STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Kansas had already clinched its 13th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title, so there was nothing on the line against Oklahoma State.
Turns out, the game meant a lot to the Jayhawks. They had dropped three straight in Stillwater and were ready to end the streak.
Frank Mason III scored 27 points to help No. 1 Kansas hold off Oklahoma State 90-85 on Saturday night.
“It means a lot to get my first win here,” said Mason, a senior. “We’ve been bad for the last three years here, and we just wanted to come here and change it.”
Mason, the Big 12’s leading scorer, also had nine assists and eight rebounds.
“This was like Russ Westbrook numbers out there,” Kansas center Landen Lucas said. “He’s close to a triple-double, he did things defensively to help us out. I mean, he carried the team.”
Josh Jackson had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Devonte’ Graham added 13 points for the Jayhawks, who won their eighth straight overall. The Jayhawks (28-3, 16-2) shot 56 percent against one of the hottest teams in the league.
Jeffrey Carroll scored a career-high 27 points and Jawun Evans added 22 points and a career-best 15 assists for Oklahoma State (20-11, 9-9).
Kansas led by 12 in the first half before Oklahoma State rallied. Carroll’s 3-pointer with 18.3 seconds left in regulation cut the Jayhawks’ lead to 88-85, but the Cowboys got no closer.
“We won several games just like this game that came down to the last few minutes, and the guys have been pretty good finishers,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “They’re pretty confident in late-game situations.”
Oklahoma State enters the Big 12 Tournament with confidence, despite losses to No. 24 Iowa State and Kansas this week.
“We didn’t lose anything,” coach Brad Underwood said. “We got beat by two really good teams in the Top 25 — one on the road (Iowa State), one is the top team in the country. We’re not playing bad. There’s a difference between playing bad and losing. We’ve got to figure out a couple of things to do differently to win them, and we’ll get there because we’ve been there.”
The Jayhawks are in a solid position, and because Oklahoma State has played so well lately, Kansas had little to lose anyway.
Oklahoma State entered with a chance to maybe move the needle for an NCAA Tournament seed. The loss probably won’t have much of an effect. The Cowboys could be in the discussion for a top-eight seed.
Kansas should remain No. 1. Oklahoma State, which was receiving votes in the poll, will remain on the radar.
Evans’ assist total was the fourth-highest in school history, and the most by an Oklahoma State player since Doug Gottlieb had 16 against North Texas in 1999.
It was the final home game for Oklahoma State senior guard Phil Forte, the school’s career leader in 3-pointers and its No. 6 all-time scorer. He finished with 13 points.
“It was different,” Forte said. “I was just trying to take it all in, to soak up every last moment of it, from just taking the court, to the fans, to pregame with my teammates, everything. I was just trying to get lost in the moment and trying to enjoy it as much as I could.”
Lucas, on winning the Big 12: “That’s one of our goals and we accomplished it, and now we’re moving on to the next one. We take the year section by section, and that was the Big 12, and now, we’re looking to go to the Big 12 Tournament and validate what we did.”
Kansas will play Oklahoma or TCU on Thursday at the Big 12 Tournament.
Oklahoma State will play No. 24 Iowa State on Thursday at the Big 12 Tournament.
No. 1 KANSAS 90, OKLAHOMA ST. 85
Lucas 4-6 2-2 10, Mason 9-16 6-6 27, Mykhailiuk 1-2 0-0 3, Graham 4-12 1-2 13, Jackson 8-11 0-0 17, Coleby 0-0 0-0 0, Bragg 5-6 1-2 11, Vick 3-8 3-5 9. Totals 34-61 13-17 90.
OKLAHOMA ST. (20-11)
Hammonds 4-8 0-0 10, Solomon 2-6 2-2 6, Evans 7-18 7-7 22, Forte 5-11 0-0 13, Carroll 9-17 4-4 27, McGriff 0-1 0-0 0, Averette 0-4 0-0 0, Dillard 3-6 0-1 7. Totals 30-71 13-14 85.
Halftime_Kansas 43-40. 3-Point Goals_Kansas 9-21 (Graham 4-8, Mason 3-8, Mykhailiuk 1-2, Jackson 1-2, Vick 0-1), Oklahoma St. 12-36 (Carroll 5-11, Forte 3-8, Hammonds 2-6, Dillard 1-3, Evans 1-6, Averette 0-2). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Kansas 39 (Jackson 9), Oklahoma St. 26 (Solomon 5). Assists_Kansas 18 (Mason 9), Oklahoma St. 19 (Evans 15). Total Fouls_Kansas 15, Oklahoma St. 16. A_13,611 (13,611).