Kansas’ OT win proves Big 12’s unpredictability

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As crazy as the Big 12 has been this year, it should not shock anyone how Tuesday’s overtime game between ninth-ranked Kansas and No. 20 West Virginia turned out.

In a wild finish that saw Kansas rally from an 18-point deficit, the Jayhawks managed to edge out the Mountaineers 76-69 to clinch their 11th straight Big 12 regular-season championship.

Kansas’ 11 straight conference titles are behind only the 13 consecutive conference championships that UCLA won in the John Wooden Era.

Even with the Jayhawks’ victory over the Mountaineers, the Big 12 still remains a complete mystery headed into its conference championship.

Kansas closes out its regular season with a Saturday game against No. 15 Oklahoma, who allowed No. 17 Iowa State to rally from a 20-point deficit on March 2.

In between those ranked teams going head-to-head, No. 16 Baylor suffered a setback against unranked Texas the same night Kansas rallied from behind.

And No. 20 West Virginia will host an Oklahoma State team that has lost four-straight headed on March 7.

For much of Tuesday’s game though, it looked like a repeat performance was in store similar to when West Virginia upset the Jayhawks, 62-61, two weeks ago.

Instead, Frank Mason III tallied the last six points of the overtime period to seal the victory for the Jayhawks.

Kansas (24-6, 13-4) was without two key players as junior forward Perry Ellis suffered a knee injury late in the first half.

Kansas coach Bill Self said after the contest that it was a sprained right knee and that the Jayhawks’ leading scorer would miss Saturday’s game at No. 15 Oklahoma.

Forward Cliff Alexander also missed Monday’s game. Alexander is still awaiting the NCAA’s ruling on his eligibility issue.

Mason finished with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds. Forward Jamari Traylor tallied 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

Kelly Oubre Jr. added 12 and Devonte Graham finished with 10 to round out Kansas’ double-digit scorers.

West Virginia (22-8, 10-7) led 57-49 at the two-minute mark, but let the lead slip away after going 0-for-3 from the field in posting only two points and two turnovers.

Daxter Miles Jr. had a solid scoring night for the Mountaineers that was overshadowed in the loss. Miles Jr. posted a game-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor.

Guard Tarik Phillip came off the bench, scoring 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. Jonathan Holton registered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds on the night.

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