As the remaining minutes of Missouri's loss to Kansas dripped from the clock, Tiger fans had little to cheer about. The game was out of the Tigers' reach, and No. 2 Kansas was about to sweep the season series.
But as seniors J.T. Tiller, Zaire Taylor and Keith Ramsey were subbed out, the crowd rose to its feet in appreciation. Despite the depressed feeling surrounding the score, the moment's significance was not lost on what was left of a sell-out crowd: The trio had played its last minutes on Norm Stewart Court.
Earlier in the day, the three players were honored for their contributions to Missouri in their careers. But on a day when Missouri never really got it going offensively, the seniors compiled relatively quiet statlines.
Ramsey might have had the best showing of the three. In 36 minutes, Ramsey put up eight points on 50 percent shooting and pulled down six rebounds. Tiller scored nine points but turned the ball over four times, and Taylor managed five points, 2-of-9 from the field.
For Tiller, there were no preconceived notions of the game being easier because it was Senior Day.
"Really today, minus the Senior Day, the last time we play on this court, this is a big game," Tiller said. "(The Jayhawks) weren't going to come in here and just because it's Senior Day they're going to take it lightly on us or try to give us the game because it's our last time playing here. We had to come in with the same mindset."
Jayhawks flying high
Kansas came into the game with the Big 12 regular season title already wrapped up and a guaranteed No. 1 seed in next week's Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City.
With No. 1 Syracuse falling to Louisville on Saturday, Kansas replaced the Orangemen at the top of the rankings. The Jayhawks finished the regular season 29-2 overall and 15-1 in Big 12 play.
Looking past the conference tourney, the Jayhawks have been mentioned as a candidate for the No. 1 overall seed in the NCCA Tournament. Not that Kansas is setting its sights that far ahead.
"If we keep getting better each day the chips will fall into place," Kansas junior guard Tyrel Reed said.
Despite taking the crown in one of the toughest conferences in the nation, Kansas coach Bill Self said he hasn't seen his team celebrating what it's already accomplished.
"That's the thing that's been kind of cool to me," Self said.
Self said his team has a grasp on what it can accomplish with the right mindset.
"I really feel like they think there's bigger things out there if we're able to stay focused and take care of business," Self said.
Mizzou Arena was sold out for the Border Showdown matchup, bringing the season total of packed houses to three.
It was the last game for public address announcer Randy Wright, who will be leaving Missouri to work at the University of Florida.
Missouri honored its athletes of the decade at halftime. New York Jets wide receiver Brad Smith and former Missouri volleyball star Lindsey Hunter received the honors.