No. 12/11 Kansas Wins Big in First True Road Test of Season, 63-47

Dec. 23, 2011

Final Stats | Notes

  • Coach Self Interview
  • Tyshawn Taylor Interview

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. –After holding USC to 13 first-half points, the Kansas defense locked down and kept its second opponent of the season from reaching the 50-point mark, sending the Jayhawks past the Trojans in their first true road game of the season Thursday night, 63-47.

In their third meeting in the last five seasons, Kansas (8-3) headed west this year to meet USC (5-8) with four California natives on the roster, whose families highlighted a Crimson and Blue-heavy Galen Center crowd. The extra noise in the Jayhawks’ favor made an impact, as KU forced four USC turnovers in the home team’s first five possessions – and 18 overall.

For the sixth time this season, four Jayhawks put up double-digits, led by junior guard Elijah Johnson’s 14 points and a career-high four steals. Fellow guard, senior Conner Teahan, tied a career-best with four three-pointers en route to a 13-point night. Junior forward Thomas Robinson and senior guard Tyshawn Tayloreach put up 10 points, contrasting a USC squad who saw just one player break the 10-point barrier. Aaron Fuller led the Trojans, and the floor, with 19 points.

Looking to shake off a slow offensive start in their last time out against Davidson, the Jayhawks made only two of their first 10 shots and before a break away layup from Johnson provided a slight spark. Although Johnson’s bucket broke up a five-minute span without a Kansas field goal, the KU defense kept USC from taking advantage as the team’s stayed locked at 7-7 heading to the 11-minute mark.

Following a Teahan three, KU’s defense reversed the scoring drought, this time holding the Trojans without a field goal for nearly five minutes until freshman guard Byron Wesley’s first basket of the game. Taylor drew the and-one, and converted the three-point play to hand Kansas its largest lead of the evening to that point, 18-12.

With less than two minutes to play in the opening frame, Robinson swung the momentum when he picked off a USC pass and finished with a dunk to stretch the lead to double digits, 22-12.

Teahan’s second three of the game pushed the lead to 12, while another five-minute scoring drought separated the Trojans from their next showing on the scoreboard. In the final 10:35 of the first half, USC scored just three points and Kansas carried a 25-13 lead into halftime.

California native Jeff Witheycame out fighting to kickoff the second half, scoring the Jayhawks’ first four points. Taylor connected from the behind the arc, and then found Johnson for an alley-oop dunk to quickly double the Trojans by the 17:25 mark, 34-17.

Not two minutes later, Johnson hit the Jayhawks’ second three of the half – the fifth-straight game Johnson has made one from behind the line and now has at least one three-point basket in every game but one this season.

A Withey outlet pass hit junior forward Kevin Young in stride and resulted in a dunk to push the Kansas explained the 14-2 Kansas advantage in fastbreak points Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, Kansas continued to add to its comfortable lead when Robinson broke out from under the basket for a dunk, putting him in double digits every game this season. Another three from Johnson, put him in double figures, as well, as KU surged ahead, 55-34, nearing the six-minute mark.

Back-to-back threes off the hands of Teahan, tied a career-high in three-pointers made and propelled the visitors’ lead back to 20 points. Five late points from USC’s Garrett Jackson wouldn’t be enough to fend off the USC’s first ranked opponent of the year as KU won, 63-47.

No. 12 Kansas will return home to close out the calendar year hosting Howard on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk IMG Television and North Dakota on Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. on ESPNU.