LAWRENCE, Kan. — With eight seconds remaining in the first half redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore dunked home the exclamation point of an 18-0 Kansas run to close a smothering first half as Kansas never looked back in a 74-48 rout of TCU at Allen Fieldhouse Saturday.
McLemore finished the game with 14 points – one of four Jayhawks in double figures – and two steals in 29 minutes, but his two points at the end of the opening period sent an emphatic message to the Horned Frogs (10-17, 1-13 Big 12), who upset the Jayhawks (23-4, 11-3 Big 12) on the road two weeks ago for their only conference win.
It was also the cherry on top of a half that saw the KU defense hold TCU to just nine points, the fewest points by a KU opponent since holding Cornell to just nine points in the second half on Jan. 2, 1996. The nine points was also the fewest points in a half in a Big 12 game in 15 years.
Senior center Jeff Withey tied for the game high with 18 points while grabbing six rebounds, and deflecting three shots to add to his Kansas career record. Senior guard Travis Releford poured in 12 points on an efficient 4-of-5 shooting and freshman forward Perry Ellis chipped in 12 off the bench – his highest offensive production since scoring 12 against Washington State.
Devonta Abron led TCU with 18 points and nine rebounds. Kyan Anderson’s 11 points made him the only other Horned Frog in double figures.
After having its worst shooting performance of the season in the first half of the game at TCU, Kansas shot 53.1 percent from the floor in Saturday’s opening half while holding the Horned Frogs to just 17.4 percent on 4-of-23 shooting.
The Jayhawks opened the game on an 18-4 run and by the first media break in the first half Kansas had equaled its first half production in the teams’ previous meeting in Fort Worth leading 13-2 with 13:39 to play in the half.
The Jayhawks used a balanced offensive attack to build a 38-9 halftime lead with all five Kansas starters scoring. McLemore lead all first half scorers with 10. Withey added eight and Releford had seven.
No TCU starter scored in the first half as Devonta Abron scored seven points off the bench and Charles Hill Jr. added two.
Kansas did not shoot a free throw in the first half, but hit 17 straight free throws in the second half before freshman guard Andrew White III missed his first attempt from the line with 2:26 to play. The Jayhawks finished the game 18-of-19 from the line.
Following a hot first half, Kansas’ shooting cooled down in the second half with the Jayhawks connecting on just 42.9 percent of their shots to finish the game at 49.1 percent. TCU rebounded from a poor first half by shooting 54.2 percent in the second half and 26.2 percent for the entire contest.
TCU actually outscored Kansas in the second half, but by then the hole was too deep. Kansas emptied its bench in the second half and saw 15 total players log minutes.
Kansas will face the tough task of playing in Hilton Coliseum against Iowa State on ESPN’s Big Monday. The Jayhawks are looking for a season sweep of Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, but to do so, would have to end the nation’s longest home winning streak – a number that hit 22 with Saturday’s win over Texas Tech.
No. 9/9 KANSAS 74, TCU 48
Feb. 23, 2013
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): C Jeff Withey (27/67), G Elijah Johnson (27/73), G Ben McLemore (27/27), F Travis Releford (27/69), F Kevin Young (23/23)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 9-4
· Makes Kansas 23-4 on the season.
· Gives KU 23 wins for the 24th consecutive season and 29th time in the last 30 years.
· Gives KU 11 conference wins for the 19th straight season and 51st time overall
· Makes the KU-TCU series 5-1 in favor of Kansas
· Makes Kansas 14-1 in Allen Fieldhouse this season and 696-108 all-time
· Moves Bill Self to 149-8 in Allen Fieldhouse
· Improves Bill Self to 292-57 while at KU , 499-162 overall and 9-4 all-time against TCU, 2-1 vs. TCU at Kansas
· Makes KU 2,093-810 all-time
· KU scored their 13th point just 5:37 into the game. On Feb. 6 in Ft. Worth, KU finished the first half with 13 points.
· KU opened the game with an 18-4 lead at the 11:36 mark of the half.
· TCU was held scoreless for the final 8:37 of the first half. Kansas outscored TCU 18-0 over that span.
· The nine points that TCU scored in the first half are the lowest vs. KU since Cornell scored nine in the second half on Jan. 2, 1996.
· TCU’s first-half scoring output is the lowest for a Big 12 game in 15 years. It’s the lowest KU has ever allowed in a Big 12 game.
· TCU’s starters were held scoreless in the first half.
· TCU’s four first-half field goals were the fewest by any KU opponent since Florida Gulf Coast made three field goals in the first half of the game on November 18, 2008. The four TCU field goals in the half are the lowest KU has ever allowed in a Big 12 game.
· TCU’s 17.4 percent shooting in the first half is the third lowest by a KU opponent in Big 12 play. It’s the lowest since Oklahoma shot 16.1 percent in the first half on February 20, 1999.
· KU did not shoot any free throws in the first half. The Jayhawks went on to make their next 17 free throw attempts in the second half.
· KU’s 94.7 percent (18-of-19) free throw shooting is their highest percentage of the year.
· Kansas’ 23 points off of turnovers are the most in a Big 12 game this season for the Jayhawks.
· Senior G Elijah Johnson’s two steals gives him 104 for his career which moves him into a tie with Drew Gooden for 28th on KU’s all-time list.
· Senior C Jeff Withey’s seven field goals tied his season high.
· Withey scored in double figures for the 40th time in his career.
· Senior F Kevin Young’s eight rebounds led the team. It is the 50th time Young has tallied more than seven rebounds in a game.