Home sweet home: No. 8 Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse to take on Texas
Kansas should be pleased to return home, and not simply because of its spotless record at Allen Fieldhouse.
After tangling with court stormers following an upset loss, the Jayhawks head back to Lawrence on Saturday to take on a Texas team which failed to utilize its superior size in a previous loss to them this season.
The eighth-ranked Jayhawks (22-6, 11-4 Big 12) shot 39.3 percent in a 70-63 loss at rival Kansas State on Monday, and Wildcats fans swarmed the court as the buzzer sounded, placing Kansas players and coach Bill Self in unsafe circumstances.
One fan body-checked forward Jamari Traylor, and Self was at one point pinned between the mob of students and the scorers table.
"I thought (Traylor) handled it better than most would," Self said. "We haven’t talked about that one time since the game was over. I think in the locker room afterwards I said, ‘We let that happen.’
"If we’d have played better, not allowed it to happen, it would never have occurred."
The postgame fiasco only added to another disappointing road game for Kansas. The Jayhawks have dropped three of four away from home, also losing at then-No. 23 West Virginia on Feb. 16 and at Oklahoma State on Feb. 7.
At Allen Fieldhouse, however, Kansas has won 23 consecutive games — including 14 this season. The Jayhawks average 77.9 points at home compared with 66.2 elsewhere.
Texas (17-11, 6-9 Big 12) has spoiled that brand of dominance before, ending the Jayhawks’ 69-game home winning streak on Jan. 22, 2011.
The Longhorns, who rank second in the nation with a plus-9.5 rebound differential, can counter Kansas this time with their interior presence, although that approach failed in a 75-62 loss Jan. 24 in which Texas was outworked on the glass 37-36.
That defeat marked one of only four times that Texas has been outrebounded. Starting big men Jonathan Holmes, Connor Lammert and Cameron Ridley combined for just 13 boards.
Myles Turner had eight rebounds and five blocks, but was outplayed by his freshman counterpart Cliff Alexander, who had a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds for Kansas.
Self has seen a great deal of improvement with Turner since that meeting.
"He’s playing closer to the basket maybe than what he was the first time we played him," he said. "He’s hard to guard in there because he gets his shot off so quick, it’s too quick that you can’t trap it."
Turner and the Longhorns shot 52.5 percent Tuesday, but they turned the ball over 17 times and fell to the then-No. 20 Mountaineers 71-64 for their third straight loss.
"You can win a lot of games shooting how we did tonight, but we committed too many turnovers and we did it at the wrong time," said coach Rick Barnes.
The Longhorns have dropped their last six against ranked opponents and are 1-7 versus Kansas since ending its lengthy home streak in 2011.
Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor matched a season high with 23 points against the Jayhawks on Jan. 24 and is averaging 18.0 in his last two games.
Barnes can clinch his 400th career win at Texas with a victory Saturday. Only eight active coaches have reached that milestone with their current school.