Maybe it was former Kansas basketball standout Mario Chalmers becoming the 27th player to have his jersey retired at halftime. Maybe it was the excitement of ESPN Game Day. Maybe Bill Self lit a fire under the team or found the right buttons to push, but whatever it was, it worked Saturday night, February 16, 2013. The Jayhawks slammed Texas 73-47 and sent them packing from Allen Fieldhouse. It wasn’t really even a game after Travis Releford scored the first points of the game on a three pointer. Kansas never trailed and held a double digit lead from the 9 minute mark in the first half until the final whistle.
Jeff Withey logged a double-double and tied Travis Releford with a team-best 15 points, and Elijah Johnson and Kevin Young combined for 20 points. Withey swatted away a Jonathan Holmes layup attempt with 17:50 remaining to surpass former Longhorn Chris Mihm as the Big 12’s career blocks leader with 265 deflections. Kansas held Texas to 21.8 percent shooting from the field. Itw as a combination of dominant defense and poor shooting from Texas.
It didn’t hurt the Jayhawks that the hapless Longhorns only mustered 9.5 percent shooting on three pointers. Interestingly Texas out-rebounded Kansas by 1 overall and by 8 on the offensive glass. That can be partly due to missing shots, but Kansas got lucky that those rebounds weren’t converted to second chance points.
KU capitalized on turnovers and converted fast breaks to points as Elijah Johnson streaked to the rim early and often in the second half to extend the KU lead to as much as 30 points at times. Another great sign from this KU offense was points in the paint. Kansas lead 38 to Texas’ 16. Feeding Withey and Young in the paint opens a whole new dimension when Kansas can hit three pointers and the guards are able to penetrate and create opportunities.
Kansas fans can only hope that this latest edition of the 2012-2013 Jayhawks team is the real deal and can keep this play up into March.
See the final stats here.
Kansas will look to avenge its first home loss in more than a year when the Jayhawks travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for a rematch in Gallagher-Iba Arena Wednesday at 8 P.M. on ESPN2.
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