Top-ranked Kansas stifles sinking Texas 80-68Posted: Updated:
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Marcus Morris scored 18 points to lead No. 1 Kansas to an 80-68 victory over No. 14 Texas on Monday night and the Jayhawks easily handled an opponent that a few weeks ago was supposed to challenge them for the Big 12 title.
Kansas (23-1, 9-0) outmuscled and outhustled the Longhorns (19-5, 5-4) in just about every way, holding the top-scoring team in the Big 12 to 37 percent shooting and scoring 27 points off 17 turnovers.
And when Texas finally staged a late rally, Kansas slammed the door behind senior point guard Sherron Collins.
Freshman J'Covan Brown scored 28 points for the Longhorns, who have lost five of their last seven games after earning the first No. 1 ranking in school history a month ago.
The Jayhawks gave Texas a lesson in how to not just get to No. 1, but how to stay there, using a 22-0 run in the first half to quiet a raucous home crowd and open a big lead that Texas never really threatened.
Kansas, No. 1 for the second straight week after being out of the top spot for three weeks, even outrebounded a physical Texas lineup 45-34 and allowed just five points off its 10 turnovers.
Brown scored most of his points in a late burst that cut Kansas' lead under 10 late before Tyshawn Taylor made two free throws. Collins then bulled through two defenders to fire a sharp pass to Tyrel Reed for a layup that ended the rally.
Kansas was No. 1 in the preseason poll and for the first eight weeks of the regular season before its only loss, at Tennessee.
Texas is in a free-fall after the best start in school history. The Longhorns looked like national title contenders when they were 17-0.
But that No. 1 ranking now seems like ancient history to a team struggling to find any offensive rhythm or make big stops on defense when they count.
Texas tried to muscle up Kansas by inserting forward Gary Johnson into the staring lineup for the first time. But his 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting couldn't make a difference.
Damion James had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Longhorns for his 50th career double-double. But just like so many other recent games, he was Texas' only scoring option for long stretches.
Texas led 14-11 before Markieff Morris' long 3-pointer started Kansas' big run that left the Longhorns looking bewildered at both ends of the court.
Collins zipped a pass to Marcus Morris and he made a nifty grab in a dead sprint for a layup. Taylor made a 3-pointer before two Texas turnovers led to easy Jayhawks baskets. Collins' long 3-pointer from the left wing made it 30-14.
Texas went scoreless for more than 11 minutes and missed 12 straight shots before James banked in a 3-pointer. Kansas led 34-24 at halftime.
Kansas opened the second half with an alley-oop dunk from Collins to Henry and the Jayhawks' stifling defense continued to force wild shots and turnovers.
When Texas guard Dogus Balbay mishandled the ball in the backcourt, all his teammates had already run to the other end. With four Jayhawks under the basket, Collins cooly tossed it to Marcus Morris for an empathic two-handed dunk and a 50-34 Kansas lead.
Everything seemed to be working for Kansas at that point. Brady Morningstar stroked a 3-pointer and Collins spun through the lane for a behind-the-the back pass to Cole Aldrich for a dunk. Even a botched alley-oop layup to Marcus Morris worked when the ball bounced right back to him on the other side of the basket for an easy putback.
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