Azubuike leads Kansas past Bamba-less Texas, 80-70

The sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks clinched the Big 12 basketball title outright Monday night, downing the short-handed Texas Longhorns, 80-70, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Two days ago, Kansas won on the road at Texas Tech to secure at least a tie for the crown.

By beating Texas, the Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4) won their fifth game in a row and ensured that they would finish in first place all alone for their Division I record 14th straight championship.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike scored 20 points to lead Kansas. Guard Svi Mykhailiuk added 17.

Not to be outdone, Jayhawks point guard Devonte Graham added 10 points, 11 assists and four rebounds, fueling speculation that he could challenge Oklahoma’s Trae Young for Big 12 Player of the Year honors.

“I knew I was going to cry,” said Graham, a senior playing his last game at home. “I wasn’t trying to play it off like a tough guy. We got to bring all the trophies out, watch the videos and really soak it all in. It’s special.”

For the Longhorns (17-13, 7-10), the loss left them in uncertainty as to how their record will stand up to scrutiny by the NCAA tournament committee.

Texas might need to win in its regular-season finale against West Virginia, and then win at least a couple of games in the Big 12 tournament, to get an NCAA invitation on March 11.

In their favor, the Longhorns battled hard against the Jayhawks, even without injured freshman center Mo Bamba.

Trailing by 13 at the half, the Longhorns put on a surge to cut the lead to six with 15 minutes remaining.

In response, Marcus Garrett hit a layup and Malik Newman buried a three for Kansas, expanding the lead to 56-45.

Later, Texas charged again, with guard Jacob Young making a steal and a layup to pull the Longhorns within 77-70.

But Kansas, aided by a Texas turnover, scored the final three points in the last 80 seconds to put the game away.

Kerwin Roach produced 18 points, eight assists and four rebounds for the Longhorns.

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