Gradey Dick poured in 21 points and Dajuan Harris added 17 as No. 9 Kansas never trailed in an 88-80 win over No. 5 Texas on Monday in a key Big 12 Conference dustup in Lawrence, Kan.
The Jayhawks (19-5, 7-4 Big 12) withstood constant pressure from Texas over the final 12 minutes of the game. Kansas led by seven points at the half before the Longhorns rallied to within 49-48 with 14:36 to play. But that’s as close as Texas would get as the Jayhawks stretched their lead to 13 points after two free throws by Dick with 3:54 remaining.
A three-point play by Marcus Carr with 23.5 seconds left cut the deficit to six points and gave the Longhorns a final glimmer of hope that soon was squashed by another free throw by Dick.
Kevin McCullar added 16 points for the Jayhawks, with Joseph Yesufu scoring 14 and KJ Adams Jr. hitting for 10. Kansas’ Jalen Wilson, the Big 12’s leading scorer, had just two points while shackled with foul trouble and poor shooting.
Carr led all scorers with 29 points, 22 of them in the second half, while Timmy Allen had 18 and Sir’Jabari Rice tallied 12 for the Longhorns (19-5, 8-3).
The Jayhawks burst away from a 12-12 tie 5 1/2 minutes into the first half with a 13-2 run capped by a layup by Wilson, his only points of the game, with 9:54 to play before the break. Kansas would eventually push its advantage to 30-16 after Dick’s step-back 3-pointer at the 8:54 mark before Texas started to climb back into the contest.
The Longhorns cut their deficit to eight points on Allen’s jumper with 6:15 to play but Kansas answered to expand the lead back to double digits on McCullar’s free throw with 5:22 left.
The Jayhawks were up by 12 with 2:20 remaining before Texas reeled off the final five points of the half to pull within 42-35 at the break. Dick paced the Jayhawks with 11 points before halftime with Allen scoring 10 to lead Texas.
The Longhorns tied the game at 43-43 and had three possessions to take the lead but failed. Kansas then forged a 9-2 run to expand its lead to 58-50 after a layup by Harris with 12:15 to play. –Field Level Media