Another rough start
The start to this game was eerily similar to Texas and Kansas’ last meeting in Lawrence — and not in a positive way for the Longhorns. Turnovers and some sloppy offensive possessions put Texas in an early 9-2 hole. But the Longhorns eventually settled down and were able to take their first lead of the game with just under 11 minutes remaining in the first half. Freshman forward Jarrett Allen threw down a strong two-handed slam dunk to give Texas a 20-19 lead, forcing Kansas to call a timeout.
Allen, Jones carry Texas
You can’t help but wonder if Allen is playing his final games in a Longhorn uniform. The freshman forward has grown into a projected first-round NBA draft pick this season.
“I think (Allen is) great,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “I’m not predicting what’s gonna happen, but whenever he comes out (for the draft), this kid’s a lottery pick.”
Allen looked sharp once again on Saturday against the Jayhawks. Allen, who led the Longhorns with 20 points and 11 rebounds, threw down a few booming dunks and had a big block on Kansas junior forward Dwight Coleby in the paint. Freshman guard Andrew Jones chipped in 18 points of his own. Jones appeared visibly frustrated in the postgame press conference following the game.
“We could’ve hung around with them,” Jones said. “They’re not unbeatable. They’re a beatable team.”
Longhorns outclassed by Jayhawks
The Longhorns tried multiple times throughout the second half to make things interesting but never found enough of a rhythm. A careless turnover, a missed shot or a few Kansas buckets would quell any hope of pulling off a miraculous upset. A rare three-pointer from freshman guard Jacob Young had the Longhorns within five at 56-51 with 10:39 remaining. But it was the closest Texas would get in the second half.
“You got to have a group of guys that really stick their chest out,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “I didn’t think that our spirit was good enough at that point. And then obviously Kansas made some really good plays.”
Kansas fans show up and show out
Jayhawk fans showed up in numbers and made up a decent portion of the announced crowd of 14,111.
Loud chants of “Let’s go Jayhawks” and “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” echoed throughout the Frank Erwin Center as Kansas wrapped up a 77-67 win over Texas and a 13th-consecutive Big 12 regular season title. For a few moments, the Erwin Center felt like Allen Fieldhouse.
A new low in a lost season
With the loss to Kansas, Texas has now dropped to 10–19 overall, 4–12 in Big 12 play. The last time the Longhorns lost at least 19 games in a season was the 1983-84 season when Texas finished 7–21 under head coach Bob Weltlich. Saturday’s matchup with the Jayhawks symbolized a stark contrast in where two Big 12 programs currently stand.
“We need to take significant steps,” Smart said. “Obviously with what (Kansas) has done, they’re a cut above everyone else. You look at what they have, you look at what they’re doing and you realize, hey, we got a long, long way to go to get there.”