Update #10: Final, Texas A&M; wins 69-66
Sasha Kaun missed the front end of a one-and-one out of the break, and Acie Law hit another clutch jumper off the glass to make it a four-point game, giving him 15 points and seven assists on the night.
Chalmers missed an arc of a three, but Antanas Kavilauskas was called for his fourth foul with 2:53 left while Russell Robinson was going for the board. Robinson hit both free throws in the bonus, and Collins checked right back into the game after the second one went down.
KU was able to force Kavilauskas into a bad turnover in traffic almost immediately, but KU returned the favor with the clock right at two minutes, KU leading 64-58.
Acie Law wound up putting in a tough, leaning two while getting fouled with 1:38 to go. The free throw made it a 64-61 game with KU still holding the lead.
After a timeout, Texas A&M; had a great strategy of fouling Sasha Kaun to put him on the line where, true to form, he struggled and missed his first attempt, giving the ball back to A&M.; Jones missed a three, but Kavilauskas canned the put back while being fouled, pulling A&M; within one point with exactly one minute left. The bucket was also the first second-chance field goal A&M; has hit yet. Kavilauskas hit the free throw to tie it at 64-64.
Julian Wright took a back door pass from Russell Robinson to give himself a double-double at 11 points and 10 rebounds, leading A&M; to call a timeout with :44.3 left.
Acie Law had the ball poked from his grasp by Brandon Rush and out of bounds. The ball stayed with A&M;, and Law hit a three to put the Aggies up 67-66 with :23.9 to go. KU called a timeout with :20.5 to go. Law now has a game-high 21 points.
Chalmers missed a floater with :05.2 to go, and a Pompey rebound resulted in an outlet pass to Acie Law, who was fouled immediately.
Law hit the free throws to put A&M; up 69-66 and a Mario Chalmers three missed off just the glass. Law finished with 23 points and seven assists, and gave Texas A&M; sole possession of first place in the Big 12 at 7-1, 19-3 overall. KU is now 19-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play. The Jayhawks will be back in Allen Fieldhouse Wednesday to take on Kansas State at 7 p.m.
Update #9: 3:52, second half, KU leads 62-56
Josh Carter tried to take another huge chunk out of the deficit, but missed a three from the corner, and Sherron Collins came right back with yet another three, giving him 18 points on the night. Jones tried to answer with a three of his own, but clanked it away.
Sasha Kaun then scored his first points of the night on a turnaround off the glass, quickly making it a 10-point game with 6:27 left to play.
Donald Sloan scored his first points of the second half, slashing down the right side of the defense for two off the glass, and then KU turned it right back over, only to see Texas A&M; miss another long shot. And again, A&M; had no shot at an offensive board, as KU is winning the rebounding battle, 37-21.
Mario Chalmers missed a two off the glass, as both teams are shooting a paltry 44 percent from the floor to this point. Joseph Jones came back to hit a mid-range jumper, keeping the Jayhawks within range, trailing 62-56.
KU let the ball slip away on its next possession out of another called timeout, giving the Aggies a chance to cut a little closer. Dominique Kirk missed a two, and Acie Law missed a runner on the rebound, but the ball went out of bounds, keeping the ball with the Aggies. Carter missed a two, keeping it an empty possession for A&M.;
Update #8: 5:37, second half, KU leads 57-52
Acie Law hit one of two free throws out of the break, and a Darnell Jackson dunk on the other end slipping behind the A&M; defense one-upped it, putting KU up by nine again. Texas A&M; was again blanketed defensively and forced into a bad shot, but Brandon Rush's step-back three attempt aired at the midway point of the second half.
Darnell Jackson came down to throw a Kavilauskas shot, and sprinting to the other end, after a Sherron Collins miss, he flipped the ball at full speed off of a Texas A&M; player to keep the ball in KU's possession. Russell Robinson then hit a two to make it a double-digit lead at 57-46.
