Texas ends KU’s home win streak
The longest home winning streak in Kansas’ vaunted history came to an end on a doubly sad day for the Jayhawks.
J’Covan Brown scored 23 points and keyed a second-half run that erased a 15-point deficit, enabling No. 10 Texas to grab a 74-63 victory on Saturday over the second-ranked Jayhawks and snap their 69-game home streak.
Shortly after 11 p.m. the night before, players, coaches and players’ moms gathered around sophomore Thomas Robinson when his mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack in Washington, D.C.
”It just puts everything in perspective,” said coach Bill Self.
Robinson asked to remain with the team, and with him coming off the bench, an emotional Kansas scored the game’s first 10 points and led by as many as 15 in the early going. But Texas (16-3, 4-0 Big 12) outscored the Jayhawks 36-13 while turning a 12-point halftime deficit into a 59-48 lead on a 3-pointer by Cory Joseph.
”I think in more times like that – I could be wrong – I think you see teams get off to an emotional good start on things like that,” said Self. ”We played well, too. But certainly it was emotional. I felt like we didn’t have much gas in the tank the second half. But a lot of it’s because of Texas’ play, too.”
There was a moment of silence before the game for Thompson’s mother. He scored two points, got five rebounds and committed four fouls.
The Jayhawks (18-1, 3-1) had not lost at home since Feb. 3, 2007, the longest current streak in the nation, and were 7-0 at home against Texas since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996.
”They came in on fire,” said Jordan Hamilton, who had 17 points for the Longhorns. ”Then we came out in the second half and we played hard and coach (Rick Barnes) always said we are going to win this game.”
Tristan Thompson had 10 points and five blocks in a bruising game that included two technical fouls against both teams. The Longhorns held Kansas, which came in with a Big 12-best shooting percentage of 52.4, to 36 percent. In the second half, Kansas hit a paltry 8 of 30 shots.
”Texas totally controlled the last 30 minutes of the game,” said Self. ”The second half they were terrific. Of course, we helped them be terrific.”
Tyrel Reed had 17 points and Marcus Morris 16 for Kansas.
”Coach talked to us at halftime and told us that we have to execute plays,” said Brown, who was 6 for 10 from the field and 8 for 10 from the foul line. ”We were down early but we knew we had to keep playing. We just had to stay together and not break as a team.”
No. 1 Ohio State and No. 6 San Diego State are now the only remaining unbeaten teams in the nation.
Brown’s second 3-pointer in a 13-2 run finally wiped out the big deficit and gave the Longhorns their first lead, 45-44, with 10:39 to go.
”It was a great win for our program,” said Barnes. ”I can’t tell you how much respect I have for Bill (Self). He’s one of the best. He’s the model of consistency and one of the best. To come up here and get a win – we’ve had so many great games with him where we’ve obviously come out on the other end.”
Kansas tied it with Markieff Morris’ free throw, then Thompson and Brown scored for a 49-45 Texas lead.
Tyshawn Taylor’s runner in the lane brought Kansas to 49-47 before Brown made two free throws and Joseph drilled a momentum-turning 3-pointer, giving the Longhorns a 54-47 lead at the 7:32 mark.
With a stunned crowd that hadn’t seen the home team lose in almost four years growing silent, the Longhorns built the lead to 59-48 on a basket by Joseph and then, just ahead of the buzzer, another 3-pointer by the freshman guard, who had 11 points.
The Jayhawks were unable to get a good look against Texas’ pressure defense for almost the entire second half. When they did, they usually missed. They committed five turnovers while missing eight of their first 10 shots in the second half as Texas slowly chipped away at a 35-23 halftime deficit.
As Texas inched closer, Hamilton dropped in two free throws, making him 6 for 6 from the line, Kansas’ Mario Little turned it over and Gary Johnson moved in for another easy Texas bucket that got the Longhorns to within five at 42-37.
Marcus Morris was then called for a technical foul and Brown made one foul shot.
Earlier, a technical on Hamilton sent Reed to the foul line, where he made both shots. But Hamilton had scored and been fouled and made the free throw after Reed hit his two, leaving Kansas with a 42-33 lead.
From that point, it was all Texas, with Brown hitting two 3-pointers in a flurry that finally put Texas in the lead 45-44.
”I thought they did a great job in the first half and we did a terrible job,” said Hamilton. ”Then we came out in the second half and played hard.”