Men’s college basketball winners, losers

The Big 12 has been the class of college basketball all season, and on Saturday Kansas made an argument for being the class of that conference.

Just a couple hours after Texas struggled with last-place Oklahoma, the No. 7 Jayhawks notched a statement win against No. 9 Baylor. 

Trailing by as much as 17 in the first half, Kansas completed a stunning 34-point swing with four minutes to play, taking an 80-63 lead, and eventually finishing off an 87-71 win. 

With the win, Kansas moves into a tie with Texas for first place in Big 12 standings, with each program sitting at 10-4. Baylor, meanwhile, sits at 9-5. 

Baylor hit nine 3-pointers in the first half to take a 45-32 lead into the locker room, but a 55-point blitz from KU after the break was Baylor’s undoing. Kansas hit 63.3% of its shots in the second half and 50% from long distance. The biggest 3 came from Gradey Dick, whose trey with 14:29 gave Kansas the lead for good.

Michigan and Michigan State

The final score might have read 84-72 in favor of Michigan but make no mistake: There was no loser in this matchup, one of the most heated rivalries in college sports.

Less than a week after a gunman opened fired on their campus and killed three students, the Spartans returned to the court and gave a gutsy performance in the road loss. There were reminders everywhere of what had just happened: Michigan players wore T-shirts that read, “Michigan basketball stands with MSU” and thousands in the arena held up signs that said, “Spartan Strong.”

Michigan State didn’t score in the final 2:29 of a game that featured nine lead changes and 11 ties, but the Spartans’ play was more about bringing a grieving community together in the wake of tragedy. At a vigil honoring the victims Wednesday, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo gave a moving speech where he told those gathered, “Let’s do a better job taking care of each other. We need each other.”

Saturday, the Spartans and the Wolverines did exactly that.

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