Oklahoma 77, Kansas 70
-- His face flush, brow wrinkled and shoulders sagged, Kansas Coach Roy Williams urged anyone who'd listen not to mistake the game's final score for its tenor.
While Williams's sixth-ranked Jayhawks fell, 77-70, to No. 5 Oklahoma on this afternoon, Williams failed to revel in Kansas's late comeback that cut a 32-point Oklahoma lead to five.
"A pretty good butt-kicking," Williams sighed after the game. "That's all it was folks."
Oklahoma's hallmark meat grinder defense and a surprising 19-point outburst from steady point guard Quannas White whisked the Sooners to the win.
It allows Oklahoma (19-4, 10-2) to control its standing in the Big 12, while Kansas (20-6, 10-2) must hope for the Sooners to slip in order to grab the top seed in the Big 12 tournament.
Oklahoma captured the league's top spot by clamping down on Kansas early, forcing all-American candidate Nick Collison to miss eight of his first nine shots for the Jayhawks, who started the game by making only three of their first 19 attempts.
Jabahri Brown, a lanky 6-foot-11 junior, sparked the Sooners early, scoring seven points and blocking two shots in the game's first eight minutes.
Oklahoma Coach Kelvin Sampson utilized Brown defensively to stymie Collison, a 6-9 senior, on the perimeter. Collison traditionally lags behind his teammates in Kansas's secondary fast-break offense. But Brown's length forced Collison into several bad shots, a start that derailed him on a 5-of-18 shooting afternoon.
"Jabahri Brown gave us a great start and we fed off him," said senior guard Hollis Price, who tied White with a team-high 19 points. "Once he left, we kept going."
With 10 minutes 15 seconds remaining in the first half and Oklahoma leading 17-6, Brown took a knee to the head in a loose ball scrum. He was unconscious on the court for about four minutes before he awoke and trainers slowly walked him to the bench. After going to the hospital for evaluation, he didn't return to the game.
Team trainer Alex Brown said that he wouldn't term Jabahri Brown's injury a second-degree concussion, but claimed it was a "1.5."
Without Brown in the second half, Oklahoma clearly lacked front-court depth and the Jayhawks rallied behind Kirk Hinrich, who had a game-high 21 points, and Wayne Simien, who scored 13 of his 17 in the second half.
After Price, a 94 percent free throw shooter, and White, a 70 percent shooter, missed four consecutive free throws, Kansas missed easy opportunities to cut the lead to four in the final minute. Collison missed a wide-open layup off an inbounds play with 41 seconds left and then failed to complete a conventional three-point play when he missed a free throw with 22 seconds remaining.
Seconds later, Oklahoma freshman De'Angelo Alexander clinched it with two free throws.
"It's human nature," Sampson said of the final margin. "If there's one thing I've learned about coaching, if you're up by 30 the other team is going to come back."
Aside from putting Oklahoma in control of the Big 12, the win also gives the Sooners the inside track to earn a spot in the NCAA regional in Oklahoma City, which is 25 miles from Norman. That would essentially give them home games for the first two rounds of the tournament.