No. 8 Kansas Enjoys Rout of No. 19 Texas, 85-54
LAWRENCE, Kan. — It wasn’t the stellar first half, Andrew Wiggins nearly outscoring the Longhorns by halftime or even the largest margin of victory in the series history that stood out the most on Saturday. Well on its way to an 85-54 win against No. 19/17 Texas, the No. 8/8 Kansas Jayhawks had themselves a blast inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas (21-6, 12-2 Big 12) demolished any thought of Texas (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) repeating its performance from Austin three weeks prior by the end of the first half. An all-out blitzkrieg, the Jayhawks used an eight-minute Texas scoring drought to open up a 25-2 run. The Jayhawks’ ambush resulted in the biggest halftime lead of the conference season at 46-18. Texas never recovered.
With the game on lockdown, the Jayhawks let loose. The first of two late-game dunks from forward Tarik Black brought on frenzied celebration from his teammates on – and around – the bench. Finally clicking on all cylinders, the Jayhawks enjoyed every minute. They finished the night shooting 52 percent (31-of-60), while forcing the Longhorns to miss 40 of their 61 shot attempts for a season-low 54 points. With the win, Kansas increased its lead to three games over second-place Texas in the Big 12 standings.
One game since hitting the first game-winner of his Jayhawk career, Wiggins made sure that late game heroics would not be needed against Texas. The freshman was phenomenal, chalking up 15 points on a trio of three-pointers in the first half alone, ensuring that the game was never really a game. He went on to lead all scorers with 21 points, grabbed six rebounds and tallied a pair of blocks.
His freshmen counterparts were hot on his trail. Rookie center Joel Embiid finished the night with the Jayhawks’ all-time freshman blocks record, surpassing Eric Chenowith’s previous of 62 record not five minutes into the game that Chenowith himself attended. He tallied six on the night, for a career total of 68, adding to his 13 points and seven rebounds. Wayne Selden, Jr., dished out a career-high seven assists and tied his personal-best with six rebounds, while Frank Mason hit a career-high six shots on his way to 14 points.
Junior forward Jonathan Holmes led the Longhorns with 17 points and was joined on the leaderboard by sophomore center Cameron Ridley with 11. Junior forward Prince Ibeh led the floor with eight rebounds, but was held scoreless. The battle of the Big 12’s best blocking teams ended in favor of the Jayhawks, 9-7.
The Longhorns got their way through the first five minutes as Holmes racked up six quick points as Texas jumped in front, 8-3. But, the early jump the Longhorns were hoping to repeat from the matchup in Austin wasn’t meant to be this time around. Ready to set a tone of their own, sophomore forward Jamari Traylor clung to UT’s Conner Lammert until forcing the Texas forward to give up the ball. He turned the steal into a bullet pass down the floor. Wiggins took it from there, his dunk putting an exclamation mark amidst KU’s insurmountable 25-2 run.
After Tharpe’s layup turned the lead back to Kansas, 10-8, Wiggins went on a rampage. The Canadian crusher pounded out 12 of the Jayhawks’ next 14 points. From the time Javan Felix hit layup with 13:25 to play until the Longhorns scored again with 5:20 remaining in the first half, Wiggins erupted for two dunks, two free throws and two three-pointers, the second of which left Texas with no choice other than to call a timeout, now trailing the home team, 24-10. Twelve minutes into the evening, Wiggins had 15 points. Using all five players, Texas didn’t catch his scoring total until the 2:47 mark.
His teammates joined the party. When Lammert hit a three-pointer that broke an eight-minute Texas scoring drought, Embiid and sophomore forward Perry Ellis responded with eight-straight points – including a one-handed slam from the seven-footer that prompted an immediate timeout signal from the visitor bench. Kansas refused to slow down, charging forward 35-13.
The Jayhawks saved the most telling sign, however, for the last two minutes. Mason picked up the dagger when his three-pointer pushed Kansas over the 40-point plateau. When the Longhorns returned to their end of the floor, freshman guard Isaiah Taylor drove in for a layup – Embiid blocked it. Felix picked up the rebound, tried for a layup – Embiid blocked it. Ibeh picked up the rebound – Selden blocked it. Outnumbered and outmatched, Texas gave the ball up and Mason completed the cycle with a layup on the Jayhawk end. Kansas took an overwhelming 46-18 lead to halftime.
