No. 3/4 Kansas Earns Senior Night Win Over Texas, 73-63
March 3, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A trio of Kansas seniors ended their Allen Fieldhouse careers Saturday night, as the No. 3/4 Jayhawks topped the Texas Longhorns, 73-63, in the final regular season contest of the year.
The win pushed the Big 12 Champion Jayhawks to a 26-5 overall record and ended their conference season with a 16-2 mark. The Longhorns fell to 19-12 on the season and 9-9 in Big 12 play.
The Jayhawks used a hot-shooting second half to overcome a 33-point scoring effort by UT’s J’Covan Brown. Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor and junior forward Thomas Robinson made sure Brown’s heroics wouldn’t be enough to end the Jayhawks’ 29-year win streak in home finale games. The two combined for 47 points on the night with Taylor shooting 63.4 percent from the field and Robinson collecting his 22nd double-double of the season.
The seniors; Taylor, guard Conner Teahan and guard Jordan Juenemann each started the contest, hoping to give Kansas its 17th undefeated season in the friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas was sluggish to start the game, however, allowing the Longhorns to build a quick 6-2 advantage through the first four minutes.
Junior center Jeff Withey dampened the Texas momentum, collecting a block and a tomahawk jam to spark a 10-0 KU run over the next five minutes, giving the Jayhawks the lead midway through the opening half.
Even with Kansas taking control, the Longhorns would not go away, coming back to take a 17-16 lead on a Sheldon McClellan three-pointer with 5:28 remaining in the half. The lead would last only 25 seconds, however, as the Jayhawks responded with a 10-4 run to close out the first period, posting a 26-21 lead going into the locker room.
The opening 20 minutes weren’t pretty for either squad, with both teams shooting just 36 percent from the field and turning the ball over a combined 17 times. Taylor led KU with eight points at the intermission, while the Jayhawks held the Big 12’s leading scorer, Texas’ Brown, to four first-half points.
The Jayhawks wouldn’t be able to tie down Brown for long, as he opened the second half scoring Texas’ first 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting through the first 7:24 of the final frame. A pair of Brown free throws pulled the Longhorns within two just two minutes into the second half.
With Brown trying to rally his team to a second-half comeback, Teahan turned the momentum, connecting on his only three pointer of the game at the 16:44 mark to give KU a 35-28 lead, a lead it would not relinquish for the rest of the contest.
Robinson also countered Brown’s strong start to the second half with a scoring string of his own. During a span of four minutes, he connected on 10-straight points to stop the Longhorn comeback in its tracks.
Robinson and KU were able to keep the Longhorns at bay, dominating the post with a 30-16 scoring advantage in the paint. The Jayhawks also outrebounded UT 36-29 for the game, marking the 22nd time this season Kansas has held the rebounding edge over its opponent.
The Jayhawks continued to out-duel the Longhorns over the next 10 minutes, pushing the lead to a game-high 16 points with just over six minutes remaining. In his final half in front of the home crowd, Taylor scored 14 of his 22 points in the final half, with the help of a scorching 64.3 percent (7-of-11) shooting.
Junior guard Elijah Johnson poured in nine points of his own, including a three-of-four shooting clip from behind the arc. Withey added nine points and six rebounds, while notching his 15th game with three or more blocks.
With less than two minutes remaining, Taylor would score on one of his patented acrobatic lay-ups, fittingly marking his and the Jayhawks’ final points of the night. Taylor, along with Teahan and Juenemann, were taken out in the final seconds to a standing ovation, propelling the Jayhawks to an eventual 73-63 win.
With the regular season now complete, the Jayhawks’ next action will be from Kansas City, Mo., for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Sprint Center. As the No. 1 seed, KU will begin play in quarterfinal action on Thursday, March 8 against Oklahoma or Texas A&M. Tip is set for 2 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on ESPN2.