LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- Kansas fans said goodbye to four outstanding seniors and helped celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Senior Wayne Simien scored 25 points and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds as Kansas knocked off intrastate foe Kansas State, 72-65, to clinch a tie for the Big 12 Conference championship.
Phog Allen Fieldhouse, named for the Hall of Fame coach who won 590 games in 39 seasons at Kansas, opened on March 1, 1955, when the Jayhawks defeated Kansas State, 77-67. Kansas is 566-102 here.
Simien, who had a career-high 32 points and 12 rebounds in an 81-79 win over Oklahoma State, shot 7-of-15 from the floor, made 10-of-11 from the line and grabbed seven offensive rebounds. The 6-10 senior recorded the 14th double-double of the season, and he has made 47-of-49 free throws in his last six games.
"It is pretty cool," said Simien about reaching 20 rebounds. "Sometimes it's an effort thing. You can't control getting the ball or this and that. You just have to work hard and having a career high is a great way to go out."
Fellow Jayhawks seniors Keith Langford added 12 points, Aaron Miles 12 and seven assists and Michael Lee nine.
"Losing these players will leave a big void," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Certainly the program will go on and continue to be good. This is a special group. You don't have guys like this year-in and year-out. We need to treasure the time we have with them and understand that next year this will be a totally different deal. Every year is challenging, but next year it will be especially challenging to live up to the expectations this team has set."
The win was the 30th straight against the Wildcats and pushed the Jayhawks' (22-4, 12-3 Big 12) conference lead back to one game over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Kansas can clinch the title outright on Saturday when it visits Missouri.
"Obviously the game is a big rivalry," said Simien about the upcoming matchup against Missouri. "With us being on the road, they are going to give us their best shot. Anytime someone can knock one of the top teams in the league off makes them have a better year. I don't know if they are in the tournament race, but we don't want to help them out at all. Hopefully, we will finish off the right way."
After Kansas State's Jeremiah Massey opened the game with a jump shot, Simien hit a 3-pointer and Kansas led thereafter. The four seniors combined for 23 points in the first half as the Jayhawks opened a 32-26 lead at the break.
"I thought it was important that we make shots early," Self said. "We made some shots and got off to a bit of a lead, but the game pretty much went as scripted. I knew it would be a grind-it-out game."
Simien scored five points in the first three minutes after halftime and a jumper by Langford a minute later pushed the lead to 42-30. The Wildcats (15-11, 5-10) never got closer than six after that.
Cartier Martin scored 17 points and Massey chipped in with 16 for Kansas State, which shot just 39 percent (22-of-56).
"Offensively, we had pockets of play where we lacked some poise," Kansas State coach Jim Wooldridge said. "Our shot selection really hurt us in both halves. Our execution or lack-there-of hurt us in both halves. We couldn't make up for not being able to stop Kansas from putting the ball in the basket. You have to score they ball, and we did not have enough poise on the offensive end."