AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sir’Jabari Rice scored 23 points and a smothering defensive effort carried No. 9 Texas to a 75-59 win over No. 3 Kansas on Saturday that earned the Longhorns a second-place finish in the Big 12.
Kansas, which had already secured the league championship earlier in the week, had its seven-game winning streak snapped, despite Jalen Wilson’s 10th double-double of the season.
Texas entered the day in a three-way tie for second but the win and losses by Kansas State and Baylor left the Longhorns alone in the spot.
Tyrese Hunter made 9 of 10 free throws and scored 20 points for the Longhorns (23-8, 12-6).
Wilson, the Big 12 scoring and rebounding leader, led Kansas (25-6, 13-5) with 23 points and 10 boards for his 26thcareer double-double.
Texas swarmed Kansas with a defensive effort that frustrated Wilson and the Jayhawks from the opening tip.
Kansas scored just 12 points over the first 12 minutes and missed nine of 12 3-point attempts in the half. Wilson, who scored just two points when Kansas beat Texas on Feb. 6, struggled to find open shots or even open passes, despite his 23-point performance.
Hunter made consecutive deep 3-pointers late in the half as Texas built a 32-24 lead at the break.
The Longhorns quickly stretched the lead in opening minutes of the second half. Dylan Disu scored the first five points after halftime, and Rice’s 3-pointer pushed the lead to 15.
Kansas got within eight when Gradey Dick made consecutive 3-pointers, his first baskets of the game, before Texas answered with six consecutive points. Rice then ran off seven straight points, including a 3-pointer from the left corner, and Texas led 68-52 with 3:30 to play.
Dajuan Harris Jr., finished with seven assists and no turnovers to go with five points and five rebounds in 37 minutes. Kevin McCullar Jr., had eight points and six rebounds, while KJ Adams Jr., finished with nine points.
Kansas: The Big 12 champs won a league many consider the toughest in the country and are still a contender for a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. The defending national champions head into the Big 12 tourney having won nine of their last 12.
Texas: Interim coach Rodney Terry’s future with the program was probably always going to depend on the Longhorns’ postseason success. He might have eased that pressure had Texas won at least a share of the program’s first conference title in 15 years. But finishing second with an emphatic win over the league champ is better than many would have predicted when Texas fired coach Chris Beard in midseason.
The Big 12 Tournament starts Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas will be the No. 1 seed. Texas will be No. 2.