In both the micro of the 2022-23 college basketball season and the macro of an established college basketball showcase event, the Big 12 Conference had the last laugh on Saturday.
In the last edition of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, it was the Big 12 who won.
The Big 12 had seven wins out of 10 games played in this year’s challenge.
Because the SEC has more schools than the Big 12, four SEC teams – Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt – did not participate.
This was the tenth edition of the Challenge.
The Big 12 had wins Saturday from West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Kansas.
The SEC had wins from Missouri, Mississippi State and Tennessee.
With the challenge now concluded — an SEC/ACC challenge for men’s and women’s college basketball will begin next season — the Big 12 can boast for the foreseeable future.
The Big 12 have won five of the 10 challenges. The SEC has won three and there have been two ties.
The overall Challenge games record is 55 wins for the Big 12 and 44 for the SEC.
Kentucky finishes the SEC/Big 12 Challenge with a 5-4 record after losing to Kansas at home Saturday night.
During the 10 Year Challenge, UK lost to Baylor, defeated Texas, lost to Kansas, lost to Kansas, defeated West Virginia, defeated Kansas, defeated Texas Tech, defeated Kansas, lost to Kansas and canceled a game.
Here’s how Saturday’s action unfolded:
Big 12 wins
West Virginia 80, no. 15 Auburn 77: The final edition of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge began with a sizable upset, as West Virginia fifth-year guard Erik Stevenson scored 31 points in the Mountaineers’ home win over No. 15 Auburn.
Stevenson, who previously played at Wichita State, Washington and South Carolina, has already entered the game as West Virginia’s leading scorer, averaging just over 13 points per game before Saturday’s scoring explosion.
Auburn never drove in Saturday’s game and the Tigers lost two straight for the first time in two years.
Oklahoma 93, no. 2 Alabama 69: Saturday’s most jaw-dropping result came in Norman, Oklahoma, where the Sooners blew up Alabama and handed the Crimson Tide only their third loss of the season.
Senior guard Grant Sherfield scored an Oklahoma-high 30 points, and senior forward Jalen Hill also helped with a Sooners-high 26 points.
Star Alabama freshman forward Brandon Miller was also kept in check by Hill. Miller entered the game averaging nearly 20 points per game, but finished with just 11 points on four shots made.
Texas Tech 76, LSU 68: Texas Tech, still winless in Big 12 play, snapped an eight-game losing streak with a win on the road against LSU.
Senior forward Kevin Obanor had 22 points to lead Tech, and is now on the cusp of becoming just the third active player with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Obanor, who previously played at Oral Roberts, is just two points away from reaching that milestone.
No. 17 Baylor 67, Arkansas 64: Real freshman guard Keyonte George scored 24 points for Baylor to help the Bears snap a six-game hitting streak.
The Bears added another win to their impressive résumé despite shooting a season-low 33.9% from the field.
How did Baylor do it? The Bears made 21 of 24 free throws, including four in the final 10 seconds.
Arkansas freshman guard Joseph Pinion missed a tough three-point shot as time expired.
#5 Kansas State 64, Florida 50: Former Florida player Keyontae Johnson — who collapsed on the sideline while in Florida during a game two years ago — recorded a double-double against her old team Saturday with 13 points and 11 rebounds in a comfortable K- win Stay.
The Wildcats are now 18-3 this season, which matches the 1972-73 K-State team for the best start in 21 games in school history.
Senior forward Colin Castleton led Florida — who scored just 16 points in the first half — with 13 points for the game.
Oklahoma State 82, Ole Miss 60: Oklahoma State had double-digit performances from four players and outscored Ole Miss by 10 in Saturday night’s win in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State shot 52.9% from the field and 88% from the foul line in the game.
#9 Kansas 77, Kentucky 68: Head coach Bill Self avoided the first four-game losing streak of his tenure at Kansas with a gritty win in Lexington that was close virtually the entire second half.
Four Jayhawks scored in double figures with junior forward Jalen Wilson’s 22 points leading the way.
Kentucky defeated its worst three-point shooting game of the season as the Wildcats went 2-of-13 (15.4%) from behind the arc, setting season lows for made three-point shots and shooting percentage three-point shot.
The SEC wins
Missouri 78, no. 12 Iowa State 61: Missouri had an important home win against #12 Iowa State behind 20 points and 12 rebounds from senior guard Kobe Brown and 17 points from senior guard D’Moi Hodge.
Both teams were red-hot from the perimeter, with Missouri shooting 47% and Iowa State 40% on three-point shooting.
Missouri trailed by just 44 seconds in the entire game and had a particularly impressive offensive performance against the Cyclones: Missouri’s 78 points scored were the most this season by an opponent Iowa State in the regulations.
State of Mississippi 81, No. 11 TCU 74: A monster performance by senior forward Tolu Smith (27 points on 11-of-13 shooting and 13 rebounds) lifted Mississippi State to an overtime victory at home against TCU.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Bulldogs, who also snapped a double-double by junior guard Cameron Matthews (10 points and 10 rebounds).
TCU could have long-lasting consequences from the game, as leading scorer junior guard Mike Miles Jr. suffered a leg injury early in the game and did not return.
#4 Tennessee 82, #10 Texas 71: In the most anticipated game of the finals SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Tennessee held off Texas in Knoxville with 27 points from senior forward Olivier Nkamhoua and 22 points, along with 10 assists, from sophomore guard Zakai Zeigler.
Tennessee lived on the glass against the Longhorns, as the Volunteers held a 38-24 rebounding lead.
It was a commanding win by the Volunteers and head coach Rick Barnes against his former team—Tennessee led by as many as 22 points going into the second half.
THE SCORES OF SATURDAY’S SEC/BIG 12 CHALLENGE
Here are all of the scores from Saturday’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
West Virginia 80, no. 15 Auburn 77
Oklahoma 93, no. 2 Alabama 69
Missouri 78, Iowa State 61
Texas Tech 76, LSU 68
No. 17 Baylor 67, Arkansas 64
State of Mississippi 81, No. 11 TCU 74
No. 4 Tennessee 82, No. 10 Texas 71
No. 5 Kansas State 64, Florida 50
Oklahoma State 82, Ole Miss 60
No. 9 Kansas 77, Kentucky 68