No. 10 Kansas Gets Biggest Road Win in Self Era, Defeats Texas Tech 81-46
LUBBOCK, Texas – On a night when No. 10 Kansas’ 81-46 victory against Texas Tech marked the largest road win for Kansas in the Bill Self era, the ninth-year head coach also picked up his 250th victory at Kansas, Wednesday night at the United Spirit Arena.
Kansas (13-3, 3-0) knocked off Texas Tech (7-8, 0-3) for the fourth-straight time, using an unprecedented 35-point spread, topping a 29-point win at Colorado (2/14/07) nearly five years ago. While moving to 3-0 for the sixth-straight year, the Jayhawks are giving up just 52 points in Big 12 play – also the lowest mark in Self’s time at KU.
Junior forward Thomas Robinsonneeded less than seven minutes in the second half to lock down his Big 12-leading 11th double-double. Robinson led the floor with 19 points and 12 rebounds, including the second three-pointer of his career.
For the third-straight game, junior guard Travis Releford set the tone early, hitting an early three to erase a hot start by TTU and was the only player on the floor to finish the first half in double digits. Releford joined Robinson in double-digits along with senior guard Tyshawn Taylorwho finished the night with 15.
While the Jayhawks shot above 50 percent for the seventh time in 2011-12, they held the home team to a 31.4 percent night from the field for 46 points, both season-low performances. In the meantime, Kansas turned the ball over nine times, its’ second fewest of the season and outrebounded the Red Raiders, 40-24.
TTU’s Jordan Tolbert, who entered Wednesday night’s matchup, ranking in the NCAA’s top 10 in scoring average among freshman, matched up against the Big 12’s blocking leader in KU’s Jeff Withey. Withey put up his 12th game with multiple blocks this season, finishing with two and holding Tolbert to only four points and zero in the second half.
Two quick layups from sophomore guard Javarez Willis gave the Red Raiders the 4-0 advantage to start the game, before Self halted the momentum with a timeout. Texas Tech would build its lead to 8-2 out of the first media timeout, benefitting from Kansas missing six of its first seven shots.
As he did on the road against Oklahoma, Releford again drained a three to kick-start the Kansas offense. Combined with four-straight points from Taylor, the guards sparked the 10-0 run in the middle of a six-minute Texas Tech scoring drought to take a 12-8 lead midway through the first half.
A technical foul assessed on TTU’s head coach Billy Gillispie and an intentional foul just minutes later on starter Terran Petteway, led to four easy Jayhawk points, adding to the Kansas first-half lead. Fifteen minutes into the game, drama struck again when Petteway was ejected from the game.
Although free throws and a pair of buckets from Tolbert and freshman DeShon Minnis swung the lead back to Texas Tech, 18-17, six-straight points from Releford and senior guard Conner Teahan’smade free throws following the ejection, pushed Kansas ahead, 24-18. By halftime, Kansas had erased the single-digit TTU lead with a 17-3 run, to take a 35-20 advantage into halftime.
The Jayhawks didn’t miss a step over the break, starting the second half on a 9-3 run that saw their lead break the 20-point barrier, 44-23, less than three minutes in. Nearly opposite of the first-half start, Kansas made five of its first six attempts, contrasting TTU’s 1-for-4 second-half start. Rolling flawlessly in transition, KU quickly doubled the Red Raiders, 51-26, with 14:12 remaining.
Using solid play from the bench, KU used the final minutes to build upon its lead. Freshman guard Naadir Tharpeposted the first multiple three-pointer game of his career, sinking his third of the game with less than a minute to play to arrive at the final score, 81-46.
No. 10 Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse for two games when the Jayhawks host Iowa State and Saturday, Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network and No. 4 Baylor on Monday, Jan. 16 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN’s Big Monday.