The 18 points tied the Longhorns’ lowest scoring output of the season and gave them more than enough incentive to save face in the final 20 minutes. Again Holmes put up a quick five points to start the half, but the rally didn’t go much further. Kansas was slow out of the gate, hitting just 4 of its first 14 shots, but a three-point play from Ellis and back-to-back buckets from Black tightened KU’s grip, 63-33.
Kansas never looked back, winning 85-54. Black’s dunks put the finishing touches on a fun night for the Jayhawks and their 210th-consecutive sold-out crowd.
Kansas will host Oklahoma in its fourth ESPN Big Monday appearance of 2013-14 on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. KU will then travel to Oklahoma State on March 1 at 8 p.m. on ESPN. ESPN College Gameday will originate from Stillwater that day. Kansas returns home for Senior Night on Wednesday, March 5, against Texas Tech at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Network.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): Jr. Naadir Tharpe (24/24), Fr. Wayne Selden, Jr. (27/27), Fr. Andrew Wiggins (27/27), So. Perry Ellis (27/30), Fr. Joel Embiid (18/18)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 23-8
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (210th-consecutive sellout)
- Improved KU to 21-6 on the season, against the nation’s most difficult strength of schedule.
- Gave Kansas 21 wins for the 25th-consecutive season and for 30th time in the last 31 years dating back to 1983-84.
- Made Kansas 12-2 in Big 12 play, the 14th-straight year the Jayhawks have won 12 or more conference games (beginning in 2000-01).
- Pushed the all-time series record to 23-8 in favor of KU and 12-1 in Lawrence.
- Bettered the Jayhawks’ home record to 12-1 inside Allen Fieldhouse this season, 173-9 in the Bill Self era and 711-109 all-time in the facility.
- Made Self 13-8 all-time against Texas (13-6 at KU), 321-65 while at Kansas and 528-170 overall.
- Made KU 2,122-818 all-time.
- KU’s 31 point win was its biggest margin of victory in series history.
- The Jayhawks cranked out a 51.7 shooting percentage, marking the 17th time this season that KU has shot 50 percent or better in a game – the most since the 2010-11 team tallied 24 games of 50 percent or better.
- Kansas shot 63 percent in the 1st half, marking the 12th time that KU has posted a shooting efficiency of 60 percent or better in a half this year.
- KU went on a 32-5 run starting at the 15:28 mark and running over the next 11:26 minutes of the 1st half. KU held UT scoreless for 8:05 minutes in the first half, with the Longhorns going 0-for-5 from the floor in that span. By the time 1st half ended, the Jayhawk run had reached 43-10.
- KU started out shooting 1-4 from the floor in the first half, but hit 10 of its next 15 attempts from the field.
- The Jayhawks held the Longhorns to only 18 points in the first half, tying its lowest in conference play this year. The last time KU held a team to 18 or less was against TCU (2/23/13) when the Horned Frogs had only nine points.
- The Jayhawks’ seven turnovers ties its fewest of the season. The Jayhawks also turned it over seven times versus Kansas State in Lawrence (1/11).
- KU’s 26 fastbreak points were its most in conference play and the most since KU had 29 fastbreak points versus Towson (Nov. 22, 2013).
- The KU bench scored 33 points, marking its most in conference play this year and the most since the bench also scored 33 points against Georgetown (12/21/13).
- In Texas’ last five trips to Allen Fieldhouse the Jayhawk’s have beaten them by an average margin of 17.4 points.
- KU’s 28-point lead at the end of the first half marked its largest halftime lead in a conference game since the Jayhawk’s held a 29-point lead over TCU, 38-9 (2/23/13).
- The Jayhawk’s held UT leading scorer Isaiah Taylor to 1-of-14 (7.1 percent) shooting, which is the lowest field goal percentage by a Jayhawk opponent with a minimum of ten attempts since Richard Griffin 1-of-16 (6.3 percent) Dec. 6, 1993. Taylor’s 7.1 percent is the lowest by a Kansas Division I opponent since the 1988-89 season.
