LAWRENCE, Kan. — It was the best atmosphere that Kansas coach Bill Self could remember. Thomas Robinson said the Jayhawks rose to another level. Tyshawn Taylor simply smiled, shook his head in disbelief and tried to describe his emotions.
“I’m so proud of my teammates,” he said finally. “They stuck it out, man.”
In the final scheduled game between Kansas and Missouri, it was only fitting the two bitter adversaries would need five extra minutes to decide it.
Robinson’s three-point play in the waning moments of regulation kept alive the 105-year, 267-game rivalry, and Taylor’s free throws with 8.3 seconds remaining in overtime gave the fourth-ranked Jayhawks a dramatic 87-86 victory over the No. 3 Tigers on Saturday.
“I’m not the most emotional guy, but that’s about as good as it gets,” said Self, whose team clinched a share of an unprecedented eighth straight Big 12 Conference championship.
Kansas holds a 172-95 edge in the series,which began in 1907.
Missouri, which blew a 19-point second-half lead, never got off a winning try after Taylor’s two free throws. Michael Dixon was boxed in by Robinson as he tried to get to the basket, and the buzzer sounded on a series steeped in tradition.
“These guys played their hearts out. We left it on the court,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said.
Robinson had 28 points and 12 rebounds for Kansas (24-5, 14-2), which sent the Tigers off to the Southeastern Conference with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Taylor added 24 points and five assists, and Connor Teahan made all four of his 3-pointers as the Jayhawks mounted their big second-half charge.
Marcus Denmon scored 28 points to lead Missouri (25-4, 12-4). Ricardo Ratliffe finished with 22 and Dixon added 17.
The Tigers were in control early in the second half, but Kansas methodically chopped away, with Robinson working inside and the Jayhawks exploiting the Tigers’ foul trouble.
Robinson’s basket inside got Kansas within 71-70, and Travis Releford answered a basket by Denmon with two free throws. Ratliffe restored a three-point lead with two foul shots of his own, but the Jayhawks still had time to draw even.
Robinson took a feed in the post and backed down Dixon, getting his leaner to go as he was undercut for the foul. His free throw with 16.1 seconds left tied the game at 75.
“I want to see that foul,” Haith said afterward.
The schools started playing in 1907 and joined the same conference the following year, setting the stage for more than a century of animosity. There have been bench-clearing brawls, game-winning shots and enough colorful characters to make both sides proud.
But all that will end with Missouri leaving for the SEC. Officials from Kansas have no intention of playing the Tigers out of conference, feeling as though Missouri jilted fellow members of the Big 12 and nearly brought the league to ruin with its decision to depart.
Students began lining up for prime seats at daybreak last Sunday, and thousands formed a mob outside Allen Fieldhouse before tipoff. The fans worked themselves into a wall of noise during player introductions.
The sound registered at 120.2 decibels, roughly equal to that of a jet engine.AROUND THE NATION
DAVIS, KENTUCKY RULE SEC — At Lexington, Ky., freshman Anthony Davis scored 28 points on 10-of-11 shooting, and No. 1 Kentucky (28-1, 14-0) gained an 83-74 win over Vanderbilt (20-9, 9-5) to capture its 45th Southeastern Conference regular-season title.
NO. 2 ORANGE CLINCH BIG EAST — At Storrs, Conn., Fab Melo’s follow-up dunk with 31 seconds to go lifted No. 2 Syracuse (29-1, 16-1) to a 71-69 win over Connecticut (17-11, 7-9), clinching the Big East regular-season title.
DUKE SURVIVES IN OT – At Durham, N.C., Austin Rivers scored 23 points and Seth Curry added 19 to carry No. 4 Duke (25-4, 12-2 Atlantic Coast) to a 70-65 overtime victory over Virginia Tech (15-14, 4-10).
ZELLER KEYS TAR HEELS – At Charlottesville, Va., Tyler Zeller scored 20 points, including a dunk with 13.3 seconds left with the shot clock winding down, and No. 7 North Carolina (25-4, 12-2 ACC) swept the season series with a 54-51 win over No. 25 Virginia (21-7, 8-6).
MICHIGAN FALLS AT HOME — At Ann Arbor, Mich., Terone Johnson had 22 points to help Purdue (19-10, 9-7 Big Ten) upset No. 11 Michigan 75-61, handing the Wolverines (21-8, 11-5) their first home defeat. They had been 15-0 at Crisler Arena.
NO. 12 GATORS TUMBLE — At Athens, Ga., freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 points, guiding Georgia (13-15, 4-10 SEC) to a 76-62 victory over No. 12 Florida (22-7, 10-4).
JACKSON LIFTS BEARS — At Waco, Texas, Las Vegas native Pierre Jackson (Desert Pines) had 18 points, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer, to power 13th-ranked Baylor (24-5, 11-5 Big 12) to a 70-60 win over Oklahoma (14-14, 4-12).