LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Texas will have to wait another year to steal a win at Allen Fieldhouse after getting pummeled, 73-47, by Kansas on Saturday night. The loss drops the Longhorns to six games behind the Jayhawks (21-4, 9-3) in the Big 12 standings and to an overall record of 11-14 on the year. The Longhorns have lost all six of their Big 12 road games.
Texas’ 21.8 shooting percentage is the worst such mark in the Rick Barnes era (1998-present). The Longhorns made just two of their 21 three-point attempts and committed 16 turnovers in a game that could have ended up a lot worse.
“You can’t coach making shots,” Barnes said. “All the things we talked about that we wanted to do, we didn’t do.”
Myck Kabongo scored a team-high 13 points, with nine of those points coming from the free-throw line. Connor Lammert had seven points in the first half, but scored just two more points before fouling out with under four minutes left in the game. After showing some signs of improvement in recent games, freshmen Demarcus Holland and Ioannis Papapetrou combined for just eight points. Fellow freshman Cameron Ridley whiffed on all five of his free throw attempts and, like Javan Felix, failed to score a single point.
The Jayhawks’ starters combined for 61 points, led by Jeff Withey and Travis Releford, who scored 15 points each. Withey rounded out a double-double with 11 rebounds and two blocks, the second of which moved him into sole possession of the Big 12 all-time block record with 265 career rejections. The record was previously held by Texas’ Chris Mihm.
“We had an emphasis on trying to get inside more but the outside shots kept coming open and we couldn’t make them,” Lammert said.
For much of the game the Jayhawks’ defensive pressure forced the Longhorns into hurried shots inside the lane, turnovers and eventually back-to-back shot-clock violations.
“We did a good job making them uncomfortable shooting the ball in the second half,” Releford said.
Withey had a lot to do with Texas’ alarmingly low field goal percentage, but senior guard Elijah Johnson thinks the Jayhawks can get even more from the seven-footer.
“Frustration sets in for other teams when they have to take a detour around Jeff,” Johnson said. “We know how to use Jeff but right now we’re not doing it.”
Kansas scored 38 points in the paint, thanks in large part to Withey’s presence around the rim and Releford’s 4-of-5 night shooting from behind the three-point line. Freshman Ben McLemore picked Kabongo’s pocket late in the second half, taking the ball the length of the court and finishing with a 360-degree dunk that sent the home crowd in to all-out chaos. McLemore finished with 13 points.
“When they make shots and the crowd gets going it’s really hard to stop them,” Papapetrou said.