go.....haha

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rtwngr 2 years, 1 month ago

How about a halftime, championship trophy ceremony to go with Senior Night?

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News_to_me 2 years, 1 month ago

And for the losers we have some lovely parting gifts. No Big 12 Championship in their last year in the league. No win in the last regular season game of the Border War. And a free bus ride back to Columbia. SE-sayonara!

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nugget 2 years, 1 month ago

Lots of great signs in the crowd at the game. My favorite:

"SEC you later, Mizzou"

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jjinks 2 years, 1 month ago

It's too bad MU decided to end this rivalry but they did. It's an especially bad decision now that they actually have a good coach. The probability of them holding on to him is slim now that the only two games that ever meant anything to MU fans are gone. Their coach is smart enough to know what has ended at MU even though the rest of MU personal don't. I'm sorry to see it end but what an end it was.

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