No. 17/18 Kansas Uses Robinson's Historical Feat to Top North Dakota, 84-58

Dec. 31, 2011

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LAWERENCE, Kan. – In the final game of 2011, junior forward Thomas Robinson posted his first 30-point, 20-rebound game during a career day that pushed No. 17/18 Kansas convincingly by North Dakota Saturday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, 84-58.

Robinson put on a dominating New Year’s Eve show, scoring a career-high 30 points to match his career-high 21 rebounds. Robinson is the first Jayhawk to score at least 30 points and record 20 rebounds since Wayne Hightower scored 36 points and grabbed 21 rebounds against Missouri on Feb. 13, 1961.

It also markedthe first 30-point game by a Jayhawk since Marcus Morris put up 33 at Iowa State in last season’s Big 12 Conference opener. Robinson’s Saturday performance made him just the sixth player in Big 12 history to garner the 30-point, 20-rebound achievement.

Kansas (10-3) used the record-breaking performance to record its 55th-straight non-conference victory at Allen Fieldhouse and will carry a 13-game home court win streak into the Big 12 Conference opener against Kansas State on Jan. 4.

Robinson was joined on the leaderboard by senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who let loose for 18 points, while fellow guard Elijah Johnson dished out a team-best seven assists and 11 points. Junior guard Travis Releford broke out 11 second-half points to finish the afternoon with 14, tying his career best. That backcourt also took good care of the ball, turning it over just 10 times for the second-lowest turnover mark of the season.

For North Dakota (5-8), sophomore guard Aaron Anderson came into Saturday’s contest as the Fighting Sioux’s leading scorer, averaging 12.2 points to rank in the top of the Great West Conference. Kansas held him to two first-half points, and 11 total, on Saturday. Sophomore forward Troy Huff led UND with 16 points as the pair were the only Fighting Sioux to reach double figures.

The game opened with a relatively quiet start as neither team scored for the first four minutes of the afternoon, missing a combined nine shots to kick off the contest. North Dakota guard Jordan Allard broke the silence with a three-pointer under the 16-minute mark before KU got on the board with back-to-back dunks from Robinson.

Senior guard Conner Teahan knocked down a three – his ninth-straight game with at least one from beyond the arc – to start construction on the Jayhawks’ first-half lead. Although KU got off to a slow start from three-point territory, starting just 1-for-8, Releford hit the Jayhawks’ second of the game as KU climbed ahead, 20-10.

Shortly thereafter, Taylor and Johnson erased the slow three-point start, connecting consecutively to stop a 5-0 UND run and take a 29-17 lead into the final media timeout of the first half. Six-straight points from Robinson put the All-American candidate in double-double status by the end of the opening frame as Kansas took a 37-21 lead into halftime.

The Jayhawks started the second half driving to the basket and making good on and-one opportunities as Releford and Taylor each did so in the opening minutes. Less than five-minutes in, Robinson followed a dunk with his first career three-pointer and Kansas powered ahead, 54-30.

The Robinson show continued with a monster dunk that pushed him past the 20-point plateau for the fifth time this season as KU’s lead increased to 25 points with just over 11 minutes remaining. By the 4:52 mark, the junior forward broke his previous career-high point total, set against Long Beach State earlier this month.

Four more free throws from Robinson and Teahan, backed with a Teahan layup in the waning minutes wrapped up the Jayhawks’ non-conference season with the 84-58 victory.

The Big 12 season starts for Kansas on Jan. 4 when the Jayhawks host Kansas State at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network. The Jayhawks have won 20-straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season with eight of those at home.