Kansas overcomes deficit, defeats Mizzou for Big 12 Crown


In what was perhaps the final installment of the Border War, Kansas used some major second half runs and perhaps a few favorable calls to escape with a win over hated rival Mizzou.

Mizzou took a 12 point lead into halftime and stretched their lead to 19 in the second half, seemingly finishing off their rival in blowout fashion. But Kansas refused to stay defeated. Feeding of an unbelievable crowd intensity, player of the year front runner Thomas Robinson led the Jayhawks on a furious comeback, including a controversial three point play that tied the game with only seconds left and the block of Phil Pressey’s layup to force overtime.

On the final three point play of regulation, Robinson jumped for a layup and crashed into Michael Dixon, who stood seemingly out of the play and did not even have his hands up for a defensive stop. When Robinson crashed into the otherwise confused Dixon, the contact altered the shot and Robinson drew the foul. Mizzou coach Frank Haith, when asked about the questionable call, only said he would review the play before speaking on it.

The Jayhawks and Tigers struggled for control in overtime, but with the Tigers down by one, Marcus Denmon hit a fade away jumper to put the Tigers on top. But unfortunately, the Tigers did a little too much celebrating and not enough defense. Kansas point guard Tyshon Taylor took the following inbounds pass and raced up the court, where he drew a foul as he passed Phil Pressey. The foul was Phil’s fifth, and he was ejected. But even this call was considered highly questionable, as the replay showed little to no contact. The foul was even dubbed the “phantom foul” by ESPN. Taylor hit both free throws, and put Kansas up by one with only eight seconds to play.

But Mizzou, like they had for much of the second half, dug their own grave with their final possession. With no time outs, guard Michael Dixon casually jogged the ball up the court without understanding the need for urgency, and by the time he could pass to Denmon to attempt the final shot, the clock had run out.

Despite the questionable calls, Mizzou really had no one but themselves to blame for letting the loss slip away. Digging the classic foul trouble hole prevented Mizzou from being defensively effective against Robinson’s inside game. And with both Pressey brothers and Ratliffe sidelined, Michael Dixon failed to lead the offensive attack effectively and Mizzou began settling for contested three pointers instead of attacking the paint.

And without an effective offense or defense, Kansas took the game over. Despite all their struggles, Mizzou still had plenty of chances to put Kansas away, leading in the final minute of both overtime and regulation, and having the last possession of both overtime and regulation. With the win Kansas clinches at least a share of the Big 12 for the ninth straight season, and ends one of the most storied rivalries on one of its most climactic notes ever.