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CELEBR-EIGHT: Kansas clinches outright crown

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson goes up for a dunk against Oklahoma State on Monday, Feb. 25, 2012, at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson goes up for a dunk against Oklahoma State on Monday, Feb. 25, 2012, at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.

February 28, 2012

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

KU coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-58 victory over Oklahoma State on Feb. 27, 2012.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU players Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson

KU players Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-58 victory over Oklahoma State on Feb. 27, 2012.

KU vs. Oklahoma State

Box score

— After dancing with the Big 12 trophy late Monday night in a jubilant visitor’s locker room, Kansas University team leaders Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson modeled their ‘8 Str 8 Champs’ T-shirts and hats for media members in the Gallagher-Iba interview area.

The high-scoring Jayhawk duo, who combined for 44 points in a 70-58 victory over Oklahoma State, soaked in the euphoria after the victory that assured KU’s program an eighth-straight regular-season conference crown.

“I just want to thank everybody that said we weren’t going to win it this year,” Robinson said with a smile, before taking questions from reporters.

“We got (No.) 8 baby. This one feels good, too,” Robinson added after scoring 17 points off 6-of-15 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds in 36 minutes.

“We knew what we had before we hit the floor (this season), before the whole world saw it,” he noted after the Jayhawks improved to 15-2 in league games with one remaining. Second-place Missouri is 12-4 with two to play. “I knew our guys weren’t scared to work hard. Proving ourselves to people was motivation to us. I think it had everything to do with it, to prove to everybody we could come back and defend our title.”

Taylor sounded a bit hoarse after KU’s 25th victory in 30 games.

There was a good reason for that, he said after scoring 27 points off 10-of-15 shooting — 4-of-7 from three.

“Celebration, baby, celebration. That’s it,” Taylor said.

He scored 10 straight points in a 10-0 run that boosted a 60-52 lead (with 5:31 left) to 70-52, squashing any OSU hopes of pulling out a victory.

Taylor, who played 37 minutes, chased around OSU senior guard Keiton Page, who exploded for 29 points off 10-of-19 shooting (7-of-14 from three) on his own Senior Night.

“Everybody gave him a standing ovation. I clapped it up for him,” said Taylor, who hugged Page after Page left with under a minute to play. “He deserved it. He’s been a tough guard all four years. It was Senior Night, and he played well. I’m happy for him.”

KU coach Bill Self at one point was upset with Taylor for failing to stick with the elusive Page.

“Tyshawn and I kind of got into it because he guarded him miserably when he had 11 straight (for OSU in second half),” Self said. “I told Elijah (Johnson), ‘He (Taylor) can’t guard him. You take him. Ty, you’ve got the other kid.’ He (Taylor) got upset and stayed on him and did a better job. Fortunately for us, he was able to match him basket-for-basket down the stretch.”

The Jayhawks, who led, 30-22, at halftime, were sluggish early just two days after beating Missouri in an overtime thriller in Allen Fieldhouse. That’s the game in which KU erased a 19-point deficit.

“We are tired,” Self said. “This is as tired as I can remember being, personally. I know the players are. That game Saturday was the most emotional regular-season game ever. There was a lot of pressure on our guys to win that game. This was probably the hardest game we’ve had this year other than that game. Our guys were pretty efficient.”

Robinson agreed that the Jayhawks were dead tired.

“Coach said something in the locker room, that this was an emotional letdown. That’s a good way to describe it,” Robinson said. “We were so high the other night, so geeked up. Today we were still talking about it. Our bodies were tired. We had to come back and get it rolling today.”

The victory and title seemed to energize the Jayhawks, who posed for pictures with the trophy with family members and fans before heading to the team bus.

“Where’s the trophy?” Robinson said, unable to locate it.

Freshman Merv Lindsay had carted it safely to the team bus, signaling it was time for the players to board the vehicle for a four-hour ride home.

“This team,” Self said, “has been awfully fun to coach.”

Next up is an 8 p.m. regular-season finale against Texas on Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. It’s Senior Night for Taylor, Jordan Juenemann and Conner Teahan.

Comments

newmedia 2 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations to the kids and the coaching staff!

Shane Garrett 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks. Your hard work and development were and will be a continued pleasure to watch for this Jayhawk fan.

domino 2 years, 10 months ago

Can't we just drop the references to Coach Williams?? I hated to see him go, but leaving KU for North Carolina and leaving KU for OSU is comparing apples to oranges!! I'm glad that Coach Williams is coaching what he feels is his dream job, and I'm thrilled that Coach Self is happy to stay at Kansas. If the time comes he should choose to leave, I will thank him and wish him well - I just hope that if that day comes, it will be a long, long time down the road!!!

Brian Conrad 2 years, 10 months ago

sweetest big 12 of all time! thanks for a great year... all the sportscasters said 4 losses will win this year ... KU picked as low as 5th? really 5th? the stupid MU you tube video... sure made it sweet to send them to SEC with zero big 12 Champs... they can put out all the videos they want ... but when the time came for the cow to eat the cabbage.. well KU ATE them up! sooooo very sweet for years MU fans will remember "the year they could have" but finished distant second... off to the SEC where they will still have to run second fiddle.. in basketball and middle of pack in Football.. great decision ole MU ... your basketball arena will not even sell out... Allen will be packed for years to come without you! does take away the sweet nectar of stomping MU every year ...

martyks 2 years, 10 months ago

I played pick up ball at Robinson during the years Roy coached. Sometimes Roy and the coaches and players would be walking down the hallway while we were walking the other way. Roy made sure they always stepped aside for us, out of respect, I suppose. He was funny too. When one of us asked if he could try out for the team, Roy asked, "Can you jump?" "No, not really." "Well, can you shoot?" "Not too well, no." Roy then asked, "Do you know how to cheat?" "Sure." Roy responded quickly, "See you at try outs."

I hated how he left. When he tried to lure Pagett away, and made the stupid remark about what a shame it was that he would have to play "way out there". He burned his bridges as far as I was concerned, and showed his true colors. Since getting Bill Self, though, I let it go. It was for the best for everyone concerned. We have the best coach, by far. If Bill stays, he will have one more thing that Roy could have had and will never have: a statue out in front of Allen Field House. Now maybe that doesn't make any difference to either one of them, but it does seem to be something most of us would appreciate.

At Late Night, Coach Self said they might not be all that good this year, but he thought, in a year or two, the Jayhawks were going to be really good... and he hoped the fans would enjoy the process. This team then goes on to win the Big Twelve outright. It has a very good chance to be a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. It extends the home winning streak. It produces at least one consensus All American. Yes, Bill, we certainly HAVE enjoyed the process. Now, take care of Texas. Take the Big Twelve Tournament. And let's go deep!

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