- Freshman C Joel Embiid rejected six shots against Texas, passing Eric Chenowith (62, 1998) for the Kansas freshman blocks record with 68 blocks on the year. He broke the record at the 15:34 mark in the 1st half.
- Embiid has now blocked at least one shot in 20-straight games in which he has played.
- Embiid’s five first-half blocks is the most in a half since Jeff Withey recorded five in the second half versus Chattanooga on Nov. 15, 2012.
- With seven rebounds, Embiid now has 201 for his career making him the fifth Jayhawk to grab 200 or more rebounds in their freshman season
- Freshman G Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points, giving him 442 points on the year, right behind Brandon Rush’s (444) for fourth-place position on the all-time Kansas freshmen scoring list.
- Wiggins also holds the KU freshmen record for free throws made (128), free throws attempted (169) and scoring average (16.4).
- Sophomore F Jamari Traylor has missed only eight shots in 14 conference games, making him 24-of-32 in Big 12 games this season for a 75.0 shooting percentage.
- Freshman G Wayne Selden dished seven assists which is a career-high.
- Freshman G Frank Mason hit a personal-best six field goals (6-of-7) for 14 points.
Kansas head coach Bill Self
On the team’s performance:
“We were so geeked up and amped up and played so well early. We got behind 8-3, and I looked up at the scoreboard and I think it was 34-15 or 34-13, something like that. We went on like a – I could be wrong – 31-5 run. It was unbelievable, and our guys played so good. Everybody played great. Naadir (Tharpe) was fabulous even though he didn’t make shots, he set the tone defensively. We kept them out of the paint for the most part in the first half, but we were so active. A lot of times we are not great in transition, but tonight to get 26 points in transition was pretty special.”
On the defense in the first half:
“Yeah, our defense wasn’t as intense in the second half and they made some shots. We were fortunate, they missed some free-throws and there were a lot of things that we got a break with throughout the game. As far as having a big lead, they couldn’t get anything going, but we didn’t give them any easy baskets and everything was contested at the rim. Our big guys, even though their big guys are good – (Cameron) Ridley and (Jonathan) Holmes are good – but I thought our big guys were so aggressive taking the ball to the basket.”
On the performance of Joel Embiid:
“He was good, I just want him to be healthy for Monday as much as we can. Certainly we didn’t substitute a lot, but I knew we weren’t going to put them back in. Even though 29, 28 and 27 minutes is still quite a bit, that’s nothing like having to play 38 minutes and come down to the last possession. Hopefully we will be a little fresher tomorrow heading into Monday.”
On the performance of Frank Mason:
“Frank shot it really well in practice, but he hasn’t shot it worth a flip during the games. He hasn’t scored and he’s just waiting to bust out. I thought Frank was great. On a night where you think Naa (Naadir Tharpe) would be six of seven and maybe Frank one for nine, they were both great defensively. Frank made shots and Naa missed open looks. Certainly we need (Naadir) making shots and being more consistent. I thought our bench was really good and I thought Tarik (Black) and Mari (Traylor) were both fabulous. Conner (Frankamp) made a big shot at the end of the clock. That play that Tarik made was about as athletic of a play that we have had all year.”
On the defensive pressure of Wayne Selden:
“He totally gives himself up to guard. He gave himself up to guard (Javan) Felix and he did a great job on him. I don’t know what he (Felix) ended up with, I think he made one shot on Wayne, if one. I know Wayne fouled him once, but Wayne is becoming more of a stopper kind of like Travis (Releford). Of course (Andrew) Wiggins gave us confidence by getting us off to such a great start, he was fabulous early.”
On his thoughts on the Saturday/Monday games, and facing Oklahoma Monday night:
“That’s the thing that I wish we had, another day. It is just one of those things where you know the kids are going to be dead tired tomorrow and they just have to suck it up and play Monday. Oklahoma had the same deal today and they looked great. I watched them play earlier today against Kansas State. They controlled that game from start to finish, kind of like this game. We know we will get a great effort, and they spread you and drive you and kind of take your big men away from the basket.”
Kansas freshman guard Frank Mason
On if he felt like this was one of the best first halves they’ve played this year:
“I would say so. I think we started off the game aggressive and were locked in on defense. We got stops and that lead to our offense, so I think that was the best first half we’ve played this year.”
