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Kansas Jayhawks Clinch Big XII Championship With 83-75 Win Over Oklahoma Sooners

Ed Zurga

The Oklahoma Sooners opening minutes proved to be sluggish as they found themselves in a 15-4 lead. The initial thought was that the Kansas Jayhawks were easily going to cruise to yet another Big XII Championship. However, the game proved to be much more of a struggle as KU prevailed 83-75 to clinch the title.

One of Cameron Clark's best performances of the season came against the Jayhawks earlier this year as he poured in 32 points. Again, Clark showed he was up to the challenge scoring 9 of the Sooners first 14 points sparking a run for OU who pulled to within one with 8:22 left on the clock. However, he would taper off down the stretch finishing with a team high 18 points.

From there, Bill Self and his squad took control ending the half on a 10-0 run as Kansas held a 42-33 lead going to the locker room despite foul trouble. The most noticeable difference in the first half was three point shooting. During the 20 minutes of play, KU connected on 6-of-10 attempts while the Sooners hit just 1-of-5.

Much of that was due to the game plan of doubling down in order to stop Joel Embiid. The result left OU scrambling to cover outside shooters. Make no mistake, the plan worked as the Jayhawks struggled to separate themselves from their opponent while Andrew Wiggins was unable to get free near the rim, an area he excels in.

The second half played witness to Oklahoma answering the run they gave up before the break with a 10-2 run of their own. With 10:04 left in regulation, the Sooners took a 58-54 lead behind a Buddy Hield and soon after a Tyler Neal three pointer.

At that point, the even scoring output from the Kansas starting five proved to be too much. Naadir Tharpe led all scorers with 19 points as the defense clamped down in the closing minutes. There is no doubt that Ryan Spangler did anything he could to help pull out the win. From tipping a rebound out to running the floor and playing physical defense, Spangler was competing. Needless to say, any effort OU made was too little too late.

The Jayhawks found multiple second chance opportunities thanks to winning the rebound margin 40 to 29.