College Basketball

The Phog 40: Bill Self’s Top 40 Wins at Kansas

19 through 10…

19. February 2, 2005 vs. No. 19 Oklahoma, 59-58

Before watching the Steelers beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, Kansas fans were watching their unranked Jayhawks play against league-leading Oklahoma. Sitting at 14-6 and unranked, Bill Self’s second year coaching Kansas was not bringing much to the table. The “down year” looked to be continuing as Oklahoma opened up a 53-38 lead with just under eight minutes to go. It looked like this was going to be Kansas’ seventh loss on the year. However, the young Jayhawks answered with an 15-0 run, tying the game. A Julian Wright tip-slam gave KU a 57-55 lead with 53 seconds to go. A Michael Neal three gave the Sooners the lead back with just 26 seconds left, but was immediately answered by a Mario Chalmers floater. Kansas held on OU’s final possession to finish the comeback.

18. February 23, 2009 at No. 3 Oklahoma, 87-78

Although the game lost a bit of it’s luster due to Blake Griffin sitting out with a concussion, Kansas’ win in Norman is still remembered by Kansas fans. Also remembered is Sherron Collins hitting what felt like a countless number of threes from the top of the key. Collins was a large part of a massive 50-16 run the Jayhawks put on the Sooners in the midst of a game which would put the winner in the driver’s seat of the Big XII race. Collins finished the night with 26, as did Tyshawn Taylor. Cole Aldrich had 15 points to go along with 20 rebounds.

17. November 25, 2003 vs. No. 3 Michigan State, 81-74

Bill Self refers to them as “Big Boy Games.” This was the first of his career at Kansas, with Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team coming into Allen Fieldhouse. At this point in the season, Self’s club (and Self for that matter) were still a bit of a mystery to the Kansas faithful. They passed their first test, beating the Spartans 81-74. The night will be remembered for J.R. Giddens’ back-to-back dunks which almost blew the roof off of Allen Fieldhouse.

16. February 1, 2017 vs. No. 3 Baylor, 73-68

This was Kansas’ third-consecutive game against a top-20 opponent and second game against a top five team in five days. Going into the game, many wondered how KU’s frontcourt depth (or lack thereof) would be able to match up with Baylor’s length. The Jayhawks were definitely affected in the first half, going into the half down by six. However, Josh Jackson scored 23 and helped KU overcome Scott Drew and the Bears, giving Kansas the upper hand in the Big XII race.

15. January 1, 2005 vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech, 70-68 OT

Keith Langford’s half-spin jumper is a shot which lives in many Kansas basketball highlight reels. Usually New Year’s Day games consist of college bowl games, but this one featured two top ten opponents playing against each other ten months after battling for a spot in the Final Four. Although the Jarrett Jack and Georgia Tech got the one which mattered most, this win for Bill Self’s team is not one which gets forgotten. The Yellow Jackets raced out to a 16-point lead in the first half, but KU continued to chip-away and had a shot to win in regulation. Langford’s miss in regulation set up his game-winner in overtime.

14. January 30, 2010 at No. 11 Kansas State, 81-79 OT

College Gameday was in Manhattan for the Sunflower Showdown which was one of the most hyped games in the history of the rivalry. It’s safe to say the game lived up to the hype. With KU up by one in the overtime period, Sherron Collins drove to the basket, hitting a floater while being fouled. The and-one basket sealed KU’s victory in Manhattan and continued their undefeated Big XII season, for the time being.

13. February 13, 2017 vs. No. 9 West Virginia, 84-80 OT

Over the years, Allen Fieldhouse has witnessed some improbable comebacks. Some games in which Kansas appeared to have zero chance at finishing the game on top. However, all those games fail in comparison to this one. KU was down by 14 points with 2:45 left in the game, only to come back and win. With the score 64-50, Kansas fans were leaving early. There have been times in which fans wearing crimson and blue left early, but usually it was when they were on the positive side of a 14-point game. Two Frank Mason III free throws cut the lead to 12, followed by a step-back three by Mason. A combination of missed West Virginia free throws and then a barrage of Kansas threes ultimately ended up resulting in the most impossible comeback in Allen Fieldhouse history.

12. January 28, 2017 at No. 14 Kentucky, 79-73

Earlier in the week it was announced Carlton Bragg would not be playing in this game due to a suspension from off-the-court issues. Coming off a loss in Morgantown only five days prior, many KU fans chalked this one up to a loss. Zero frontcourt depth, tough matchup for the backcourt, on the road, etc. Even Las Vegas gave the Jayhawks a slim chance, making them eight-point underdogs. Down double-digits in the first half, it appeared the game was heading the way many Jayhawkers expected. However, a late first half run cut the deficit to five and swung the momentum for KU. A late second half run and 21 and 20 from Frank Mason III and Josh Jackson, respectively, allowed KU to defeat Kentucky for the second year in a row.

11. February 13, 2016 at No. 3 Oklahoma, 76-72

One month after the historic triple-overtime game against the Sooners in Lawrence, Bill Self took his team into Norman to face Buddy Hield and the third-ranked Sooners. The teams were tied atop the conference standings and this game would give the definitive upper hand to the winner. With College Gameday in attendance, KU raced out to a 20-6 lead before Oklahoma settled down and cut the lead to five before the half. The second half featured a ton of back-and-forth action, with OU taking a six-point advantage at one point. However, the Jayhawks, led by Devonte’ Graham, continued to chop away at the Sooner lead late in the second half. Down 71-70 with over two minutes left, a Wayne Selden missed free throw ended up in Brannen Greene’s hands, who fired a three which resulted in an airball. The rebound went directly to Perry Ellis, who kicked it to Graham in the corner and hit a triple to take the lead right in front of his team’s bench. The Jayhawks were able to close it out, winning the game and eventually the league for the 12th year in a row.

10. February 28, 2005 vs. No. 4 Oklahoma State, 81-79

Losing three games in a row is not something which happens very often to Bill Self as well as Kansas. However, late in the 2005 season, KU had lost three in a row to Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma. One week after a loss in Norman, KU welcomed the fourth-ranked Cowboys into Allen Fieldhouse. Both teams sat with three losses in conference, tied for first in the league. The Graham brothers, along with John Lucas, gave Oklahoma State one of their best teams in a long time, a team that would end up reaching the Final Four. A Lucas three gave Oklahoma State a seven-point lead with 5:45 to go and also made Lucas 9-9 from the field on the day. However, All-American Wayne Simien and the Jayhawks continued to fight back, eventually taking the lead on an Aaron Miles layup with under a minute left. A Lucas three missed as time expired, giving KU the win and first place in the Big 12. Wayne Simien was incredible, scoring 32 points to go along with 12 rebounds.

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