No. 18 Texas Tech sinks No. 10 Kansas, 85-73
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A cold shooting night from deep and a 15-rebound deficit spelled doom for No. 10 Kansas as the Jayhawks fell to No. 18 Texas Tech, 85-73, Tuesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse. KU senior guard Devonte’ Graham scored a game-high 27 points but was joined by just two other teammates with 11 points as the Jayhawks suffered their worst loss in Allen Fieldhouse since 2003.
Kansas (11-3, 1-1 Big 12) saw itself lose for the second time on James Naismith Court in 2017-18, just the third time in the Bill Self era a KU squad has lost two games on its home court in a season. Texas Tech (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) notched its first win in 18 tries in Lawrence.
The Jayhawks, who were coming off a 3-point barrage four nights prior after connecting on 17 treys in a win at Texas, struggled from beyond the arc Tuesday night. KU shot a season-low 25-percent (6-of-24) from 3-point range and failed to convert on a three in the second half, going 0-of-12 over the final 20 minutes.
Kansas was forced to play behind for the entire game as the Jayhawk offense struggled from the tip. KU made just one of its first seven attempts from the field over the first seven-plus minutes of action. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders took advantage. TTU connected on three 3-pointers over the first five minutes, which helped the visitors jump out to a quick 17-5 lead.
KU saw its deficit grow to 16 points, its largest of the season, when Texas Tech’s Brandone Francis hit a jumper at the 10:45 mark. However the Jayhawks had an answer. An alley-oop dunk from Devonte’ Graham to Udoka Azubuike kicked off a 13-6 KU run that included a pair of fastbreak threes from Mykhailiuk which pulled the Jayhawks to within seven points, 29-22, with just over seven minutes left in the first frame.
The Red Raiders answered with an 8-0 run of their own to get their lead back up to 15. KU chipped away again with the help from a Lagerald Vick back-door dunk and Graham’s second 3-pointer of the half. Those two buckets, paired with an Azubuike lay-in and a Sam Cunliffe trey pulled KU back within double digits, but TTU’s Zhaire Smith hit a jumper with 14 seconds left before the break to send his team to the locker room with an 11 point lead at 43-32.
Both teams traded blows out of the intermission. Azubuike got the half started off with an and-one dunk, and Graham followed with a pair of free throws to get Kansas to within six points.
Malik Newman drove and laid in his first two points of the game with 13:22 left in regulation, cutting the TTU lead to 52-45. But that would be KU’s last field goal for the next four minutes of game action, as the Red Raider defense refused to break. The away side used the KU drought to go on a 10-4 run and get its advantage back into double figures. Tommy Hamilton IV open lay-up at the 9:25 mark saw the Red Raiders take a 62-49 lead.
The Hamilton VI bucket forced KU head coach Bill Self into a timeout, but it was an effective one. The Jayhawks came out of the huddle on 12-5 run, capped by Newman’s three-point play at the eight-minute mark, and saw themselves once again trailing by only six points.
But Texas Tech refused to let the Jayhawks get over the hump. As they had done all game, the Red Raiders used some clutch free throw shooting and timely buckets to halt the KU momentum. Five-straight points from the visitors handed them another double-digit lead at 75-65 with just over three minutes remaining and this time TTU managed to keep the Jayhawks at arms-length.
The Jayhawks were just 3-of-11 from the field over the final six minutes of regulation while the Red Raiders converted on 10 of their final 13 free throws to icy the game and escape Lawrence with an 85-73 victory.
Graham finished the game with 27 points and a perfect 13-of-13 clip from the free throw line. Azubuike and Mykhailiuk joined Graham in double figures with 11 points apiece.
KU was outrebounded by a final tally of 44-29, its largest rebounding deficit in almost two seasons. That number included an 18-8 TTU edge in offensive rebounds, which the Red Raiders converted into 15 second-chance points.
Kansas will hit the road and play at No. 16/15 TCU on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 8:15 p.m., on ESPN2. Kansas is 14-2 all-time against TCU, including a 5-1 record at Schollmaier Arena. TCU won the last meeting, 85-82, in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Big 12 Championship at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
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