LAWRENCE, Kan. — Oklahoma faced a daunting challenge Wednesday night at historic Allen Fieldhouse.
In addition to the Jayhawks losing only four conference home basketball games in coach Bill Self's nine seasons, it's been six years since Kansas has lost back-to-back games.
KU's remarkable streak was never in jeopardy. Similar to the first meeting a month ago in Norman, No. 8 Kansas took control early in the second half to coast to an 84-62 win.
“Our offense created offense for them,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “That's something you can't afford to do, especially on the road. We were careless with the ball, which led to transition points for them going the other way.”
Coming off their first league loss, 72-64 at Iowa State on Saturday, the Jayhawks have gone 226 games without consecutive losses, by far the longest streak in the country. Duke is next at 110.
KU's streak remains intact because the Jayhawks' rotation players shot a sizzling 78 percent the second half (18-of-23) vs. the Sooners before reserves played the final four minutes.
“We got a lot of layups the second half,” Self said. “Our guards did a good job attacking the rim. And we had some broken floor plays. It wasn't always the result of good offense but the result of having numbers. But we are a better team when we play inside-out. The first half we were so stale.”
Similar to the first meeting in Norman, the Sooners hung with the Jayhawks for one half. But similar to the first meeting, Kansas took control early in the second half.
“Kansas was great execution-wise, but I thought we hit a wall a little bit emotionally and fatigue-wise,” Kruger said. “We have to fight that off. But Kansas is awfully good. They got a lot of transition opportunities.”
In the first meeting a month ago, the Sooners led 34-33 at halftime. Kansas answered with a 29-6 run to start second half to coast to a 72-61 win.
In the rematch, the Sooners clawed to within 34-31 at halftime. Kansas answered with a 25-8 run to start the second half to lead by 20 points.
“They're a terrific ballclub, but you can't give them that opportunity to get up and get going like we did,” Kruger said. “It gave them life, gave them energy. They're going downhill from that point.”
Kansas, 18-4 overall, 8-1 in league play at the midway point, doesn't have its customary depth. But the Jayhawks possibly have the best player in the country. Thomas Robinson, a double-double machine, is a matchup nightmare.
“He's an All-American candidate for a reason,” said OU forward Romero Osby. “He's big and strong and does a good job positioning himself down low, shielding people off with his shoulders. He's a great player.”
One of the top candidates for National Player of the Year, Robinson scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds a day after Self had a talk with his star power forward.
“It was good to see Thomas was so positive and into it,” Self said. “He's had so much going on with his life personally with the anniversary (of his mother's death) ... Thomas hasn't been himself for three games but he was tonight.”