LAWRENCE, Kan. — Freshman guard Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points Saturday to help No. 8 Kansas avenge its first Big 12 defeat as the Jayhawks drilled Texas 85-54 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas (21-6) gained a three-game lead in the conference chase by improving to 12-2 in the Big 12. The Jayhawks can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 championship, their 10th straight, with a home win Monday against Oklahoma.
The loss was the third in five games for No. 19 Texas (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) following a seven-game winning streak. The defeats, all on the road, have been lopsided: by 17 points to Kansas State, nine points to Iowa State and 31 points to Kansas.
Wiggins was sensational Saturday, leading an 18-0 tear in the first half that enabled the Jayhawks to take command. The 6-foot-8 wing was limited to seven points in the first matchup at Texas on Feb. 1.
After getting outrebounded in that meeting, the Jayhawks established a 39-37 advantage on the boards in the rematch behind freshman center Joel Embiid, who recorded 13 points, seven rebounds and six blocks. Freshman guard Frank Mason came off the bench to add 14 points.
The winning margin exceeded the Jayhawks’ previous best, a 30-point home win against TCU a week earlier.
Kansas entered with the best field goal percentage (.503) in the nation and exceeded that by shooting 51.7 percent (31 of 60).
Kansas recorded 19 assists against a season-low seven turnovers.
Forward Jonathan Holmes led Texas with 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Center Cameron Ridley was the only other Longhorn in double figures, scoring 11. Forward Prince Ibeh led Texas with eight rebounds but fouled out after playing just 16 minutes. The Longhorns shot 34.4 percent (21 of 61).
Texas was attempting to pull off a rare series sweep of Kansas in Big 12 play, a feat that had not been achieved against the Jayhawks since a 2001 title run by Iowa State.
The Longhorns dominated the Jayhawks in the first meeting, an 81-69 win at Texas that came after a 7-0 conference start by Kansas.
The Jayhawks sought revenge immediately Saturday.
They closed the first half with a 36-10 flurry, including a string of 18 unanswered points, and enjoyed a 46-18 bulge at halftime.
Earlier in the week, Kansas coach Bill Self remarked that his team had to improve defensively to make a strong postseason push. The Jayhawks then came out and held the Longhorns to 20.7 percent shooting in the first half, including a scoreless stretch of eight-plus minutes.
Embiid led the defensive surge with five blocks and also posted nine points and six rebounds. Offensively, Wiggins paced the breakaway, scoring all 15 of his first-half points in the first 12 minutes. Guard Frank Mason came off the bench and added nine points on 4-for-4 shooting as the Jayhawks shot 63 percent in the half.
Holmes led Texas with eight points, though six came in the opening three minutes.
NOTES: A third clash between Kansas and Texas is not out of the question. The two programs have met in four of the last seven championship games in the Big 12 tournament. The Jayhawks claimed all four matchups. … Texas and Oklahoma State have handed Bill Self the most defeats (eight) among Big 12 teams during the Kansas coach’s career. … In his 11th season at Kansas, Self has never been swept in a Big 12 season series and will not be this season. The Jayhawks close with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and West Virginia, teams they already have beaten once each. … Texas was bidding for 10 wins in Big 12 play for the 11th time in Rick Barnes’ 16 seasons as coach. … The Longhorns entered the game 5-3 against Top 25 opponents, including a four-game string of wins against Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor and Kansas. Earlier in the season, Kansas became the first team since 1996-97 (North Carolina) to beat four Top 25 opponents in as many games.
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