Even as the defending national champions, Kansas had been able to hide in the shadows of No. 3 Oklahoma.
With player of the year contender Blake Griffin sidelined with a concussion for the Sooners, the Jayhawks are right back at the forefront and at the top of the Big 12 standings.
Freshman Tyshawn Taylor scored a career-high 26 points and Sherron Collins added 22 of his 26 points in the second half as No. 15 Kansas surged into first place with an 87-78 victory against the Sooners on Monday night.
"I don't know if we deserved to have much attention because we weren't any good in our nonconference. So, we're kind of playing catch-up," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said.
"I do think now with this win _ even though they're Blake-less _ it was still a fabulous win on the road against a quality team."
Cole Aldrich was able to dominate inside with the Sooners missing Griffin, a preseason All-American. He had 15 points and a career-high 20 rebounds as the Jayhawks (23-5, 12-1) took control in the race for their fifth straight conference title.
Next up is another crucial showdown against No. 11 Missouri (23-4, 10-2) on Sunday.
"We control our own destiny. We feel pretty good about it, but we know it's not a given yet," Collins said. "We've still got to go out and make it happen."
The Sooners (25-3, 11-2) lost their second straight, including a 73-68 defeat at Texas on Saturday night. Griffin missed the second half of that game, dazed after getting hit in the head in the first half.
He leads the nation in rebounding average (13.8) and double-doubles (22) and is the Big 12's top scorer with 22 points a game.
"We can be OK. We just have to get back together. One of the things that happens when you haven't lost as much is that losing is difficult," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "It's easy to be together when everything is good and you're winning. ... When we hit a stretch where it wasn't going so well and they started playing well, I just didn't like the looks I saw on our guys' faces."
Willie Warren led the way with 23 points for Oklahoma, which had a 19-game home winning streak snapped. Juan Pattillo added 15 points and Taylor Griffin, Blake's older brother, scored 11. Point guard Austin Johnson scored the game's first basket, but used a heat pad on his troublesome back and didn't score again in the final 39 minutes.
Capel didn't find the right combination until the Jayhawks turned a 14-point deficit into a 58-38 lead with 10:38 to play, and it was a little too late for a comeback by then.
Cade Davis followed fellow reserve Omar Leary's 3-pointer with two of his own to pull Oklahoma within 62-56 with just under 7 minutes to play, and Blake Griffin came out to half court to greet his teammates and pat Pattillo on the back at the next stoppage.
Leary hit another 3 to cut the deficit to 71-68 with 3:36 to play, but that's when Collins came up with Kansas' two biggest shots.
He answered at the other end and then did it again after Warren's 3 again got the Sooners within three.
Warren was called for an offensive foul on Oklahoma's next possession, and Pattillo then missed a right-handed dunk as the Jayhawks extended the lead to 80-71 when Taylor made up for two missed free throws with a layup.
Kansas was able to seal it from the free-throw line after that.
No. 6 Louisville 76, Georgetown 58
At Washington, Earl Clark scored 22 points, and Louisville overcame 16 turnovers with good defense and solid 3-point shooting to move into a tie for first place in the Big East.
The Cardinals started 9-for-9 from the field _ their first miss coming nearly 11 minutes in _ and were 7-for-7 from 3-point range well into the second half.
Samardo Samuels, Terrence Williams and Preston Knowles added 10 points apiece for the Cardinals (22-5, 13-2), who have won four straight and are tied with Connecticut atop the conference.
Chris Wright scored 12 points, and Greg Monroe had 10 for the Hoyas (14-12, 5-10), who have lost nine of 11 as they continue their challenging spin through the nation's basketball elite. Georgetown has now played six teams currently ranked in the top 10, and they'll make it seven against No. 10 Villanova on Saturday. The Hoyas are 2-4 in those games.
The loss also dropped the Hoyas to 12th place in the Big East, just six weeks after they were ranked No. 9 in the country.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.