LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Wayne Selden Jr. was tired of driving into the teeth of the Kentucky defense and getting his shot swatted away, so the Kansas guard decided in overtime to dunk no matter who got in his way.
His emphatic slam over 6-foot-11 freshman Skal Labissiere proved to be the exclamation point on the finest performance of his career -- and an important victory for the Jayhawks.
Selden finished with a career-high 33 points, seven of them in overtime, and fourth-ranked Kansas beat the No. 20 Wildcats 90-84 on Saturday night in the premier showdown of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
"Just had to get back out there and be aggressive, be a tougher team than we had been the last few games," Selden said. "This was a good step in the right direction."
The Wildcats built an eight-point lead midway through the second half before Kansas switched to a zone defense and mounted a comeback. Perry Ellis made the second of two free throws to tie the game 76-all with 9 seconds left, and Tyler Ulis coughed up the ball at the other end before Kentucky got off a shot.
In fact, the turnover gave Frank Mason III a chance for a half-court heave that he nearly made.
When the game went to overtime, Selden simply took over.
He opened the extra session with a couple of free throws, and then on the next trip down drove to the rim and dunked over Ulis and Labissiere to bring the crowd to its feet. Selden added two more foul shots later in overtime to help the Jayhawks end the Wildcats' three game winning streak.
"It's as good a game as he's played since he's been here," Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Mason contributed 13 points and eight rebounds, and Devonte Graham added 11 points for the Jayhawks (17-4), who snapped a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats (16-5) by winning their 35th game in a row at Allen Fieldhouse.
"We're still learning how to win," Wildcats coach John Calipari said. "In the guts of the game, we're just learning now what it means to win, and the plays you make -- and the plays just as importantly you don't make. Not at winning time."
The prizefight-nature of the game was evident from the opening minutes, when Briscoe was hit with a technical foul for winging an elbow during a scrum beneath the basket.
That jumpstarted a back-and-forth affair between college basketball's winningest programs.
The Jayhawks made the first big charge behind Selden, who had 13 first-half points while helping his team to an early six-point cushion. But Ulis and Poythress were quick to answer, going a combined 10 of 12 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes to help Kentucky to a 46-40 lead at the break.
The Jayhawks were fortunate to be that close.
Ellis, their leading scorer, spent all but 6 minutes on the bench with two fouls, while the Wildcats spent the final 14:09 of the first half in the bonus.
Kentucky pushed its lead to 57-49 early in the second, but that's when Self mothballed his beloved man-to-man defense for a triangle-and-two. The Wildcats appeared confused by the sudden switch to a zone and struggled to get good looks before the shot clock wound down.
"It made it difficult to get into our normal set," Poythress said.
Selden's 3-pointer from the corner gave Kansas a 75-74 lead with 49.2 seconds left, but Murray hit a pull-up jumper a few seconds later to give the Wildcats the lead back.
Ellis was fouled at the other end and, after struggling at the line all night, made the second of two free throws to tie the game. And when Ulis turned the ball over with 2.2 seconds left, the Jayhawks nearly had an improbable victory in regulation when Mason's half-court heave bounced off the rim.
Turned out the miss merely delayed the celebration for 5 more minutes.
"We've taken some shots. We've taken some hard losses," Selden said. "We've been battle-tested for a couple of years now, this season especially, and I feel like this is going to make us better."
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
During halftime, the original 13 rules of basketball set down by Dr. James Naismith were unveiled in Allen Fieldhouse. The document from 1891 was purchased by Kansas alum David Booth at auction for $3.8 million in 2010, at the time the most paid for a piece of sports memorabilia. The rules will reside in an $18 million building connected to the school's basketball arena.
Kentucky: Briscoe missed three straight free throws early in overtime. ... The Wildcats shot 53 percent from the field but just 5 of 23 from beyond the arc.
Kansas: Ellis finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. ... The Jayhawks had a 42-31 advantage on the glass. ... Kansas still trails the all-time series, 22-7.
Kentucky travels to Tennessee on Tuesday night.
Kansas welcomes Kansas State to the Phog on Wednesday night.