Jayhawks Best Longhorns, 73-47

Feb. 16, 2013

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Former Kansas basketball standout Mario Chalmers became the 27th player to have his jersey retired and the current senior class helped make sure the evening was special. Jeff Withey logged a double-double and tied Travis Releford with a team-best 15 points, and Elijah Johnson and Kevin Young combined for 20 points as No. 14/13 Jayhawks cruised past Texas, 73-47, on ESPN College GameDay in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday night.

Kansas (21-4, 9-3 Big 12) improved to 4-1 while hosting GameDay and used a stifling defensive effort in addition to the senior contributions to give Chalmers, who was honored at halftime, a memorable night in front of a number of his former teammates and another sold-out crowd.

Withey swatted away a Jonathan Holmes layup attempt with 17:50 remaining to surpass former Longhorn Chris Mihm as the Big 12’s career blocks leader with 265 deflections and recorded his second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. A pair of Withey’s blocks and a complete defensive effort helped hold Texas (11-14, 3-9 Big 12) to just 21.8 percent (12-of-55) from the field.

Releford helped Kansas get off to a quick start and hit back-to-back three pointers to open KU’s scoring. The Jayhawks led 6-2 just over two minutes into the contest, led by as many as 17 in the first half, and never trailed throughout the contest.

Johnson helped Kansas get going early in the second half, scoring seven straight points push the lead out to 35-17 at the first media break of the frame. Johnson finished with 12 points, his 10th double-digit scoring effort of the season.

Releford hit his fourth three of the contest with 14:54 to play, part of an efficient 5-for-7 effort on the night, before freshman guard Ben McLemore corralled a loose ball on the Texas end and found Releford streaking down the floor for a fast break layup. That gave Kansas a 41-19 commanding lead and forced Longhorns’ coach Rick Barnes to call a timeout. Texas would close the gap to 17 briefly, but the Jayhawk lead was never really in danger the rest of the way.

Young completed the senior effort with six points and grabbed seven rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. Freshman forward Perry Ellis hit a layup with 13:21 remaining in the game to score the first bench points for either team. Kansas finished with 12 bench points while the Longhorns’ bench scored 11.

McLemore’s 13 points marked his 13th-straight game in double digits and his 23rd of the season.

Texas’ sophomore Myck Kobango led the Longhorns with 13 points in just his second game back from a 23-game NCAA suspension. Freshman forward Connor Lammert scored seven points early but finished with nine and tied for the Texas team high with five rebounds before fouling out late in the game. Lammert’s lay-up at the 15:55 mark in the first half was followed by an 0-for-9 Texas drought over the next 7:50 allowing the Jayhawks to go on a 13-1 run to take a 24-9 lead with 7:22 to play before intermission.

Kansas asserted itself on defense with two straight Longhorn shot clock violations late in the first half and the Jayhawk defense held Texas to just 15 first half points, the lowest scoring output for Texas in a half this season. KU also held Texas to just five first half field goals, the fewest for a Kansas opponent in a half this season.

Winners of back-to-back routs, Kansas will look to avenge its first home loss in more than a year when the Jayhawks travel to Stillwater, Okla., for a rematch with the Cowboys in Gallagher-Iba Arena Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

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