Tarik Black grinned when asked what he’ll give Andrew Wiggins today on Wiggins’ 19th birthday. By Gary Bedore
Statisticians have a number for everything else, so why not decapitation execution? Translation: Stop the opposing point guard’s dribble before he gets anywhere near the paint. Cut off the head and the body dies. By Tom Keegan
In the first meeting between Kansas and Texas this season, Longhorns guard Isaiah Taylor looked virtually unstoppable and scored 23 points in pretty much any manner he wanted during a 12-point UT victory in Austin, Texas. In the rematch, Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse, the 6-foot-1 freshman from Hayward, Calif., was not as fortunate. By Matt Tait
Kansas freshmen Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Frank Mason talk about playing with pride in the Jayhawks' rematch with Texas.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discusses the Jayhawks' drubbing of UT on Saturday night, praising the team's defense and the overall play of Andrew Wiggins.
By Matt Tait --- email@example.com
After being dominated in Austin earlier this month, the Kansas University basketball team more than redeemed itself on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse, dismantling No. 19 Texas, 85-54, in front of a frenzied home crowd that began filling the building nearly two hours before tip-off in anticipation of the rematch.
The game had all the makings of a great one — until it started — as the Longhorns needed a win to put pressure on Kansas at the top of the Big 12 Conference race and came in knowing they had their way with the Jayhawks in Austin.
However, by the time the first half ended, it was clear that the only thing in question would be the final score and how many highlights the Jayhawks (21-6 overall, 12-2 Big 12) would turn in before it was over.
Andrew Wiggins was responsible for a lot of them, and, after scoring 15 in the first half, finished with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting. In all, six Jayhawks finished with seven or more points, including Frank Mason (14) and Joel Embiid (13).
The victory gives KU a three-game lead over Texas (20-7, 9-5), Iowa State (21-5, 9-5) and Oklahoma (20-7, 9-5) in the Big 12 title race, with four games to play. In other words, it would take a complete collapse to prevent KU from winning its 10th consecutive Big 12 regular season title sometime in the next week or so.
While we wait, here’s a quick look back at some of the action that brought the Jayhawks a step closer to No. 10:
• The game turned when: Kansas responded to an early 8-3 deficit with a 25-2 run that gave the Jayhawks firm control and ignited the Allen Fieldhouse crowd. The run didn't stop there. KU closed the first half on a 43-10 run and led by 28 at the break, but that 25-2 run was the one that really established the way this one was going to go.
• Offensive highlight: It was going to be a highlight no matter where Naadir Tharpe went with the ball, as all four of the other Jayhawks on the floor raced down the court and made their case in transition to why they should be the guy Tharpe threw it to Embiid for a highlight slam. Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis were more than capable options on the far wing, both seemingly looking for a potential alley-oop. Somehow, he passed on all of those options and elected to wait for the charging Embiid, who caught the ball just inside the free throw line and then hammered home a one-handed flush that looked angry when he did it but forced a smile from the big man as he ran back down on defense. The monster dunk put KU up 35-13 with 4:00 left in the first half. A few minutes earlier, when the game was still competitive, Selden tossed a perfect alley-oop to Wiggins, who rose above everyone on the UT back line and flushed it to put KU up 18-10 with 9:32 to play in the first half. Oh, and let's not forget about the pseudo-slam by Tarik Black late in the game, where he rose over Cameron Ridley and threw the ball through the net, sending the KU bench into scramble mode in celebration.
• Defensive highlight: Late in the first half, Embiid, who became the all-time leader among KU freshmen in blocked shots in a single season in this one, picked up two blocks on back-to-back shot attempts. The first came from UT guard Isaiah Taylor, who slipped by his man and went to the rim only to have his floater swatted out of mid-air. Javan Felix scooped up the rejection near the baseline and tried to test Embiid himself seconds later. That, too, was rejected before it reached the rim. Embiid finished the night with 6 blocks, which gives him 68 for the season.
• Key stat: The Jayhawks were insanely good in transition in this one, both offensively and defensively, as they outscored Texas 26-0 in fast-break points.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will jump back into action at 8 p.m. Monday at Allen Fieldhouse, where they will play Oklahoma for the second time this season. KU kicked off its Big 12 schedule with a 90-83 victory at Oklahoma on Jan. 8, when Wayne Selden went off for 24 points and drained 5-of-10 three-point shots.