No. 8 Kansas rolls to 85-54 rout of No. 19 Texas
Published on -2/23/2014, 9:40 AM
So did the rest of the Jayhawks.
On the eve of his 19th birthday, the freshman put on a dazzling display of outside shooting and rim-rattling dunks. Wiggins finished with 21 points to lead the eighth-ranked Jayhawks to an 85-54 rout of No. 19 Texas, helping them seize control of the Big 12 race.
It was a far different outcome than the first time the teams met, three weeks ago in Austin. Texas rolled to an 81-69 victory, and Wiggins managed seven points on 2-for-12 shooting.
"We wanted to come out aggressive," Wiggins said. "Last time we got embarrassed at their place. We wanted to do the same thing to them, win every minute of every possession."
They just about accomplished it.
Joel Embiid added 13 points, seven rebounds and six blocks for the Jayhawks (21-6, 12-2), who lead the league race by three games with four to play. Kansas can wrap up at least a share of its 10th straight title when Oklahoma visits Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night.
"That was our first goal to start the year off, to win a 10th straight Big 12 championship," said Frank Mason, who had 14 points off the bench. "That's still our goal."
Jonathan Holmes scored 17 points and Cameron Ridley had 11 for Texas, but they were about the only guys wearing burnt orange who seemed to solve the Jayhawks' gritty man-to-man defense.
Freshman guard Isaiah Taylor was held to just five points on 1-for-14 shooting, while Javan Felix was 2 of 9 from the field and finished with six points.
"I talk about our guys not being as tough as we'd like them to be, which we're not, but they are prideful," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Texas whipped us down there the first time. I said all along this game wasn't about the league race as much as it was playing Texas."
The game actually played out in similar fashion to the first meeting, only this time it was Kansas that played flawlessly and Texas that looked like a mess.
After the Longhorns jumped out to an 8-3 lead, they managed just one field goal over an 11-minute stretch as the Jayhawks launched a 32-5 run that put the game away.
"They were really good, obviously, and you got to know after we played as well as we played against them the first time they were going to be ready to play," Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
Wiggins led the way for Kansas, at one point scoring 12 points during a particularly brutal 14-0 spurt. He did it in dazzling fashion, too: There was the soaring fast-break dunk, the back-to-back 3-pointers, and the alley-oop jam off a pass from Wayne Selden Jr. that left the crowd roaring so loudly that the field house floor was shaking.
"When I score early, it brings a lot of confidence to my game, especially when I hit a 3. I get on fire," Wiggins said. "My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball."
By the time Connor Lammert finally hit a 3-pointer with about 5 minutes left in the half, the lead had ballooned to 28-13 and the Longhorns had exhausted nearly all their timeouts.
"It can get away from you quick," Holmes said. "One or two possessions, you can look and you're down by six, eight and then 10 and then the game is over pretty much after that."
Just how bad were the Longhorns in the first half? Try 6 of 29 from the field and 5 of 12 from the foul line, with five turnovers and three assists. They were dominated on the boards, dominated in the paint and, well, dominated just about everywhere else, too.
Taylor, who had 23 points in the first meeting with Kansas, was 0 for 10 from the field as the Jayhawks built a 46-18 halftime advantage. And even when Texas managed to score — as it did out of the break — Kansas often answered with two buckets in return.
It kept going like that throughout the second half as the Jayhawks outscored Texas 26-0 in transition and 38-22 in the paint, allowing them to empty their bench early.
"I think we should give a refund to the fans," Barnes said. "Topeka YMCA probably would have given them a little better game, because we didn't give them a good game at all."