On if transition had been a point of emphasis in their preparation for this game:
“I wouldn’t say that. We were focused on the defensive end because we know that would lead to transition. That’s where our focus was at, on the defensive end.”
On what his approach was to guarding Isaiah Taylor:
“We knew that he was the key to their team. It started with me and Naadir (Tharpe) cutting the head off of the team and we knew they would struggle if we could do that.”
On which was his favorite dunk of the night:
“The one Tarik Black did in the second half was extreme.”
On if it has sunk in that with a win Monday night they could possibly clinch a share of the Big 12 Title:
“Yes, that was our first goal to start the year off – to win a tenth straight Big 12 Championship. That’s still our goal. Right now we are taking it one game at a time so we can reach that goal and keep making history.”
On how much pride went into preparing for this game:
“I would say pride is a big key to every game, especially this game. At Texas it seemed like we didn’t have pride or anything going for us so we wanted to come back home and let them know how we really play and who we really are.”
Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid
On how they changed their play inside the paint from last time they played Texas:
“The fact that they didn’t go inside hard changed my mindset. Like Coach (Self) said, just show them what you can do and I felt like I did that; and my teammates kept feeding me.”
On the feeling that the bench had after Tarik Black’s dunk in the second half:
“It was incredible. I’ve seen something like that but the one who did it was Blake Griffin, so he reminded me of Blake Griffin. Being on the sideline it was crazy.”
On how it felt to earn the freshman blocking record:
“It was a great accomplishment for me.”
Kansas freshman guard Andrew Wiggins
On his thoughts about what led to the run they had in the first half:
“Our pride, we wanted to come up aggressive because we knew that last time we got embarrassed at their place and we wanted to do the same thing to them. We took it to them and every minute on the floor we played hard.”
On how important it is for him to get his offense going early in games:
“When I start early it builds up my confidence in my game. Especially if I get a three, I feel like I’m on fire automatically. My team was doing a great job of getting me the ball where I like to shoot the ball, and down low I was able to dunk everything, so I respect my teammates for giving me the ball where I needed it.”
On how he went into tonight’s game after losing to Texas earlier in the season:
“I missed shots, plenty of shots that I usually make when we were at Texas, so I just tried to get extra shots.”
Texas head coach Rick Barnes
“They were really good obviously. You’ve got to know that after we played as well as we did against them the first time that they were going to be ready to play and we didn’t come out as much as we talked about. I thought our preparation was good, but we didn’t handle them. They chose to really put pressure on our two guards and make Demarcus Holland make plays and he got himself in trouble in the lane, but when we got it where we like to get the ball, our guards at the start of the game – Isaiah (Taylor) and Javan (Felix) – just stood and watched and got in a tough situation there. Defensively, again it goes back to our offense. When we’ve been really bad, it’s because teams do some things differently, as much as we try to talk about it, we still don’t adjust what we need to. I thought that’s what really set the tone there in the first half. Obviously they got comfortable and started making some shots and they beat us, they beat us good.”
On a playing a tough road stretch:
“That’s what we told our guys, that’s what’s most disappointing. We haven’t responded on the road like we need to. It goes back to execution. It goes back to mental toughness. It goes back to everyone staying together, doing what they need to do, consistency, and we haven’t done that.”
On not responding on the road being a red flag this late in the season:
“No. I’m not thinking about postseason, all that. We’re just worried about right now. We could sit here all night and talk about down the road two weeks, three weeks, whatever. I’m concerned with what I have been all year – consistency and knowing what we’re going to get every night from every individual. We don’t work hard enough to put it inside. Our post guys don’t work hard enough to get it where they need it. It’s a combination of a couple different things and the baffling part of it is that we’ve had some good preparation, but we weren’t very good and they were really good. They were really good. I guess – I’m being a little sarcastic – I think we should probably refund the fans, they probably would’ve rather watched, what was the team Bill (Self) talked about, the Topeka YMCA? They probably would’ve given them a little bit better game, because we sure didn’t give them a game.”
