Jayhawks claim thirteenth straight.
Mass Appeal Wire Reports
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Winning league championships is starting to get old for the third ranked Kansas Jayhawks who claimed their NCAA record-tying 13th consecutive Big 12 title on Wednesday with an 87-68 dismantling of Texas Christian University inside historic Allen Fieldhouse. Next season, the Jayhawks will have a chance to shatter UCLA’s conference title winning streak that was established from 1967 to 1979. “It’s a great feeling,” said KU senior Frank Mason III, who scored a game-high 20 points in 39 minutes, behind the accuracy of 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point land.
“This is what we work for.”
Junior guard Devonte’ Graham, who scored 17 points, celebrated his 22nd birthday with the win.
“Definitely a special day,” Graham said afterwards. “Glad we could get the win… just being with all these guys, being in Allen Fieldhouse with all the fans and then winning 13 straight. I couldn’t ask for a better day.” Graham, however, was arrested shortly after the game for failure to appear in court. The arrest had something to do with a ticket for an expired tag. He was released after posting a $196 bond. Graham apologized Thursday morning, via a news release. “This is my fault,” he stated in the release.
“I was driving an ex-teammate’s car and I thought the ticket was paid so I didn’t pay attention to the Notice to Appear that I got. That’s on me, and I apologize to everyone. I learned a lesson the hard way.”
When the final horn sounded, KU players shook the hands of their opponents before receiving a bunch of hats, towels and T-Shirts reading “13 Straight.” Moments later, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger presented the championship trophy to head coach Bill Self and the party was officially on.
— Sports Daily KC (@SportsDailyKC) February 23, 2017
Three things that stood out in the game: 1) Freshman Josh Jackson, who scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, may have eclipsed Mason to become the team’s best player. Projected to be selected in the top 3 of this year’s NBA Draft, Jackson flashed his entire repertoire which includes scoring from inside-out, executing on dribble drives to the basket, and finishing flushes high above the rim.
“I thought he played great tonight,” said Coach Self of Jackson, who added four assists and one steal in 26 minutes. “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.”
You could make a strong argument Jackson is KU’s best freshman ever.
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) February 23, 2017
2) The Jayhawks finally registered a blowout after coming out on top in a series of grueling nailbiters. Self’s boys had the look of a national title contender in the second half when they emphatically threw down alley-oop after alley-oop. Embattled sophomore Carlton Bragg, who flushed home a couple of rim-rattling putbacks of his own, rose from the dead to score 15 points in 22 minutes.
It’s been a rough season for the Cleveland native. Bragg’s been suspended twice for off-court incidents. Hopefully, Wednesday’s performance will propel him to bigger and better things going down the stretch. “Just take another step. Just build on it,” Bragg said after the Jayhawks added more Big 12 hardware to their trophy case. “You can’t rest on it. Don’t take things for granted.”
3) Kansas City native Brandon Rush, the leading scorer on KU’s 2008 national championship team, had his #25 jersey retired at halftime. “Man, it feels so good to be back on this floor again,” Rush told the announced crowd of 16,300 during his emotional four-minute speech.
“This is the biggest day of my life.”
Congratulations KU on making history!
Now make it 14 in a row next year.