If Texas doesn’t make the NCAA tournament, it will have plenty of moments to regret from the past month during a late-season slide.
If Kansas wins its 11th consecutive Big 12 Conference regular season title, it certainly will have earned it. But it also will be because a few things went its way at key times and others didn’t take advantage of some of the Jayhawks’ stumbles.
One of those defining moments for both teams came late in their meeting Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in 69-64 Kansas win.
Texas trailed by two points with 12.4 seconds remaining. Guard Isaiah Taylor, who was simply unstoppable at times earlier in the game, brought the ball up the floor and spun into the lane trying to attack the basket.
He appeared to be fouled by Kansas guard Frank Mason III, who bumped him with his body, and Perry Ellis, who reached back and hacked Taylor on the arm. There was no foul called and there should have been.
There is no way of knowing if Taylor would have made his free throws to tie the game or if Kansas would have came back down the floor and hit a game-winner.Taylor was 5-for-6 at the foul line and scored 17 points to lead the Longhorns.
Maybe it would have taken overtime. The problem is we didn’t get to see any of those possible outcomes because the men with the whistles missed a call they should have made.
The result Saturday definitely compounds the frustrations at Texas because the Longhorns proved they’re capable of competing at a high level with one of the nation’s better teams in a hostile environment. It makes a 3-7 record over the past 10 games that much more confounding.
Kansas escaped with a hard-fought win playing for the first time without freshman Cliff Alexander, who is sitting out for an indefinite period of time while Kansas and the NCAA look into an eligibility issue involving Alexander.
Ellis came up huge in the game scoring 28 points with 13 rebounds in a battle with a strong Texas frontcourt. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 15 points and Mason scored 12. Kansas also managed to overcome going without a field goal over the final 5 minutes of the first half.
The Jayhawks remain atop the Big 12 standings at 12-4 with two games remaining. Oklahoma is one game behind. Those teams face each other in the regular season finale next week in a game that could decide the league’s champion.
(Thanks for the video CollegeBasketballTalk)
– – – – – – –