Saturday, March 12, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Kansas 85, Texas 73
By David Ubben
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas' offense dominated Texas in the first half, hanging 48 points on the board and the Longhorns never got closer than eight points in the second half. Only six Jayhawks scored, but they all put up double figures to help Kansas beat Texas, 85-73 in the Big 12 title game. The Longhorns' defense improved in the second half, but the first-half hole was too much to overcome.
Turning point: Texas creeped to within eight with 8:55 to play after trailing by double digits for most of the game, but Kansas answered with a pair of 3-pointers by Tyshawn Taylor and Tyrel Reed, a Marcus Morris tip slam and a Markieff Morris free throw to stretch the lead to 69-55. Texas wouldn't trim the lead below eight again, thanks to the run.
Key player: Taylor moved into the starting lineup ahead of Elijah Johnson and rewarded head coach Bill Self's confidence in him. Taylor kept the Jayhawks composed and led them in scoring with 20 points and four assists on 7-of-10 shooting. He also played 38 minutes.
Key stat: Kansas' offense looked unstoppable for much of the first half while the Jayhawks rolled to a 15-point halftime lead. KU outscored Texas 22-4 in the paint in the first half with transition buckets and dominant play inside by the Morris twins.
Key stat II: Texas fell to 0-6 all-time in Big 12 Tournament finals with the loss. Kansas improved to 8-1 all-time.
Thompson in trouble: Texas forward Tristan Thompson, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, was strapped to the bench with foul trouble. Shortly after returning to the game with three fouls, he picked up his fourth on an attempted tip slam over a Kansas defender with 12:30 to play.
What’s next: Kansas wins its eighth Big 12 title in the 15-year history of the league and fifth in six years under Self. Kansas improved to 32-2 while Texas fell to 27-7. It's a big win for the Jayhawks, but shouldn't affect seeding in next week's NCAA tournament. Kansas should safely be a No. 1 seed, and Texas will likely be a 2, with both teams likely headed for the Tulsa Regional on the first weekend of the three-week tournament. With an Ohio State loss on Sunday, the Jayhawks could end up the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance.