COLUMBIA | There's no disputing it now. The Kansas Jayhawks are the Big 12 regular-season champions. A home loss on Jan. 22 to second-place Texas wasn't going to stop them. And neither was a season-high, 24-turnover performance during a 70-66 victory over Missouri on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.
No. 2 KU, now 29-2 and 14-2 in the Big 12, won't have to pay any attention to the Longhorns' game tonight at Baylor. The best Texas can do is 13-3 in the league, which means Kansas will be the No. 1 seed in next week's Big 12 tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
This Border War was as ugly as they come, and it turned out that the Jayhawks were better equipped to win such an unseemly battle. KU outrebounded MU 49-29, and Marcus Morris and Thomas Robinson both finished with double-doubles. Morris had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Robinson had 15 points and 13 boards in his best game since coming back from a Feb. 11 surgery to repair a slightly-torn meniscus in his right knee.
The Jayhawks built a 15-point lead during the second half as Missouri went 8 minutes, 26 seconds without a field goal. The Tigers shot just 29 percent (17 of 58) from the field. MU, now 22-9 and 8-8 in the league, was led by Laurence Bowers' 22 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigers lost at home for the first time this season, finishing at 17-1 at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri made a final push in the last few minutes, pulling to within 63-59 with 1:19 left. It was a push that wasn't seen in Kansas City, however.
Viewers watching KCTV-5 lost the game with about three and a half minutes and were switched to the start of the Michigan-Michigan State game. The CBS affiliate in Topeka also lost the game but regained the feed before the game ended. The CBS affiliate in St. Louis also showed the game throughout.
KCTV5 will re-air the second half of the game after its 10 p.m. Saturday newscast.
Jerry Caraccioli, executive director of communications for CBS Sports in New York, told The Star on Saturday that the problem was “a combination of sunspots and a statellite transponder issue.”
He said sunspots blocked out the KU-MU signal in this region and forced CBS to use an alternate feed of the KU-MU game that, in the affected markets, could not be established until the game was over.
Soon after the game ended, KCTV ran an on-screen crawl that said the decision to switch off of the KU-MU game was made by CBS Sports at a national level. Later, an apology was posted on KCTV’s website that said CBS Sports experienced satellite issues due to sunspots.
“KCTV and CBS would like to apologize for the pre-empting of the Border Showdown Saturday,” the statement read. “KCTV5 Vice President and General Manager Bobby Totsch said the station regrets the loss of signal and will ensure backup systems are in place to ensure this will not happen in the future.
“KCTV5 offers its sincerest apologies to our viewers.”