As expected, Kansas senior Tarik Black, filling in for injured Joel Embiid, had a monster game (19 points, six boards, two blocks, 9-of-9 shooting). Another given was that Naadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis would not repeat their earlier poor performances against Texas Tech. They did not.
Those factors alone would have been sufficient to ensure a Jayhawks victory over the Red Raiders on Senior Night in Lawrence. But throw in the fact that Tech was lead-legged and muddle-headed throughout the game and you've got the makings of a laugher.
And so it was.
The Red Raiders managed to keep the game reasonably close for most of the first half, but when KU (23-7, 14-3) surged to a 25-15 lead on a Perry Ellis three-pointer with 6:15 to play, the rout was officially on.
Tech (13-17 5-12) entered a fatal scoring drought at the 7:09 mark and didn't emerge from it until 2:41 remained in the half. By that time Kansas was up by 20 points and some Red Raider faithful may have had uneasy thoughts of the Lady Raiders' recent 55-point loss at Oklahoma.
Fortunately, the Red Raiders had considerably more fortitude than the Lady Raiders, and although the Jayhawks did build a 36-point lead on a Brannen Greene dunk at the 12:17 mark of the second half, Tech managed to avoid a historically lopsided loss. The final score was 82-57, which is a typical Tech-Kansas score in Lawrence, and is about what happens to most visitors on Senior Night in Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Having said that, it is clear that the current Tech team is a dim facsimile of the one that defeated the likes of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor earlier in the season. The Red Raiders are now playing like a team on anesthetic. And it's not simply a matter of Jaye Crockett's gimpy knees.
Tech as a team, seemed to be glued to the floor. Kansas players soared over and around Red Raiders with the greatest of ease. Tech's defensive rebounders were unusually slow to react to balls coming off the iron and glass. Kansas seemed to win loose balls by a four-to-one count. The Red Raiders, once a top free throw-shooting team, hit only 67 percent of their attempts from the line. Careless and sloppy turnovers, particularly in the crucial first half of the game, were a common occurrence. And silly deep jumpers early in the shot clock were plentiful.
Texas Tech was never going to win this game, but the Red Raiders of a mere two weeks ago would have challenged Kansas deep into the second half and perhaps lost by around 10 points. Alas, the Red Raiders now look to be a team merely playing out the string. It will be a terrible shame if they cannot summon up one last supreme effort on their own Senior Night when the Texas Longhorns come calling on Saturday in United Spirit Arena.
Red Raiders Collapse in Kansas
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