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Kansas Earns Automatic Bid


Kansas is still the Big 12's only champion.

Lester Earl scored six of his 11 points on an 8-0 run and the Jayhawks pulled away from weary Oklahoma State for a 53-37 victory Sunday in the championship game of the Big 12 tournament.

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  • Kansas (22-9) improved to 9-0 in the tournament since the league was formed and earned the automatic bid to the NCAA's field of 64.

    The Jayhawks, who needed a free throw by Ryan Robertson with no time left in overtime to beat Oklahoma State on Feb. 22, have won eight straight over the Cowboys.

    Oklahoma State (22-10) was playing its fourth game in four days and had nothing left in the second half, shooting a tournament-record 23 percent and going scoreless for eight minutes.

    Oklahoma Stat had its lowest point total of the season in shooting worse than a Colorado's 25 percent in the 1997 tournament. The previous low by the Cowboys this season was 43 points in an 11-point loss to Oklahoma Jan. 12.

    When Adrian Peterson missed a shot with just under nine minutes remaining, the Cowboys were 10-for-50 from the field. They finished 15-for-65.

    Jeff Boschee and Ryan Robertson hit 3-pointers to give the Jayhawks their biggest lead, 36-24, with 15 minutes remaining.

    Earl, making moves he wasn't able to make a month ago after two knee surgeries, hit a spinning layup to start the first-half run that put Kansas ahead 23-16 with just over seven minutes left in the half.

    Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton feels the disappointment, as the Cowboys lost to Kansas.>
    Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton feels the disappointment, as the Cowboys lost to Kansas. (AP)

    A 3-pointer by Joe Adkins brought the Cowboys within 24-21, but Kenny Gregory finished out the half for Kansas with two free throws and a dunk off a fast break.

    Glendon Alexander of Oklahoma State hit a jumper for the first points of the second half, but it was all Kansas after that. Alexander, who had averaged 19.3 points in three tournament games, finished with eight points to lead the Cowboys.

    Robertson had 11 points for Kansas.

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