Bill Self described Monday night's showdown with Texas as something close to a must-win game as it pertains to Kansas' goal of winning at least a share of the Big 12 title for the 17th time in 20 seasons under its Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coach. Right from the jump, the Jayhawks played like it with an obvious sense of urgency.
The result was a victory.
Final score: KU 88, UT 80.
The Jayhawks led by as many as 14 points in the first half before holding on for the eight-point victory inside a sold-out Allen Fieldhouse. Somewhat surprisingly, they won the game despite getting just two points from their leading scorer (Jalen Wilson) and only six points from the 3-point line.
"We knew we had to come in here and get the win," said Kansas freshman Gradey Dick, who had the Jayhawks' only two 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 21 points. "The big thing, just in preparation for the week, was coming out with energy. When we do that, we're a scary team."
Had Kansas lost, the Jayhawks would've dropped to 6-5 in the Big 12 while the Longhorns improved to 9-2 and secured a three-game lead in the league standings over KU with just seven conference games left to play. That's why Self labeled this something close to a must-win game, because instead of being three games back of first-place Texas with seven to play, the Jayhawks are now just one game back of first-place Texas with seven to play.
"You go down three games with seven left, you'd have to win out and get a lot of help from others [to still win at least a share of the Big 12]," Self said. "Now … if we play well, we have a shot."
Like most Big 12 games, this was a Quadrant-1 opportunity for Kansas, meaning the Jayhawks now have a national-best 10 Q1 wins. That's among the reasons Kansas is up to No. 4 in Tuesday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, where Purdue remains No. 1 for the 16th consecutive day.
Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer combined to go 5 of 20 from the field in Saturday's 79-74 loss at Indiana. The Boilermakers' next game is Thursday against Iowa.||--||29-6|
|Noah Clowney finished with 14 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 79-69 win at LSU. The Crimson Tide's next game is Wednesday against Florida.||--||31-6|
|Jarace Walker finished with 23 points and six rebounds in Sunday's 81-65 win at Temple. The Cougars' next game is Wednesday against Tulsa.||--||33-4|
|Gradey Dick finished with 21 points and four rebounds in Monday's 88-80 win over Texas. The Jayhawks' next game is Saturday at Oklahoma.||2||28-8|
|Starters not named Marcus Carr were limited to just 30 points in Monday's 88-80 loss at Kansas. The Longhorns' next game is Saturday against West Virginia.||1||29-9|
|Azuolas Tubelis finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's 84-52 win over Oregon State. The Wildcats' next game is Thursday at California.||1||28-7|
|Jaren Holmes finished with 15 points and six rebounds Saturday's 68-53 win over Kansas .The Cyclones' next game is Wednesday at West Virginia.||--||19-14|
|Jaime Jaquez Jr. finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds in Saturday's 76-52 win over Washington State. The Bruins' next game is Thursday at Oregon State.||--||31-6|
|Ismael Massoud finished 1 of 9 from the field in Saturday's 69-66 loss to Texas. The Wildcats' next game is Tuesday against TCU.||--||26-10|
|Josiah-Jordan James finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday/s 46-43 win over Auburn. The Vols' next game is Wednesday at Vanderbilt.||--||25-11|
|Keyonte George finished with 17 points and five rebounds in Saturday's 89-62 win over Texas Tech. The Bears' next game is Wednesday against Oklahoma.||--||23-11|
|Jack Nunge finished with 21 points and six assists in Saturday's 96-71 win over St. John's. The Musketeers' next game is Friday at Butler.||--||27-10|
|Virginia allowed the Hokies to shoot 50.9% from the field in Saturday's 74-68 loss at Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers' next game is Tuesday against NC State.||--||25-8|
|Tyler Kolek finished with 13 points and eight assists in Saturday's 60-52 win over Butler. The Golden Eagles' next game is Tuesday at UConn.||--||29-7|
|Aidan Mahaney finished with 18 points and three assists in Saturday's 78-70 overtime win over Gonzaga. The Gaels' next game is Thursday at Loyola Marymount.||--||27-8|
|Gonzaga only grabbed three offensive rebounds in Saturday's 78-70 overtime loss at Saint Mary's. The Zags' next game is Thursday against San Francisco.||--||31-6|
|Bryce Hopkins finished 3 of 14 from the field in Wednesday's 85-83covertime loss at Xavier. The Friars' next game is Wednesday against Georgetown.||--||21-12|
|D.J. Burns Jr. finished with 24 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's 72-64 win over Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack's next game is Tuesday at Virginia.||--||23-11|
San Diego St.
|Nathan Mensah finished with 17 points and six rebounds in Friday's 72-52 win over Boise State. The Aztecs' next game is Wednesday at Utah State.||--||31-6|
|Vladislav Goldin finished with 15 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 67-52 win at Charlotte. The Owls' next game is Thursday against Rice.||--||35-3|
|Norchad Omier finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds in Monday's 81-59 win over Duke. The Hurricanes' next game is Saturday against Louisville.||--||29-7|
|Damian Baugh finished 3 of 12 from the field in Saturday's 79-73 loss at Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs' next game is Tuesday at Kansas State.||--||22-13|
|Trayce Jackson-Davis finished with 25 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's 79-74 win over Purdue. The Hoosiers' next game is Tuesday against Rutgers.||--||23-12|
|Auburn only shot 23.6% from the field in Saturday's 46-43 loss at Tennessee. The Tigers' next game is Tuesday at Texas A&M.||--||21-13|
|Adama Sanogo finished with 15 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 68-62 win at Georgetown. The Huskies' next game is Tuesday against Marquette.||--||29-8|
|Paul Mulcahy finished with 17 points and three assists in Saturday's 61-55 win over Michigan State. The Scarlet Knights' next game is Tuesday at Indiana.||--||19-15|