LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- If this game does not ultimately decide
the Big 12 championship, it should have.
Kansas (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today; No. 8 AP) shot 66 percent from the field, No. 4 Oklahoma
State hit 59 percent and both old rivals played almost flawlessly
in key stretches Sunday before the Jayhawks finally emerged with an
"Certainly, for me, it was an honor to coach in this game,"
Kansas' Bill Self said. "This will go down as one of the great
ones to ever be played in this building."
Wayne Simien had a career-high 32 points and Aaron Miles hit a
running layup with 37 seconds to go for the Jayhawks (21-4, 11-3),
who have a one-game lead over Oklahoma State (20-5, 10-4) and Oklahoma (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP) with two games to play.
Simien had 12 rebounds and was 10-of-11 from the foul line,
breaking the school record with 34 consecutive free throws as the
Jayhawks snapped their first three-game losing streak in 11 years.
"I think you could make a case that for today at least, there
was not a better player in America," Self said.
John Lucas, one of four senior starters for Oklahoma State, hit
his first nine shots but he missed a long 3-point attempt seconds
before the final buzzer.
"What a great college basketball game," Oklahoma State coach
Eddie Sutton said. "When both teams play like that, it is a shame
that one has to lose."
Lucas' first miss came with 1:31 to go and the game tied at 78.
With 37 seconds left, Miles, the Big 12 assists leader, scored the
go-ahead basket for an 80-78 lead.
"Christian (Moody) did a good job setting a screen," Miles
said. "Dub (Simien) cleared out the lane and I hit the shot."
Oklahoma State freshman JamesOn Curry was fouled by Moody and
went to the line with 25 seconds left. He made the second free
throw to make it a one-point game. Miles was fouled with 19 seconds
to go and he hit the second for the 81-79 lead.
After dribbling between the circle for a few seconds, Lucas
launched the 3-point attempt that hit the rim.
"When it left his hand it was like it was in slow motion,"
Simien said. "I thought he was going to make it. He seemed like he
couldn't miss all day long."
Fast-paced throughout, this was a game that was befitting of a
major conference championship showdown. The teams combined to shoot
"This was a great ball game," Lucas said. "One of the best
ball games all year."
Lucas, last season's Big 12 player of the year, had 22 points
while Joey Graham added 19 and Curry 15.
Sutton, who has 775 career victories, will probably retire
without ever leading the Cowboys to a victory in Kansas' Allen
Fieldhouse, where his Oklahoma State teams are 0-11 under him.
"If we both played like that, we would beat a lot of people,"
Sutton said. "This was a good game even though we lost. It was
still a great game for us."
Keith Langford had 14 points and Miles added 13 for Kansas.
After last Monday's loss at Oklahoma, the Kansas players
declared themselves off-limits to the media and Self confiscated
all their cell phones.
"I don't know if that helped them at all," Self said. "But if
they think it did. ..."
Langford glided in for a layup with 7:39 left that put the
Jayhawks up 67-64.
But the Cowboys needed only 21 seconds to take back the lead.
Graham hit a short jumper in the lane and Lucas followed with a
12-footer to put Oklahoma State on top 68-67.
At that point, the Jayhawks were shooting 70 percent (28-of-40)
but still trailed.
Graham then made his first 3-pointer and the lead went to 74-67
when Ivan McFarlin outfought Simien for a rebound and Lucas hit his
fourth 3-pointer in as many tries.
Simien made two free throws and Miles hit one from beyond the
arc, slicing the lead to 76-72, but back came Curry with a
14-footer that made it 78-72.
Two free throws by Simien and Langford's turnaround jumper
sliced the lead to 78-76 and then with 1:31 to play, Simien went to
the line and tied it 78-all.
The Cowboys, gunning for their first consecutive conference
titles since 1953-54, have home games left against Texas A&M and
Texas. The Jayhawks are home on Wednesday against Kansas State and
then end their season at Missouri. Oklahoma finishes at Texas and
Simien hit his first four free throws and ran his streak to 34
straight in the first half, setting the school record. The 6-foot-9
power forward hit his first five shots of the first half and had 14
points at halftime.