On if Wiggins was a different player this time:
“Every game is different. You look at Wiggins, he’s a terrific player. He missed some shots at our place, that he made today, but he didn’t do anything different than we expected him to do. It’s just that we lost confidence because of the way we were playing and it snowballed. Coach (Self) has built him up now and he believes in what he can do. You go back, I think (Joel) Embiid had 10 post touches before Cam (Cameron Ridley) had one. A lot of that had to do with not just the perimeter guys, but him fighting to get the ball where he wants it. Those were the kind of things where you can’t try and go through somebody’s chest, you can’t do that. Those were the things where we’ve got to get consistent with. Cam can score down there, but it’s hard, and that’s what I told the guys, this time of the year it’s hard to be really good. You’ve got to execute, and that’s where we fall down the road, we don’t have the same execution.”
On if there’s anything on Kansas’ team that impresses him:
“I said at the beginning of the year, and I probably said it wrong, everyone was talking about the best team in the country and I said I thought Kansas was the best team in the country. What I should have said was at the end I think they can be the best team in the country. With that said, I think on any given night, if we do what we’re capable of we can beat any team in the country. I think if we played Kansas again we could beat Kansas, if we do what we do, but we have to do it. I don’t think we have the room for error that they do. They’ve got some pros down there, but we’ve got some. I just think theirs are a little further along than where we are right now. I really like our team, but we’re not the team that we were really two weeks ago. In terms of the mentality part of it, and that’s where we’ve got to get that back.
“They don’t seem rattled to me. It goes back to mental toughness and execution. You think about it, we missed some free throws, there was plenty of time to get back in the game. I think Jon (Jonathon Holmes) went through a period, he missed a layup, he charged, missed some free throws. Those are huge plays at that point in time, when you’re trying to get back in it. It’s just a really fine line if you don’t close it down, they start feeling good and you’re fighting uphill the whole time.”
On if he was surprised by Isaiah Taylor’s poor performance:
“Well no, he missed some shots early that he missed. But what surprised me about him is he was the one guy that didn’t do what we needed done offensively. The way they were playing him and what they were doing the counter that we had, and we weren’t getting it done. But he’s a competitor and he’ll fight back and he’ll learn from it. But his biggest thing that he’s still continuing to learn is how to play against adjustments. He would give the ball up, and they would deny him and the he would just stand. He’s got to learn how to play without the ball and actually the last game he did that a couple times, why he didn’t do it tonight, I can’t tell you. But they did a good job of what they wanted to get done and they put it inside. Again, they did what you’d expect a Kansas team to do.”
Texas Sophomore Guard Javan Felix
On playing on the road:
“We haven’t been playing together since after we beat Kansas last. It hurt us. We’re showing spurts that we know that we still want it, and like I said, we’re all still confident and we know what we have to do. It’s just a matter of doing what we have to do to fix it because we have a big game coming up on Tuesday. We just have to fix it and get back on the right track.”
On what Kansas did differently:
“They executed better. That’s partly our fault. Their offense, they had fast three-points and points in the paint. And that is part of us not playing with each other, moving the ball, and stuff like that on offense. We definitely helped them.”
On their shooting drought:
“We didn’t get Cam (Cameron Ridley) the ball as much as we wanted to. That was something we did a lot of in the first game. Tonight, we didn’t do a good job of that. It’s just something we’ve got to get back to.”
Texas Junior Forward Jonathan Holmes
On losing their last three games on the road:
“There’s definitely a pattern there. We played three really hard road games and we haven’t since then. We have to figure out and fix it. We play hard at home, anyone can do that. You’ve got to play hard on the road, especially in this conference, against teams like this. You’ve got to be mature, it’s not just play hard for our fans, you have to play hard when you’re on the road.”
On how the game escalated:
“It can get away from you quick. Coach (Barnes) always talks about a fine line, and it can get away from you quickly. One or two possessions you’re down by six, eight and the games over, you’ve dug a hole. It’s just something you’ve got to understand. We still have a lot of games to play, and we have to get ready for Baylor.”
On when the game changed:
“At a lot of times, we knew we dug ourselves a hole. So we came out and tried not to look at the scoreboard and just tried to play hard and see what would happen. But they came out, they came to play, they executed.”
On what is next for the team:
“We’ve got to finish these four games out strong. We’ve got to get some momentum going into the Big 12 Tournament. Just got to come back and prepare for Baylor.”