Texas Falls in OT of the Big 12 Finals

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Kansas Jayhawks overcame 37 from Texas' Kevin Durant and won the Big 12 Conference Tournament in overtime on Sunday, securing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the process.

Texas led solidly at halftime, carried by an impressive scoring performance by freshman forward Kevin Durant, but Kansas came storming back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit and was far from out of it.

No, you're not reading the game story from the Longhorns' March 3rd battle in Lawrence, Kan., but the story was much the same in Sunday's Big 12 Championship game. In the end, it was played out a little differently, but the result was the same: a Jayhawk Big 12 Championship.

This time Texas (24-9, 12-4 Big 12) took the game into overtime, but the Longhorns hit only one of their eight OT shots and fell to Kansas (30-4, 14-2 Big 12), 88-84.

Texas was led by Durant's 37, a record for the Big 12 Tournament Championship, but the freshman powerhouse, just like in Lawrence, did most of his damage in the first half, pacing Texas with 22 in the first frame.

"I missed easy shots," said Durant of his struggles in the second half and overtime. "They (Kansas) did a great job of pushing me out of the lane and helped the defense. I credit them."

Durant wasn't happy with the loss, but also kept things in perspective.

"It's a bigger week next week," said Durant. "We've just got to bounce back off this loss and get ready for the Tournament."

Durant also set the Big Tournament scoring record with 92 points over his three days in Oklahoma City. The freshman forward was also named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player and joined teammate A.J. Abrams on the All-Tournament team.

Texas took a 32-10 lead on the wings of Durant, but Kansas came storming back, going on 24-7 run to close out the first half. The Longhorns still led by five, 39-34, at halftime, but momentum was clearly in the Jayhawks' favor.

In the second half, Kansas slowly chipped away at the Longhorn lead and took a 61-60 advantage on a pair of Mario Chalmers free throws and the two teams fought neck-and-neck the rest of the way.

Chalmers hit a three to tie it up at 79 with 15 seconds left in regulation and Durant's three-pointer at the other end bounced off the rim, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra period it was almost all Kansas as an Abrams three was the only Texas shot that fell in OT.

"They (Kansas) are a good defensive team," said Abrams. "They kind of cracked down when it came to clutch time, so we got to give them credit. They made plays in overtime."

Texas now travels to Spokane, Wash. to take on the New Mexico State Aggies after the Longhorns received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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