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|Texas A&M guard Acie Law (1) has been causing problems for the entire Big 12 all season.|
Despite conflicting comments after the game by the Aggies, fouling Kansas' Sasha Kaun was a brilliant move with 1:26 remaining and the Aggies down three points. Kaun, a 53.3 percent free-throw shooter, missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Senior Antanas Kavaliauskas, who Gillispie stuck with despite foul trouble all night, converted a three-point play on the ensuing possession to tie the game.
In hindsight, though, Gillispie didn't argue that the foul helped.
Kansas' Julian Wright converted a scoop layup to give Kansas its last lead of the night at 66-64. That set up Law's 3-pointer with 23.9 remaining.
Law clearly was aware of the Aggies' inability to win one of the headline games on the schedule.
"I felt like this was a great opportunity to prove to ourselves and to the nation that we could win the Big 12," Law said. "We felt we could win the Big 12 and compete for a national title. We saw this as an opportunity to get them on their own floor.
"A lot of people were saying we couldn't win the big one and we let games slip away."
Because of the Big 12's unbalanced scheduling, Kansas had a huge advantage by getting all three supposed contenders (Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas) at home without having to play a return game. So, far, the Jayhawks split the first two with Texas remaining to close the regular season. The Aggies and Jayhawks both lost at Texas Tech. But with Texas' loss at home to Kansas State, coupled with the Aggies' win over KU, Texas A&M is alone in first in the conference, a game ahead of KU, Texas and Kansas State. Up next for A&M is a big rivalry game with Texas on Monday (ESPN, 9 ET) in College Station.
With that game also on national TV, Law is savvy enough to know these two games in three days could put the Aggies on the national map. Yes, they came into Lawrence ranked No. 8, but seriously, did anyone look at them as a legitimate threat to win the title?
"We looked at our team as having a chance to win it all," Law said. Now the tough chore is completing the stretch with a win over the Longhorns, which Law said should be quite a challenge.
"It's going to be tough, he's Mr. Superstar," Law said of Durant. "I really enjoy watching him play. We'll put all five on Durant. He's a great player and I have no idea how we're going to do it."
The Aggies don't have much time to celebrate this one. You could say they did their share after the game, bouncing around at midcourt on the oversized Jayhawk logo. A few fans booed the celebration, which probably was the reason that Law quickly apologized after the game, saying that the Aggies have class and that it was a case of being a bit overzealous with the win.
It's hard to criticize them. The Aggies deserved to let loose. They just conquered Kansas in what possibly could be the first stage toward winning the Big 12. There's also a possible No. 2 seed in the national tournament on the horizon. And Law clearly deserves to be in the conversation with Durant for Big 12 Player of the Year if he continues to play like he did Saturday night and if he also keeps the Aggies in first place over the final month of the season. Now that would be headline-making material. Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.