KU looks to remain atop the Big 12 by moving above .500 on the road
Kansas lacked consistency its last time out, and that’s been the case away from home all season.
Texas has regained its shooting touch as Isaiah Taylor appears to have broken out of his funk.
The No. 11 Jayhawks attempt to remain atop the Big 12 by moving above .500 on the road Saturday, when they visit Taylor and the 17th-ranked Longhorns.
Kansas (15-3, 4-1) has won all 10 of its games at home by an average of 15.3 points, but it’s split four true road games while allowing opponents to average 72.0 — nearly 10 more than at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks seemed headed for another blowout at home Monday against No. 19 Oklahoma, hitting their first eight 3s while making 19 of 33 from the field and leading by as many as 20 points in the first half. However, they converted just 10 of 27 shots — one of six from long range — in the second half while holding on for an 85-78 win.
"We played maybe as well as we can play in the first half," coach Bill Self said. "In the second half, we weren’t as good – we missed some shots."
The Jayhawks also had trouble making shots at Texas last season, shooting 38.5 percent in an 81-69 loss to the 25th-ranked Longhorns, snapping a five-game winning streak in the series. They won the rematch three weeks later, however, shooting 51.7 percent in an 85-54 victory over No. 19 Texas.
Self doesn’t expect this matchup to be as easy.
"They’re big. Their front line is big," Self said. "They’re extremely long. They’re going to play zone. We know they’re good. It’ll be a tough game for us, but in our league all the games are tough."
The Jayhawks, who lost at conference co-leader Iowa State last Saturday, are one game ahead of Texas (14-4, 3-2).
The Longhorns defeated TCU 66-48 on Monday, two days after a 77-50 victory over then-No. 16 West Virginia. They’re shooting 45.5 percent in the last two after averaging 53.5 points on 32.2 percent shooting in losing their previous two.
"We’re putting in hours in the practice gym, just talking on and off the court," Taylor said. "We feel that we’re ready for a big push."
Having Taylor once again performing at a high level is helping. The sophomore guard made 6 of 12 shots while scoring 13 points with seven rebounds and six assists Monday after averaging 8.3 points on 25.0 percent shooting with 2.3 boards and 3.3 assists in his first four games back from injury.
Taylor scored 23 in the win over No. 6 Kansas on Feb. 1, but missed 13 of 14 shots and had five points in the following meeting.
Jonathan Holmes totaled 39 points against the Jayhawks last season, but the 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 7.3 points while going 7 for 30 (23.3 percent) from the field in the past four games.
Kansas is getting strong production from Kelly Oubre Jr. and Perry Ellis.
Oubre is averaging 14.3 points in four games after scoring 19 while adding nine rebounds against the Sooners, while Ellis wasn’t far behind with 16 points and eight boards. That came after Ellis – the team leader with 12.8 points per game and 6.7 rebounds – scored 19 to go with 11 boards against the No. 9 Cyclones.