No. 6 Kansas Shakes Slow Start at Texas Tech, 60-46
Jan. 12, 2013
LUBBOCK, Texas – Senior Kevin Young depicted the Kansas men’s basketball team’s first-to-second half shift as the forward scored 12 points in the final 20 minutes to help the Jayhawks defeat Texas Tech, 60-46, Saturday afternoon inside United Spirit Arena.
In its first Big 12 Conference game away from home, No. 6 Kansas (14-1) reversed a first-half performance that saw the Jayhawks make just five field goals, with a 61 percent shooting mark (14-for-23) in the second half for its 13th-straight victory.
Young, who scored just two points in the first half, led the charge with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting for the contest. Fellow senior Travis Releford missed just once on the afternoon, recording 12 points on a 4-for-5 effort. Senior center Jeff Withey and redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore put four Jayhawks in double-figures for the ninth time this season with 12 and 10, respectively.
For Texas Tech (8-6), junior guard Jamal Williams Jr. was the only Red Raider in double-digits with 11 points as KU held the home team to a season-low 46 points.
With a poor shooting start working against them, the Jayhawks held their position at the free throw line, going 16-for-18 for much-needed points in the first half. Kansas finished the game making 19-of-26 from the line, led by Withey (8-for-10), McLemore (6-for-8) and Releford (4-for-4).
KU, who didn’t record a rebound for nearly nine minutes to start the game, fell short to the Red Raiders 28-26, marking only the third-time this season the Jayhawks were out-rebounded.
McLemore rejected two Red Raider shots before making one of his own, finally connecting on his first bucket, a put-back dunk, nearly nine minutes in. Meanwhile, senior guard Elijah Johnson and Releford drilled a three and a dunk, respectively, to kick start the offense in the opening minutes.
Still in need of its first rebound, KU fell behind briefly after a long jumper from Williams, Jr., gave the Red Raiders the slim 10-9 advantage. It marked the first – and last – time the Red Raiders would hold the lead, however. The Jayhawks rallied for a 10-2 run to find themselves ahead, 19-12, midway through the opening frame.
Although the Jayhawks maintained their lead, their shooting suffered as they missed nine-straight shots to hold a mere 24-19 advantage with four minutes remaining. Rather, the Jayhawks relied on unshakable consistency from the free throw line. After Releford drove for layup with more than 11 minutes to play in the first half, KU’s last 12 points of the half came from free throws alone.
A late foul called in the act of a three-point shot allowed Williams to make all threat the line, cutting the KU lead to two. With only five field goals to its credit, Kansas still managed to take a 27-25 lead to halftime.
Ready to shake off a poor first half, Kansas hit six of its first nine shots – including eight points from Young – to start the final frame on a 14-3 run. A leading pass from McLemore resulted in a fastbreak layup by Young, sending the Jayhawks to their first double-digit lead of the day, 39-28.
By the second media timeout, both teams had taken 11 shots with Kansas making seven to Tech’s two. Refusing to let Kansas take over, Tolbert kept attacking the lane, scoring three-straight times under the basket. Freshman guard Josh Gray followed that with his only three of the contest and Kansas swiftly called a timeout leading, 46-37.
As the two continued to battle, a shot-clock beating three from sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe propelled KU to its largest lead to that point, 52-37, only to immediately be met with a trey from freshman guard Dusty Hannahs on the other end.
Back-to-back steals from Releford changed the momentum for good. Both were converted into points on the Kansas end, highlighting a 6-0 run that powered KU forward, 58-40, with less than five minutes on the clock.
A final dunk from Young wrapped up the Jayhawks’ scoring as KU came away with the 60-46 win.
The sixth-ranked Jayhawks conclude their four games in nine days stretch by returning home to host Baylor on ESPN’s Big Monday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m.