March 11, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Sherron Collins scored 20 points and No. 2 Kansas rallied after another hot start by Texas' Kevin Durant to beat the 15th-ranked Longhorns 88-84 in overtime Sunday and claim their second straight Big 12 title.
Durant, the Big 12 player of the year, matched his career high with 37 points but took only two shots in overtime and did not score.
Russell Robinson hit a jumper from the left wing to put Kansas on top 83-81 with 2:19 left in the extra period, and Julian Wright added a free throw to push the lead to three. D.J. Augustin had a 3-point attempt and a runner in the lane blocked on consecutive Texas possessions, and Darnell Jackson's two free throws extended Kansas' lead to 86-81 with 13.2 seconds left.
A.J. Abrams hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Texas one last chance, but Robinson hit two foul shots with 5.3 seconds left to seal the win. Durant's final shot - a 3-pointer from the right wing - caromed away with 2 seconds left.
"That's one of the best games I've ever been a part of. That comeback in Lawrence paled in comparison," said Kansas coach Bill Self, whose team came back from 16 points down against Texas one week earlier.
Wright and Brandon Rush each added 19 points, and Mario Chalmers - who hit the tying 3-pointer to force overtime - scored 17 for Kansas, which has won five Big 12 titles. The Jayhawks enter the NCAA tournament on a season-best 11-game winning streak.
Abrams added 19 points for Texas, which led by 22 points in the first half. Two days after rallying from 20 points down against Baylor in the biggest comeback in Big 12 tournament history, the Longhorns gave up an even bigger lead.
Durant still set a Big 12 tournament record with 92 points in Texas' three games - breaking the record Iowa State's Marcus Fizer set by scoring 79 in three games in the 2000 tourney. The 6-foot-9 freshman also had 10 rebounds to pass LaSalle Thompson's record for rebounds in a single season for Texas. It was Durant's 20th double-double of the season.
Like he did in the teams' regular-season meeting a week earlier, Durant got off to a hot start and pushed the Longhorns to a huge lead before Kansas came back.
Durant got his first shot swatted but bounced back by scoring eight consecutive points - including a pair of 3-pointers - to get Texas started on a 19-2 run. He followed a jumper in the lane with another falling away on the left side to give the Longhorns a 21-6 edge.
He had seven more points, the last on a 3-pointer from NBA range, before Augustin carved his way under the basket for a layup that ended an 11-0 spurt and made it 32-10.
That didn't mean the infinitely-deep Jayhawks were out of it, though. Only a week earlier, Kansas rallied from 16 points down - eliminating a 12-point halftime deficit in 5 minutes - to beat Texas 90-86 and claim the Big 12 regular season title outright.
Rush nailed a 3-pointer to get Kansas on track after a 4-for-18 start, and Wright beat Durant for a dunk and a layup as the Jayhawks started picking up steam.
Rush added two more 3-pointers, and Durant appeared rattled as the Jayhawks outscored Texas 24-7 to close within 39-34 at the half. In the final 90 seconds of the period, Durant stepped out of bounds, let a pass squirt right through his hands and missed the rim entirely on a driving runner from the right side.
Abrams and Damion James combined to score Texas' first 10 points of the second half, and Durant's two free throws gave the Longhorns a 51-42 lead before Kansas closed to within two with seven straight points from Rush and Wright.
Collins hit a 3-pointer and a jumper to cut the deficit to 55-54 with 11 1/2 minutes let, but then had his driving layup for the lead blocked by Durant. The Jayhawks finally completed their comeback when Chalmers hit two foul shots during a 9-0 run that gave Kansas a 65-60 lead.
Durant erased that deficit with a basket off an offensive rebound. Craig Winder's layup off a fast-break miss gave Texas a 73-71 lead.
The Jayhawks rallied from a 78-74 deficit in the final minute when Collins hit a jumper and Chalmers hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 15 seconds left.
In between, Winder missed one of his two free throws to open the door for Kansas.
Durant missed a turnaround jumper from the right side that would have given the Longhorns the win.
2007 PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Kevin Durant, Texas - Most Outstanding Player
Curtis Jerrells, Baylor
Brandon Rush, Kansas
Julian Wright, Kansas
A.J. Abrams, Texas