NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — During Kansas' shootaround on Wednesday before the Jayhawks faced Oklahoma, coach Bill Self told Wayne Selden Jr. that the freshman needed to be more aggressive on offense.
Selden Jr. did what Self told him, scoring a career-high 24 points and going 5 of 10 from 3-point range, and No. 18 Kansas started Big 12 Conference play with a 90-83 win over Oklahoma.
Kansas (10-4, 1-0) won its conference opener for the 23rd straight year, a streak that began with the 1991-92 season. Oklahoma, in January 1991, was the last team to beat the Jayhawks in a conference opener.
"It was the confidence my teammates and coaches have in me," Selden Jr. said of his successful game. "I was out there just playing and not thinking.
"That's just Kansas basketball. We're trying to start off Big 12 play on the right foot, so we feel like we've got to go after all loose balls and we've got to pick up our defensive intensity. ... I know it's tradition-rich and I just want to put forth my best effort and the team wants to put forth its best effort to keep it going."
Perry Ellis had 22 points on 6-for-8 shooting and 11 rebounds, helping Kansas shoot 54.7 percent from the field.
After a 5-0 start, the Jayhawks lost four of its next eight and were coming off a 61-57 loss to San Diego State on Sunday that ended their' 68-game home winning streak against nonconference foes.
Kansas has won 11 of the last 12 matchups with Oklahoma. The Jayhawks' latest win in the series could be especially important, considering the difficult stretch they face to start the Big 12 campaign. After Oklahoma, Kansas will host No. 25 Kansas State, visit No. 9 Iowa State, then host No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 7 Baylor, all in succession.
"It's going to be a monster," Self said. "Our league is great. When you think about OU and they go down and they win at Texas, and Texas wins at North Carolina. K-State is playing as well as anybody right now. Iowa State is obviously terrific, and Baylor. We've probably been, nonconference-wise, one of the bigger disappointments in the league, based on our preseason expectations. I think it's going to be a fabulous league."
Cameron Clark had a career high-tying 32 points for Oklahoma (12-3, 1-1), which lost for the second time in three games. In losses to Louisiana Tech and Kansas, the Sooners gave up 102 and 90 points, respectively.
"It is very frustrating," Clark said. "We just have to go back to the drawing board. It all starts on defense. We just have to come together as a group and figured out what it is we are not doing and get better at it."
The annual visit to Lloyd Noble Center by the Jayhawks — who have won or shared nine straight Big 12 titles — drew fans including country music star Toby Keith, Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clay Bennett, and Thunder general manager Sam Presti.