Career-High Nights Power No. 13 Kansas Past Long Beach State, 88-80
Dec. 6, 2011
LAWRENCE , Kan. – Career-high performances from junior Thomas Robinson and senior Conner Teahan guided the Jayhawks to a dramatic victory against the visiting Long Beach State 49ers, Tuesday night, 88-80.
The last time Long Beach State (4-4) visited Allen Fieldhouse, the 49ers upset a then-No. 1 KU squad during the 1993 season. Although a late three cut the Kansas lead to four with under a minute to play, the Jayhawks (6-2) thwarted the comeback attempt with four-straight free throws to move to 4-0 at home this season.
Coincidentally, Tuesday night matched up Robinson, the Big 12’s leading rebounder, with the Big West’s rebounding leader – also a Robinson. Senior forward T.J. Robinson paced the 49ers with seven rebounds and 19 points. Meanwhile, KU’s Robinson put up his seventh double-double in eight games with a career-best 26 points to accompany his 11 rebounds.
Earning the first start of his career, senior guard Conner Teahan made the most of the opportunity, notching a career-high 14 points on the heels of a career-best four three-pointers. Providing additional help, junior center Jeff Withey put up 13 points, senior guard Tyshawn Taylor scored 12 and junior guard Travis Releford chipped in 10 points to put five Jayhawks in double figures for the second time this season.
Withey brought down 13 rebounds to match his point total for the second double-double of his career. He also fell just one block shy of becoming the second player in Kansas history to record 10 blocks.
In the opening minutes of the game, it was the Robinsons who did all the scoring until Teahan drilled the first two three-pointers of the game, quickly pushing Kansas out to a lopsided lead. Down 16-4 not yet four minutes into the game, LBSU used a timeout.
While LBSU’s Robinson scored his team’s first 10 points, KU’s Robinson was the first to double figures. Five minutes into the game, the junior connected on both free throws for his first 10 points of the contest. He would go on to score 18 in the first half, using a flawless 8-for-8 shooting effort, tying his career-high in made field goals before halftime. By the night’s end, Robinson set a new career best with 10 field goals on a 10-for-14 shooting night.
Robinson wasn’t the only Jayhawk that sprinted out to a hot start. Midway through the opening frame, Teahan connected on his career-best fourth three-pointer as he and Robinson started the game a perfect 11-for-11 from the floor. The duo would finish the night a combined 15-for-21 and 40 points.
The 49ers answered Teahan’s accuracy from beyond the arc with a 6-0 run to dent the Kansas lead, 34-22. Juniors Elijah Johnson and Withey responded with a three and a dunk, respectively, but a pair of free throws from LBSU guard Casper Ware brought the 49ers within 11 points before the half’s last media timeout – the closest margin since the 17:05 mark.
A three-point basket from Ware in the final seconds of the half sent the game to halftime in KU’s favor, 51-39.
The 49ers came out of the break on a 5-0 run, cutting the Jayhawk lead to single digits before back-to-back Releford layups put Kansas ahead, 57-44. Another 5-0 LBSU run narrowed the Kansas lead, 57-50, and prompted a timeout from KU coach Bill Self.
After explosive first-half performances from both Robinsons in the first half, each struggled to get off to a strong second-half start. A lone free throw from LBSU’s Robinson was the only points from either until the 10:30 mark of the second half. Their lack of presence showed when a three from senior guard Larry Anderson brought the 49ers within four, 60-56, midway through the final half.
Two free throws from Robinson jump started an 8-2 run that pushed the lead back to double-digits. His long-range jumper with 5:12 left to play broke his previous career-high of 20 points and kept Kansas ahead as the final media timeout approached.
With less than two minutes remaining, Taylor and Withey each converted three-point plays to help fend off a rallying LBSU squad. A three from junior guard James Ennis brought the visitors within four, 84-80, with 44 seconds remaining, but Taylor and Withey shot four-straight clutch free throws for the 88-80 victory.
No. 13 Kansas continues its five-game homestand on Saturday, Dec. 10, when it plays host to current No. 2 Ohio State. Tip is set for 2:15 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPN.