LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Jeff Withey scored 18 points, Ben McLemore added 14 and No. 9 Kansas routed TCU 74-48 on Saturday to avenge a stunning loss to the lowly Horned Frogs just over two weeks ago.
Perry Ellis and Travis Releford added 12 points each for the Jayhawks (23-4, 11-3 Big 12), who began the day tied with Kansas State for first place in the conference.
Kansas has won three straight since a rare three-game losing streak, one that included an embarrassing 62-55 loss to the Horned Frogs (10-17, 1-13) on Feb. 6. TCU still has not managed to beat another Big 12 team during its first season in the conference.
The Jayhawks put on a show for about 200 former players, coaches and staff on hand to celebrate the program’s 115th anniversary. The eight-time defending Big 12 champions built a 38-9 lead by halftime and then coasted the final 20 minutes to give coach Bill Self his 499th win.
Self can win his 500th when Kansas visits Iowa State on Monday.
The nine points scored by TCU were the fewest in any half in the last 15 years of Big 12 games, and the fewest allowed in a half by Kansas since Cornell scored nine on Jan. 2, 1996.
Devonta Abron had 18 points to lead the Horned Frogs, who have lost five straight by an average of nearly 22 since their victory over the Jayhawks. They have also lost 13 of 14 overall, their most recent win against anybody else coming Dec. 30 against Mississippi Valley State.
The Jayhawks only scored 13 points in the first half in that game in Fort Worth, Texas.
They had that many by the first media timeout Saturday.
Wearing throwback uniforms to honor its 1988 national championship team, Kansas rolled off the first 11 points and built an 18-5 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the half.
The Jayhawks mostly did it with defense, forcing the Horned Frogs into dribbling and passing around the perimeter for most of the shot clock before forcing up off-balanced shot. TCU wound up shooting 4 of 27 from the field and was 0 for 7 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Horned Frogs didn’t fare well when coach Trent Johnson called timeouts, either. Twice they committed turnovers on the ensuing inbounds play, keeping the Jayhawks’ momentum going.
Self did far better with his timeouts.
After the Horned Frogs scored consecutive baskets, Self called a quick one to get his team back on track. Kevin Young responded with a basket underneath, Elijah Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and the Jayhawks ripped off an 18-0 run to end the half.
Trent Johnson left the court shaking his head at halftime, and it was hard to tell why: His team trailing 38-9 against a team it recently beat, or the soaring dunk along the base line that McLemore threw down in the closing seconds to punctuate the Jayhawks’ big first half.
McLemore had 10 points at the break — one more than TCU had as a team.
The Horned Frogs’ starters were shut out in the first half, combining to shoot 0 for 14 from the field. They committed eight turnovers and missed both of their free throws.
Things didn’t go much better in the second half for the Horned Frogs, who couldn’t string together enough baskets to make much of a dent in the Jayhawks’ lead.
By the time the closing minutes wound down, the only question was whether Kansas would miss a foul shot. The Jayhawks didn’t attempt one in the first half, but made their first 17 tries in the second. Andrew White III finally missed one with 2:26 left in the game.
Naturally, he made his second attempt.
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