LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)KJ Adams scored a career-high 22 points and No. 2 Kansas closed the game on an 18-4 run to beat Oklahoma 79-75 on Tuesday night.
It wasn’t easy, but in what Kansas coach Bill Self calls ”a monster league,” a win is a win.
”Give OU credit,” Self said. ”They did everything you’re supposed to do to win a game on the road. They controlled tempo. They played smart. For the most part, they took care of the ball. They did a lot of good things. What else could they have done?
”We’re so happy that we won, but that’s about as poor as we’ve played in a long time.”
Kansas (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) got 17 points from Jalen Wilson, 11 from Dajuan Harris and 10 from Zach Clemence. The Jayhawks have won 22 straight games against Oklahoma in Allen Fieldhouse, including 16 straight under Self.
”We’ve been battle tested so much this year, especially with close games, we always find a way to stay composed,” Wilson said. ”We just continued to play our ball. There’s no 10-point play, so there’s no point in rushing the shots.
”There wasn’t a time when I thought the game was over, because I know we’re always going to find a way to win.”
Grant Sherfield scored a season-high 25 points for Oklahoma (10-5, 1-2 Big 12). Sam Godwin added 12 points, Milos Uzan had 11 and Tanner Groves had 10.
Kansas led by as many as seven points early in the second half, but Oklahoma used a 6-0 run to take a 50-48 lead with 14:12 left. The Sooners were still ahead 56-53 with 11:20 left in the game when Groves picked up his fourth foul.
Oklahoma hung tough, and led 61-56 with about nine minutes left as Adams was called for his fourth foul. The Sooners’ largest lead of the game – 65-58 – came with 7:06 left.
But Kansas went on a run that’s almost expected when it’s playing at home.
”When something good happens (for Kansas) down the stretch it’s hard to communicate because it’s so loud,” Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said. ”There’s a belief in here from the fan base. That snowball starts going downhill.”
Kansas went more than 12 minutes without a field goal in the second half, but Adams ended that streak with a thunderous dunk at the 5:06 mark.
”Juan does that pass all the time so I was waiting for it,” Adams said. ”Then Allen Fieldhouse did what they did and got really loud. That gave us a lot of confidence to finish the game.”
A 3-pointer by Wilson cut the deficit to 71-66 and Harris’ layup trimmed it to 3 points.
After the teams traded buckets, Wilson found Adams underneath for a dunk to cut Oklahoma’s lead to one. Following an OU miss, Kevin McCullar was fouled on a successful drive to the hoop and his free throw gave Kansas a 75-73 lead.
”I do think it’s this place, but sometimes when you talk about this place you don’t give enough credit to the players,” Self said. ”There were some guys making some plays. Kevin McCullar hadn’t done much at all, then he had that unbelievable drive.”
Oklahoma: Hosts West Virginia on Saturday.
Kansas: Hosts No. 14 Iowa State on Saturday.
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