LAWRENCE, KS - MARCH 02: Markieff Morris #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies on March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
It wasn't pretty, but it doesn't always have to be. Kansas secured a seventh consecutive league title tonight with a 64-51 win over Texas A&M tonight.
In a game that started sluggish and both teams struggled to score, Kansas just couldn't get out of their own way enough to run away from A&M until late. Kansas led early and for the majority, but it just didn't have that convincing look that it clearly could have had if Kansas had been firing from the beginning. The Jayhawks led by just a 29-24 margin at half after a lethargic start and a somewhat discouraging 9-9 tie at the eight minute mark. A&M came out and played an effective game while Kansas did plenty to help that cause and senior night looked like it could be in jeopardy.
Fast forward to the second half where again Kansas couldn't seem to extend the lead and then thing changed right around the eight minute mark. With 7:41 to go in the game Tyrel Reed knocked down a three pointer, a three pointer putting the lead at six and leading to a timeout by A&M coach Mark Turgeon. Out of that timeout, fellow senior Brady Morningstar knocked down a three and Kansas led by 9 points. That was the point where Kansas finally seemed to get that "arms length" distance between themselves and the challenger and the Allen Fieldhouse crowd could sense the game and the league title in the Jayhawks grasp.
It was an impressive win and a comfortable win and when you sit back and think about the fact that A&M is no. 22 in the nation and third in the Big 12, it's no surprise that they were able to push Kansas for a good portion of the game. Sometimes realities like that are lost with a team like Kansas because of expectations. Of course tonight was about once again meeting and in a way excdeeding expectations by securing a 27th straight senior night victory and a 7th straight Big 12 conference title.
Hat tip to the Kansas seniors who keep the streak alive. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!