No one ever said it was going to be easy. Yes, the Kansas basketball program has the pedigree, but Texas had the hunger — and the home court advantage. However, when all was said and done, the Jayhawks, despite a massive deficit early on, walked off the court victorious, 64-59.
The win was the team’s 15th in a row, but Saturday’s trip to Austin was no cakewalk.
The last time coach Bill Self’s squad lost was on Nov. 13 against Michigan State, but this one looked destined for the same result until late in the game. The Longhorns went into the locker room at halftime leading 28-26, and only built upon that lead after the break. With 15:22 remaining in the game, Texas had run the score to 42-31. It was nearly the largest deficit the now 16-1 Jayhawks had faced all season.
That was when freshman superstar Ben McLemore decided it was just about time to absolutely take over. McLemore had sustained a minor ankle injury on Monday’s win over Baylor, and he only took three shots in the entire first half. However, the 6-foot-5 diaper dandy would finish the afternoon 6-of-10 from the field for 16 points with six boards.
He got a helping hand from Kansas big man Jeff Whithey, who filled up the state sheet with 14 points, 9 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Saturday’s game proved more of the same for not only Kansas, but for the Longhorns as well. The team continues its massively disappointing season having suffered its fourth straight loss. This streak marks the program’s longest string of losses since coach Rick Barnes’ first season in Austin in 1998-99.
Even worse, the game was more of the same for Texas fans as well. After watching Barnes’ squad blow a late, eight-point lead against UCLA and a 13-point lead over West Virginia, once again their team was beaten upon the sounding of the final buzzer.