Acie Law missed a three, and on the other end, Joseph Jones was called for his fourth foul after pushing Sasha Kaun from behind at the 9:14 mark. Darrell Arthur slipped and fell over, giving the ball back to A&M;, and Jones came right down to hit a three at the top of the key, pulling the Aggies back within eight points.
A&M; called a quick timeout after the hoop to get Jones out of the game.
Jones and Kavilauskas, though, came right back into the game at the 8:29 game after a KU turnover. Josh Carter quickly proceeded to roll in his third three of the game, this one from the corner. That made it again a five-point game, with KU leading 57-52.
KU called a quick 30-second timeout, and Brandon Rush missed a mid-range jumper immediately afterwards, giving A&M; the ball again with some momentum. Sherron Collins was whistled for a foul, bringing the game to a break at the 7:36 mark.
Update #7: 11:37, second half, KU leads 53-45
Acie Law again made it a five-point game, but KU's lead ballooned right back up as Brandon Rush was goaltended after slashing down the heart of the A&M; defense towards the rim. A missed Aggie three-pointer then turned into a Russell Robinson long offensive rebound. On the other end, Darrell Arthur scored on a third-chance bank from up close, putting the Jayhawks up by nine.
Josh Carter quickly sliced into the game's biggest point spread with his second three of the game, and Sasha Kaun was then blocked on the other end, only to have Texas A&M; put the ball right back into KU's possession.
Sherron Collins didn't score right away, but did something just as valuable for KU - drew the third foul of the game on Kavilauskas. Collins hit both free throws to put KU up 48-40, as A&M;'s three leading scorers now each have three fouls.
Dominique Kirk came right back to hit his second three of the half, as A&M; continues to linger, down just five. Darrell Arthur was blocked on the other end by Kavilauskas, but Texas A&M; again couldn't capitalize on consecutive possessions, this time thanks to a three-second call against Joseph Jones.
Sherron Collins again made them pay, hitting a driving layup across the lane, giving him a game-high 12 points. Kirk answered yet again for A&M;, with a slashing two on the baseline.
Collins' big night kept going, as he hit a three at the top of the key, but he was called for a foul on the defensive end, bringing the game to a halt at the 11:37 mark.
Update #6: 15:53, second half, KU leads 42-35
Brandon Rush was again aggressive on KU's first possession out of the half, and got to the line to hit one of two free throws. After KU took the ball back, he missed a running bank shot, followed by a Sasha Kaun missed dunk and another missed Rush jumper, finally sending the ball into A&M;'s possession.
Joseph Jones missed inside, and Russell Robinson came right back with his second field goal of the game, putting KU up 38-30, finally giving the Jayhawks a little bit of breathing room.
Acie Law missed a runner down the lane, which turned into a blown offensive opportunity for KU. On the flip side, Dominique Kirk hit a three for A&M;'s first field goal of the second half. Julian Wright came back with a free-throw line jumper, giving him nine points. Acie Law answered back with two of his own, making him the first player for either side to get into double digits in the scoring column.
Rush followed it up by missing again from close range, but A&M; handed it right back with an Antanas Kavilauskas traveling call.
Mario Chalmers scored for the first time in awhile with a floater in the lane after Russell Robinson nearly lost the ball off of his foot, putting KU up by seven at 42-35. KU was called for a travel as Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers collided on an offensive rebound, sending the second half into its first break.
Update #5: Halftime, KU leads 35-30
Sherron Collins made a highlight reel-worthy layup on a beautiful feed from Julian Wright out of the timeout, as he windmilled it in traffic from the left wing off the glass, and then KU forced a turnover as the clock wound under three minutes.
KU, though, gave the ball right back in a loose ball scramble on the outside.
After a heated trip, though, when Russell Robinson tried to draw an offensive foul from Acie Law that went uncalled, Bill Self was called for a technical foul, and Josh Carter hit two free throws to pull Texas A&M; within one point. Dominique Kirk then missed a jumper which went out of bounds, but the ball stayed in the Aggies' possession. Though a five-second call was whistled while A&M; was trying to inbound the ball with 2:06 to go.
