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Kansas powers past Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor couldn't get anything going early for Kansas against Texas A&M.

The Jayhawks were OK though thanks to Elijah Johnson's 18 points in the first half that carried the team until their stars warmed up after halftime.

Johnson scored 21 points and Taylor made key plays down the stretch to help No. 4 Kansas fight off a late run by Texas A&M for a 66-58 victory Wednesday night.

"I needed to score for us tonight," Johnson said. "I was just aggressive and I ended up playing into a role. My points just kept us on top."

Johnson finished two points shy of his career-high and his first half performance helped offset Robinson and Taylor combining for three points in the first 20 minutes.

"He got us off to a good start," Taylor said. "He shot the ball well. We've been waiting for Elijah to come on. It was good for him to get a little bit of confidence going into a big game on Saturday."

That big game is a showdown for the Big 12 lead with No. 3 Missouri, a team that beat the Jayhawks 74-71 in the first meeting Feb. 4.

Kansas (23-5, 13-2) led by as many as 21 points in the second half before a big run by the Aggies got them within striking distance.

"To put them in a position to be able to win the game is beyond belief because we were just making basketball plays experienced guys should never make," Kansas coach Bill Self said.

A 3-pointer by Dash Harris cut the Kansas lead to four points, but Taylor made the first of two free throws to leave Kansas up 61-56 with about a minute remaining.

Johnson added a free throw before Robinson fouled out on a technical he received during a scuffle between players when they were trying to secure a loose ball.

Elston Turner made both free throws to make it 62-58 with 40 seconds left, but Jeff Withey scored four points after that to guarantee the win.

Khris Middleton led Texas A&M (13-14, 4-11) with 23 points.