Cold-shooting Texas routed by No. 14 Kansas 73-47
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Trailing by 34 points with mere minutes left in the second half, Texas guard Myck Kabongo refused to retreat to the bench.
Whether it was the thrill of playing his second game after a 23-game suspension, or a last shot at redemption during a poor shooting night, Kabongo and the Longhorns refused to quit even with the game far out of reach.
Kabongo missed his first seven shots before finishing with 13 points, playing all but two minutes in the Longhorns' 73-47 loss to No. 14 Kansas on Saturday night.
"I'll let him play as long as he wants to play," said Texas coach Rick Barnes, whose team is in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in 15 years. "If you would have seen timeouts and huddles and seen them talking, it makes you proud. We're not going to quit."
The Longhorns (11-14, 3-9 Big 12), who were second nationally in field-goal percentage defense, went toe-to-toe with the only team better — and shot just 19 percent in the first half.
It didn't get much better after the break.
Texas finished the game shooting 21.8 percent from the field, and a dismal 2 of 21 from beyond the arc. The Longhorns made 21 free throws, nearly double their number of field goals.
"It really came down to execution and they were better," said Texas forward Ioannis Papapetrou.
Jeff Withey had 15 points and 11 rebounds while becoming the Big 12's career blocked shots leader. Elijah Johnson finished with 12 points for the Jayhawks (21-4, 9-3 Big 12), Travis Releford added 15 and Ben McLemore had 13, including a 360 jam in the closing minutes that capped off quite a show for more than a dozen former players in attendance.
Among them was Mario Chalmers, whose buzzer-beating 3-pointer forced overtime in the 2008 national title game won by Kansas. The Miami Heat guard was honored at halftime by having his No. 15 raised to the rafters, where it joined names such as Wilt Chamberlain and Paul Pierce.
Perhaps one day, Withey's name will reside there.
The senior center had his 265th block early in the second half to move past former Texas star Chris Mihm for the most in league history. The reigning Big 12 defensive player of the year even had four steals while making life miserable for the young, undersized Longhorns.
"It means something to me. I put a lot of hard work in it," Withey said, "but I have a lot more games to play. Hopefully I can put some distance between it."
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