Julian Wright drove hard against Marlon Pompey and got his first crack at the free throw line of the first half. He hit one of two, putting KU up 30-28.
Acie Law tied the game by flying to the rack down the right side away from a set up double screen. Law has a game-high eight points. Law eluded Wright on the layup, but Wright came right back down and hit two free throws, keeping the edge in KU's favor.
KU forced an easy turnover quickly, and after Julian Wright missed a turnaround jumper on the left side, Darnell Jackson was fouled going for an inside putback. Jackson hit one of two, but Brandon Rush snagged the offensive rebound with KU up 33-30.
KU called a quick timeout, and Sherron Collins again provided quick offense after it, scoring his seventh and eighth points of the game on a slashing layin. KU forced a turnover to take the ball for the half's last shot. Brandon Rush slammed a three-point attempt between the rim and the glass, keeping it a 35-30 game at the half. Sherron Collins and Acie Law have eight points apiece for the Jayhawks and Aggies, respectively. Brandon Rush has seven for KU.
Update #4: 3:20, first half, KU leads 27-26
Joseph Jones continued his noisy re-entry into the game, htiting a deep three, only to be answered by Darrell Arthur's first points coming in the form of a 15-foot jumper, tying the game, 20-20.
Kavilauskas took himself into the paint in response, and got himself to the free-throw line. He made one of two to put A&M; back on top. Acie Law extended it when A&M; got the ball back, pulling back for a smooth 18-foot jumper with the shot clock dwindling in Sherron Collins' face, putting the Aggies up by three.
Brandon Rush scored his first basket of the game on a third-chance bucket inside as the game cracked under the six-minute mark in the first half, and Kavilauskas came back down hard again in the paint, once again getting to the free throw line. He hit one of two before getting back on the bench with two fouls.
Rush then got to the free throw line for KU's third trip there on the evening. He hit both of his, tying the game, 24-24. KU put some defensive pressure on when A&M; brought the ball back up court, and Mario Chalmers forced a turnover and then got to the line for KU's first bonus trip. He missed the front end of the one-and-one, though, making it moot.
Moments later Texas A&M; took advantage of the bonus, and Donald Sloan hit both of his, putting A&M; back on top. Brandon Rush came right back to use a screen atop the key to hit his first three of the game, giving him a team-high seven points and KU a one-point lead. Bryan Davis was forced into a shot-clock violation on the other end, bringing the game to its final standstill before halftime.
Update #3: 7:33, first half, KU leads 18-17
A&M; missed two shots badly off of the side of the glass after another break in the action, giving the ball back to KU. The Jayhawks tried to get fancy, and a Russel Robinson-to-Darnell Jackson lob attempt failed, turning the ball back over.
Jackson was then whistled for a foul away from the ball under the hoop, as fouls are piling up, and A&M;'s Joseph Jones went right back after him on the inbounds, keeping the ball in the Aggies' possession after it flipped out of bounds. The Aggies came away empty-handed, as Kavilauskas missed another three.
Kavilauskas blocked Wright's spinning jumper on the other end of the floor, sending it out of bounds with the shot clock at 14 seconds. But on the inbounds pass, Russell Robinson hit a long two on the wing to give KU back the lead at 13-11.
After A&M; again had trouble setting up on offense, Sherron Collins came down to get himself to the free throw line for the first time on the night. He made one of two, giving KU a three-point lead. Acie Law came right back down with a floater on the left side. Julian Wright's response was a mid-range jumper, keeping the lead at three.
Bryan Davis had a spinning deuce on the offensive for Texas A&M;, and Darnell Jackson came hard right back down on the other end to get himself to the free throw line. Jackson hit both free throws, keeping KU's lead at three, 18-15.
