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February 1, 2011

KU flexes muscles against Texas Tech

After an emotional and very decisive win over rival Kansas State, No. 2 Kansas (21-1; 6-1) traveled to Lubbock, Tex., to take on Texas Tech (11-12; 3-5). A massive snow storm across the Midwest led to a subdued crowd which witnessed the Jayhawks blowout the Red Raiders from the outset, finishing them off 88-66. Marcus Morris scored 18 points and five players had at least 11 points for KU. Next up is another away game, this time in Lincoln, Neb., to pay a visit to the Huskers.

Bill Self was worried about the energy of his team heading into their trip to Texas to take on the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. His players dispelled any of those worried from the opening tip, led by Marcus Morris's 18 points.

After an emotional win over Kansas State last Saturday in a game that was as much about the return of Thomas Robinson as it was about ESPN's College Game Day hosting their production from Allen Fieldhouse and the Wildcats being in town, the Jayhawks hit the road to take on a team struggling overall but having won three games in a row in conference play.



On top of Tech's recent success, Self has never won in Lubbock as KU's head coach, something his players talked about throughout the week. It became obvious the Jayhawks were going to do everything they could to win this game and win it convincingly.

In the first half, Kansas jumped out early and never looked back. Marcus Morris and brother Markieff Morris controlled the paint with easy buckets around the rim, while Brady Morningstar and Josh Selby knocked down open shots from the perimeter.

In all, five players scored in double digits for the Jayhawks, including 17 from Robinson, 14 from Selby, 12 for Morningstar, and 11 from Markieff Morris to go along with his 12 rebounds.

It was a complete team effort from KU and looks as though it's finally starting to put together complete games.

First shot defense was the key for Kansas in the opening 20 minutes, limited Tech to one shot and out on offense and quickly snatching up rebounds. Offensively, KU was very efficient. For the game, KU shot 51-percent from the field and 40-percent from behind the arc, while Tech hit just 37-percent from the floor and just 6-of-22 from three point range, most of the misses coming late in the second half when the offense became all about the outside shot.

The Jayhawks had a clear advantage in the paint, and although the second half featured a short stint of sloppy execution on offense, they controlled the pace of the game by forcing the ball inside and not allowing Texas Tech to take away their offensive game plan.

The rebound margin tipped in favor of Kansas, 38-31, and dished out 18 assists to just 9 for Tech.

John Roberson scored a game high 24 points to lead all scorers, while one of the Big 12's better offensive players, Mike Singletary had 12 points and 8 rebounds, but struggled against a stifling Kansas defense obviously geared towards slowing Singletary down.

Next up for Kansas is Nebraska in Lincoln, a place where they have owned the Huskers. Just recently, Nebraska nearly defeated KU in Lawrence, putting in perhaps one of the most impressive team defensive performances of any game this season, yet still coming up short.

With uncertain travel plans due to inclement weather, and a team already considered to be somewhat on the tired side, Bill Self will need to keep his player focused for their game on Saturday in what should be a hostile environment, on the road, just two days before an important rivalry match up with Missouri back in Lawrence.


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