No. 9 Jayhawks avenge TCU upset
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)
Bill Self didn't show Kansas any extra video from its previous game against TCU.
His guys could probably recall every play anyway.
It was just over two weeks ago that the mighty Jayhawks, eight-time defending Big 12 champs, were waylaid on the road by a team that hasn't won another conference game all season.
So it made sense that the ninth-ranked Jayhawks would bring a bit of feistiness to the return game Saturday, and they didn't disappoint: They rolled to a 74-48 victory at Allen Fieldhouse.
''We just showed them their plays, how they run things and guard, and how we were inept doing both things against them,'' Self said of that 62-55 loss on Feb. 6.
''Hopefully it won't be discussed much moving forward. We need to think positive thoughts.''
The Jayhawks (23-4, 11-3 Big 12) are certainly moving in a positive direction. They have won three straight since an uncharacteristic three-game skid, and assured themselves of no worse than a tie for first place in the league race heading to Iowa State on Monday night.
''They came out and kind of hit us in the mouth over there, and today, we came out with a lot of energy,'' said Jeff Withey, who had 18 points to lead the Jayhawks.
''We kind of had a quick start and kept rolling from there.''
Kansas built a 38-9 lead by halftime and never looked back, giving Self career win No. 499.
Ben McLemore finished with 14 points, and Perry Ellis and Travis Releford had 12 each as Kansas put on a show for about 200 former players, coaches and staff — among them former coach Ted Owens — who were on hand to celebrate the program's 115th anniversary.
''Obviously they were upset. I don't know for what,'' joked TCU coach Trent Johnson.
The nine points scored in the first half by TCU were the fewest in any half in the last 15 years of Big 12 games — the fewest the Jayhawks had ever allowed in a Big 12 game. And they were the fewest allowed in a half by Kansas since Cornell scored nine on Jan. 2, 1996.
Devonta Abron had 18 points to lead the Horned Frogs, who have lost five straight by an average of nearly 22 since their victory over the Jayhawks. They have also lost 13 of 14 overall, their most recent win against anybody else coming Dec. 30 against Mississippi Valley State.
''We started out kind of rough all we could have done was keep our heads up and play through it,'' Abron said. ''We had open shots. We just weren't making them.''
Wearing throwback uniforms to honor its 1988 national championship team, Kansas rolled off the first 11 points and built an 18-5 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the half.
The Jayhawks mostly did it with defense, forcing the Horned Frogs into dribbling and passing around the perimeter for most of the shot clock before forcing up off-balanced shot. TCU wound up shooting 4 of 27 from the field and was 0 for 7 from beyond the arc in the first half.
''We played as a team today,'' McLemore said. ''We got a lot of stops.''
The Horned Frogs didn't fare well when Johnson called timeouts, either. Twice they committed turnovers on the ensuing inbounds play, keeping the Jayhawks' momentum going.
Self did far better with his timeouts.
After the Horned Frogs scored consecutive baskets, he called a quick one to get his team back on track. Kevin Young responded with a basket underneath, Elijah Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and the Jayhawks ripped off an 18-0 run to end the half.
Trent Johnson left the court shaking his head at halftime, and it was hard to tell why: His team trailing 38-9 against a team it recently beat, or the soaring dunk along the base line that McLemore threw down in the closing seconds to punctuate the Jayhawks' big first half.
McLemore had 10 points at the break — one more than TCU had as a team.
The Horned Frogs' starters were shut out in the first half, combining to shoot 0 for 14 from the field. They committed eight turnovers and missed both of their free throws.
''I've never seen that before,'' Self said. ''But they also missed some open looks, too. It's not all defense. They helped us by missing shots.''
Things didn't go much better in the second half for the Horned Frogs, who couldn't string together enough baskets to make much of a dent in the Jayhawks' lead.
By the time the closing minutes wound down, the only question was whether Kansas would miss a foul shot. The Jayhawks didn't attempt one in the first half, but made their first 17 tries in the second. Andrew White III finally missed one with 2:26 left in the game.
Naturally, he made his second attempt.
It was that kind of day for Kansas.