No Blake Griffin? Problem.
The Kansas Jayhawks, thanks to some incredible 3-point shooting down the stretch, went to Norman, Oklahoma last night and took control of the Big 12 conference by beating the Blake Griffin-less Sooners, 87-78. While there may be some sort of asterisk next to the Kansas’ win, the fact is, the Jayhawks overcame an 14-point deficit on the road and won by 9. Of course, missing a player of Griffin’s ability is going to make a difference. Just ask Cole Aldridge and his 15 point, 20 rebound, 4 block game. Would the Jayhawk sophomore center been as successful with Griffin matching him in the paint?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Nevertheless, Kansas’ accomplishment, powered by some stellar 3-point shooting, courtesy of Sherron Collins (22-second half points, 5-8 from downtown) and freshman Tyshawn Taylor (career-high 26 points, 3-5 from behind the arc), should not be discounted. Collins essentially won the game for Kansas when he exploded in the second half. Down the stretch, it was Collins who also hit the big shots to stave off Oklahoma’s comeback attempt, including one from about 30 feet.
As for the Sooners, they could get another crack at the Jayhawks in the Big 12 Tournament, provided both teams survive until the final game (or don’t collapse over their last three regular season games, screwing up the current tournament seedings).
Kansas’ win puts the Jayhawks in the Big 12 driver’s seat and directly in line for a number two seed in the Big Dance; especially if they win out the rest of their regular season schedule, which includes a home game against Missouri this upcoming Sunday. I have a feeling payback will be in the air for that game.