Texas Meets The Flockers: Jayhawks 90, Horns 65

The worst thing to happen to Texas prior to its 90-65 dismantling at Kansas was not that two members of its front court were sidelined but that the Jayhawks suffered a 19-point loss at Villanova just one week earlier.

It led to second-year Kansas coach Bill Self questioning his team's passion and energy. The result was that the virtually flawless No. 6/7 Jayhawks put on a clinic and gave their head coach his first win over Texas. Preseason Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Wayne Simien scored a career-best 27 points (11-of-17 FG) to raise Kansas' record to 16-1 and in sole possession of first place in league standings with a 6-0 mark.

No. 13/16Texas fell to 15-5, 4-3 in conference action. The loss snapped Texas' two-game winning streak over the storied Jayhawk program. It was coach Rick Barnes' worst loss since falling to Duke, 89-61, on December 20, 2003.

Texas had to force turnovers and hit some outside shots to have a chance a stealing a win in Lawrence for the first time in school history. Instead, the Horns suffered a season-high 19 turnovers and were just 4-of-22 (18 percent) from beyond the arc.

"One thing we did have tonight for the entire game was effort and a lot of teams would roll over, but our guys didn't," Rick Barnes said. "We just have to cut down our turnovers. Our offense got us in trouble early in the game.  They (Kansas) got it going and played really well."

Texas was 22-of-58 (38 percent) from the field while KU, clicking on all cylinders, shot 36-of-68 (53 percent). The Horns connected on 17-of-23 (74 percent) of their foul shots; the Jayhawks were 11-of-12 (92 percent) from the charity stripe. The home team was also red hot from beyond the arc, knocking down 7-of-15 (47 percent) from outside of the line.

For the fifth straight game, freshman G Daniel Gibson was Texas' leading scorer but his 19 points (6-of-12 FG) was too little, too late for the Longhorns. Senior C Jason Klotz fouled out as Texas' second-leading scorer with 12 points (6-of- 12 FG). Junior F Brad Buckman was just 1-of-8 from the field, scoring his only FG with 72 seconds remaining.

The Horns scored first off of Klotz's jumper. That 2-0 lead was as good as it got for Texas. The Jayhawks grabbed a 10-6 advantage behind a pair of treys from senior G Keith Langford and senior G Aaron Miles. Simien's bucket from 14 feet made it a 14-8 ballgame. Kenton Paulino answered with a straightaway trey. The Horns committed six turnovers in the first seven minutes as KU moved to a 20-13 advantage.

Freshman F Mike Williams converted a traditional three-point play to bring Texas to within 20-16 with 11:29 remaining. That's when Simien took over, scoring on a 12-footer jumper and again on successive touches inside the paint to stake a 29-20 Jayhawk cushion. Senior G Sydmill Harris sank a pair of FTs before Brad Buckman's block led to Kenny Taylor's fastbreak jumper as the Horns pulled within 29-24.

Jeff Hawkin's three-point play gave the home team its first double-digit lead 34-24, with 4:13 remaining until intermission. Back-to-back layups from junior F Christian Moody pushed the Jayhawk lead to 40-26. Hawkins sank a three at the buzzer to send the Jayhawks into the locker room with a 43-28 advantage. Buckman went scoreless in the first half while Gibson was just 1-of-4 from field. The Jayhawks converted 11 first half turnovers into 14 points. Texas was 1-9 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes.

The second period opened like this: Buckman missed a trey, Gibson picked up his third foul and Miles drained one from beyond the arc. Sophomore F J.J. Giddings three-ball made it 51-30 Jayhawks. Paulino and Harris both sank a pair of FTs to make it 51-34 as Texas' best hope at this point was to try to get KU in foul trouble and slow the game down at the charity stripe.

Moody's bucket gave KU a 58-34 bulge. Paulino followed his FTs with a trey to stop the bleeding (or at least slow it to a trickle) at 58-39. Gibson's shot from beyond the arc made it a 60-42 ballgame while Buckman attempted just his first FG inside the arc (a miss) with 14:27 left. Gibson finally got untracked; his jumper and his NBA three cut into the Jayhawk lead, 62-47. But Simien's three-point play made it 65-47. Simien sank a pair of FTs after Klotz went to the bench with his fourth personal and nine minutes left. Simien followed with an alley-oop layup before Gibson popped an NBA three to make it 69-51.

Indicative of how the night went for the out-of-sync Horns: with Texas trailing 71-51, Buckman stepped over the line at the front end of a one-and-one and the result was the 18th turnover of the mismatch. Simien's uncontested slam resulted in his season season 27 points and an 85-57 KU bulge. Klotz fouled-out with 2:22 remaining while Buckman hit his first field goal with 72 seconds remaining in the ball game.

If it's any consolation, the best team on Texas' schedule (not to mention a preseason No. 1) brought its A-game to its first home contest following Self's questioning his team's effort. And with reports circulating that starting freshman F LaMarcus Aldridge could be back within two weeks, the 25-point loss at Lawrence should be as bad as it gets this year for the Horns. All told, Saturday's game completes the toughest four-game regular season stretch on the Horns' schedule. Texas played three nationally ranked teams in 12-days, posting a 2-2 mark.

"We are still in (the Big 12 race)," Gibson said. "We weren't going to lay down and quit tonight, and that is how the rest of the season will be." 

Next up, Texas hosts Iowa State (74-66 winners over Oklahoma) at 3 p.m., Saturday in an ESPN+ regional telecast.


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