LAWRENCE, Kan. — Thomas Robinson had 15 points and 14 rebounds and helped thwart Kansas State’s second-half rally Wednesday night, leading No. 14 Kansas past the 23rd-ranked Wildcats 67-49.
Trailing by as many as 18 points early, the Wildcats (11-2, 0-1 Big 12) got 3-pointers from Jamar Samuels and Rodney McGruder in a 10-0 run and closed to 39-36. But Conner Teahan’s two 3-pointers triggered a rally by Kansas (11-3, 1-0) that included dunks by Robinson on consecutive possessions.
The Jayhawks went on to their 43rd victory over their state rivals in the last 46 meetings of the 272-game series.
Travis Releford had 16 points and Tyshawn Taylor had 13 as Kansas launched its campaign for an eighth straight Big 12 championship with its 21st straight conference-opening victory.
McGruder had 15 points and Samuels had 12 for Kansas State, which was only 5 for 20 from 3-point range.
The Jayhawks dominated the boards 50-26.
Kansas called time out after the Wildcats closed to 39-36 and 3-point specialist Teahan immediately connected from beyond the arc to make it 42-36, prompting a timeout by Kansas State coach Frank Martin. After McGruder’s basket, Teahen connected for a second 3-pointer.
Martavious Irving went to the line with a chance to slice the lead to five points but missed two free throws. Seven-footer Jeff Withey rebounded for the Jayhawks and slammed home a dunk on the other end.
After Will Spradling’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 47-41, Releford’s 3-pointer and Robinson’s dunk off a pass from Teahan triggered a window-rattling roar from the crowd and put the Jayhawks on top 52-41 with 7:53 to go.
Following a timeout, Robinson dunked again and then soared to the basket for a dunk off Taylor’s missed jumper.
Taylor’s uncontested layup capped the run and gave the Jayhawks a 56-41 lead.
The Jayhawks, fueled by Robinson’s six points off a putback and two medium-range jumpers, went on an 18-4 run in the opening minutes and took a 23-5 lead.
By the time Irving finally scored at the 8:12 mark of the half, the Wildcats had hit only three of 17 shots while Kansas was 10 for 19 and held an 18-6 rebounding edge en route to a 35-20 halftime lead.Robinson, with 10 rebounds and nine points, fell barely short of posting a double-double at halftime in two straight games. His 10 double-doubles lead the Big 12.
The Wildcats’ only nonconference loss was a double-overtime setback to West Virginia on a neutral court.
The Wildcats came in second in the nation averaging 28.8 free throw but were only eight of 16 from the line on Wednesday.
– Associated Press –