So how did No. 1 Kansas pull out a 109-106 victory over No. 2
Oklahoma in triple overtime?
With some late defensive stops.
The Sooners committed three consecutive turnovers inside the final
minute of the last overtime, two off steals by Kansas guards Frank
Mason and Devonte' Graham.
The takeaways led to breakouts as Kansas (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) gained
the lead with two free throws by Graham with 15.2 seconds left
before Mason added two more with 8.6 seconds remaining.
The victory, the 25th in a row at home for Kansas in Big 12 play,
was the first for the Jayhawks in five all-time matchups involving
teams rated No. 1 and No. 2.
Both teams certainly played to those rankings.
"I'm proud of our guys," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Jan. 4 is too
early to be having games like this, but I think it was a great way
to showcase a great league, and everybody's going to be talking Big
12 right now."
Senior forward Perry Ellis led the Jayhawks to their 12th straight
win, contributing 27 points and 13 rebounds.
The Sooners (12-1, 1-1) had a crack at tying the game at the end of
the third overtime, but a contested 3-point attempt by Hield missed
"I wished I'd have that 3 and had more in the tank," said Hield, who
logged 54 minutes.
His points came off 13-of-23 shooting, despite a strong defensive
effort by Mason, a junior who gave up five inches to the 6-foot-4
Mason stole an inbounds pass after Oklahoma called timeout with 11.9
"Right before the play started, I took a step closer (to the
boundary) and I went into an all-out deny and got a deflection,"
Mason said. "I was happy to be able to shoot free throws at the
Several Jayhawks attempted to guard Hield, but Mason was the best
after Graham and junior guard Wayne Selden also took turns but got
into some foul trouble. Mason, too, had four fouls throughout the
three overtimes, but convinced Self to let him stay on Hield, who
drilled eight 3-pointers and hit 13 of 15 free throws.
"I told coach I was going to try to get him his fifth foul so he'd
quit guarding me so tight," Hield said. "I hate losing. No matter
how I do, I keep thinking I could have played better. It just sucks,
especially since this was my last game in this building."
Not a bad try, though, considering Hield tied the opposing scoring
record of 46 points set in 1962 by Kansas State's Mike Wroblewski.
Until junior guard Jordan Woodard fouled out late in the third
overtime, the Sooners went 21 minutes with the same lineup. Oklahoma
coach Lon Kruger considered subbing, but he did not want to disrupt
the flow of his offense in a clash that turned into an instant
classic, just two games into the Big 12 schedule.
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"Given all that was at stake, I don't know if I've been in one
better," Kruger said of the game.
As for the performance by Hield, Kruger said: "He just kept
grinding, and that was in the face of a KU team that plays very good
Graham had 22 points and junior guard Wayne Selden added 21 points
Senior forward Ryan Spangler countered with 14 points and a
game-high 18 rebounds for Oklahoma. Another Oklahoma forward,
sophomore Khadeem Lattin, also had a double-double with 10 points
and 14 boards. Woodard added 27 points and a game-high seven
The matchup was the first since 1990 involving a No. 1 and No. 2
team when both were from the Big Eight/Big 12. That was in the Big
Eight tournament semifinals, a 95-77 win for No. 1 Oklahoma over No.
The only other meeting in Allen Fieldhouse between teams ranked No.
1 and 2 came in 1990, when No. 2 Missouri defeated No. 1 Kansas
77-71. Kansas was ranked No. 2 when it lost in the NCAA Tournament
to No. 1 teams -- Duke in the 1986 national semifinals and North
Carolina in the 1957 national championship game.
NOTES: Bill Self improved to 6-2 when his Jayhawks are ranked No. 1.
Kansas is 16-9 all-time as a No. 1-ranked team. ... All time, the
record between teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in The Associated Press
poll was 20-20 going into Monday's game: The average score: 74-74.
... Oklahoma G Buddy Hield came into the game as one of three
players in Big 12 history to average 24 points and five rebounds in
a season. Those who finished seasons with those marks were freshmen,
Kansas State's Michael Beasley in 2007-08 and Texas' Kevin Durant in
2006-07. ... The last Oklahoma team to start better than 12-0 was
the 1987-88 squad, which started 14-0, captured the Big Eight title
but lost to Kansas in the national championship game.
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