LAWRENCE, Kansas (AP) - Kansas had built such a big lead and was
playing so well, Bill Self had no qualms about using only a few seconds of a
timeout before sending his guys back onto the floor.
Then the coach
caught Thomas Robinson giggling with his teammates while watching as a humorous
clip starring the junior forward played on the video screens.
Even the referees
were smiling as they watched, and Self knew his team had lost its focus.
''I think it's
human nature,'' Self said, ''and we've shown over time that we're not the most
mature team or handle maturity that well.''
They still managed
to handle Texas Tech just fine. Robinson finished with 16 points and eight
rebounds to lead a balanced attack, and the No. 4 Jayhawks emptied their bench
early in an 83-50 victory Saturday night.
added 12 points and six others scored at least nine for the Jayhawks (22-5,
12-2), who built a 44-22 lead by halftime and then cruised over the final 20
minutes as they moved back into a tie with Missouri for first place in the Big
difficult when you're up by a lot more. We had an issue with that today and
with Oklahoma State,'' said Connor Teahan, who had 11
points for the Jayhawks. ''When it comes down to it, you have to respect your
opponent, and I think toward the end we did that.''
Kansas shot 56
percent from the field, including a 9-for-15 clip from beyond the arc, while
forcing 20 turnovers and turning them into 24 points.
Javarez Willis had 17 points to lead the Red
Raiders (8-18, 1-13). Freshman forward Jordan Tolbert added 12 points and Ty Nurse finished with 11. '
'Just a good
performance by Kansas, and a good whipping we took by a very, very good team,''
Red Raiders coach Billy Gillispie said. ''We had a few good moments, we just
made too many mistakes offensively and defensively to be in the game with
Texas Tech still
has not won a Big 12 road game this season, although losing at Allen Fieldhouse
is hardly shameful.
Kansas has won 20
straight in its venerable gym, the sixth-best streak in the nation. The Red
Raiders are winless in 12 tries there.
cruised to an 81-46 victory over Texas Tech when the two teams met Jan. 11 in
Lubbock, their most lopsided Big 12 road win under Self.
They had just as
easy of a time at home. From the moment Elijah Johnson made a scooping reverse
layup in the opening minute, to the back-to-back baskets by Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor that gave the Jayhawks a 14-7 lead just
after the first media timeout, the outcome of the game was never really in
Gillispie may have
sensed it, too. Texas Tech's coach was hit with a technical foul with 12:42
remaining in the half, and Jeff Withey made both free
throws as the lead grew to 19-7.
Reserve guard Naadir Tharpe even got into the
act, burying a 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down to push the lead to 15.
It was all part of
an 18-2 run by the Jayhawks, the only bucket for the Red Raiders over a span of
nearly nine minutes coming from Nurse, who had all of his points in the first
physical team and we just weren't physical enough,'' he said. ''We didn't
pursue the ball hard enough. The person that wants it more is going to get it.
They just played harder.''
The Red Raiders
only made seven field goals in the first stanza, were outrebounded 20-9 by the
bigger, stronger Jayhawks, and failed to score a single second-chance point.
Kansas had built a
30-9 lead by the time Self started to substitute liberally midway through the
first half, trying to build some confidence in his bench for the stretch run.
He often relies on
seven regulars, but eight different players scored in the first half alone.
Just about the only
thing that didn't go right was a power surge that knocked out juice to a couple
of concessions stands and prevented school officials from playing the historic
montage on the big screen during player introductions.
But even that was
resolved in the first half, and the fixture was played prior to the start of
the second half, working the crowd into frenzy.
''That was kind of
a downer to me,'' Self said. ''I look forward to that every time.'' Kansas
struggled early in the second half before finally getting back to speed,
spending the final 20 minutes tuning up for what should be a critical week.
hosts Kansas State on Tuesday, while the Jayhawks travel to Texas A&M on
Wednesday, and then the bitter rivals collide at Allen Fieldhouse next Saturday
in what should ultimately decide the regular-season conference champion. The
Jayhawks have won four straight since falling at Missouri on Feb. 4.
''If you work your
tail off all year long to put yourself in good position, how can you look past
anybody when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel?'' Self said.
''Everybody will talk about that game, but I guarantee we won't even mention it
until Thursday or Wednesday night.''