After the second free throw, A&M; coach Billy Gillespie re-entered Joseph Jones into the game with two fouls, making him and Kavilauskas play with eight minutes to go in the half with two fouls apiece. Jones immediately hit a mid-range jumper, and a Darrell Arthur travel call put the game at another stop at the 7:33 mark.
Update #2: 11:46, first half, game tied 11-11
Out of the timeout, Sasha Kaun lost the ball in the paint in a scrum, and he got back down on the floor to force a tie-up, giving the ball back to KU. Dominique Kirk came back down to make himself open in the paint for an easy layup, giving A&M; a three-point lead on a sweet feed from Acie Law.
A KU turnover gave the ball back to the Aggies, but the opportunity was squandered. After KU turned it right back over, Acie Law called a desperate timeout while falling out of bounds.
After the brief break, both teams blew opportunities on offense, and then Kavilauskas missed his first three-point attempt for the Aggies. Sherron Collins came back and hit his first trey of the game to tie it up, 11-11.
Kavilauskas' answer was a fading bank shot in the paint while being fouled. The basket was waived off, though, as the teams headed to a timeout at the 11:46 mark.
Update #1: 13:52, first half, Texas A&M; leads 9-8
Dominique Kirk missed a three long off the back iron after Texas A&M; won the opening tip, and a tip out of bounds gave the ball to KU. And after KU couldn't score on its first possession, the Jayhawks got the game's first points on a Mario Chalmers layin on the second go-around.
Texas A&M;'s Josh Carter came back with a three-pointer, having entered the game as a 51-percent shooter from deep.
A couple of blown possession on each side put the ball in A&M;'s hands with 17:30 to go, but the Aggies were called for an offensive foul, with offense still coming at a premium. Chalmers scored again for KU to put the Jayhawks up 4-3, as he's responsible for KU's first two field goals. He was called for a foul against Acie Law, though, on the other end. After the Aggies couldn't score on the second opportunity, Sasha Kaun was called for a charge in the paint on the other end.
KU squelched a golden opportunity to extend its lead when Brandon Rush double-clutched a layup attempt and lost it off the iron in the open court. But after the Jayhawks forced a steal, Julian Wright threw down a two-handed dunk to put KU up 6-3. Antanas Kavilauskas came back with a layup, and an Acie Law short-range jumper put A&M; up 7-6.
Mario Chalmers scored his fifth and sixth points on a layup after Darrell Arthur corralled an offensive board off of a Julian Wright missed jumper. Bryan Davis put in a jumper off the glass for A&M;, putting the Aggies up 9-8 with 13:52 to go in the half.
As if tonight's showdown between No. 6 Texas A&M; and No. 8 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse didn't have enough build-up, what with ESPN Gameday on hand, T-shirts on every seat and the raucous atmosphere and all, six Top-25 teams having already lost today adds that much more.
Two of those six ranked teams to slip on a thrilling Saturday afternoon are from the Big 12 - No. 23 Texas falling to Kansas State down in Austin, 73-72, and Colorado pulling off a huge home upset in the form of an 89-77 win over No. 12 Oklahoma State. The game tonight in Lawrence guarantees that a third ranked Big 12 team will join them.
The Jayhawks enter tonight as slight favorites, and a good portion of that comes from a homecourt advantage. On paper, the two teams are pretty similar, and both can defend with the best of them, presenting the likelihood of a low-scoring contest.
Just as was the case two years ago when the Aggies came to town, in which they fell just short, 65-60, senior guard Acie Law IV and junior forward Joseph Jones will be their top one-two punch. Law averages 16.4 points and 5.0 assists per game, and Jones, who had 16 points and seven rebounds in Allen Fieldhouse as a freshman, is posting 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. The Aggies, 18-3 overall, are 6-1 in the conference and tied at the top with KU, who aside from being 6-1 in Big 12 play is 19-3 overall. The winner tonight will have sole possession of first place in the Big 12.