LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Top-ranked Kansas often struggles when it plays at Texas Tech.
Three times in the past 11 years, the Red Raiders — all before Tubby Smith came to coach Texas Tech — have beaten Kansas in Lubbock when the Jayhawks were ranked in the Top 10.
On Saturday night, the top-ranked Jawhawks held off the Red Raiders 69-59.
“It’s never a pretty game from my vantage point when we play here,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “But fortunately, we’ve been able to eke out some wins. I think the way Tubby coaches and the way that his team tries, the way they’ve improved, I think that they make it hard to beat them here.”
Frank Mason scored 17 points, and Perry Ellis had 15 in the Jayhawks’ 13th straight victory.
Mason and Ellis each had 10 rebounds.
The Jayhawks (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) built a 10-point lead early in the second half, but let the Red Raiders (11-3, 2-1) back in it with about 10 minutes remaining.
Two 3-pointers by Mason and another by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk gave the Jayhawks a 57-50 lead with about 5 minutes remaining.
Norense Odiase scored two straight baskets to pull the Red Raiders to 58-54, but a 3-pointer by Wayne Selden Jr., a dunk by Ellis, and a basket and two free throws by Devonte’ Graham sealed the win for the Jayhawks. The Jayhawks outrebounded Texas Tech 42-26.
Ellis said his team didn’t have a great shooting night. The Jayhawks made about 42 percent of their shots.
“When that happens, the key is defense,” he said. “And we started getting a lot of stops. And that’s what got us over the hump.”
Odiase scored all his 14 points in the second half for the Red Raiders.
Wayne Selden’s 3-pointer late in the game came right as the shot clock expired and seemed to take the wind out of the Red Raiders.
Kansas got the ball inside more to start the second half, getting 10 points in the paint in the first 5 minutes to take a 39-29 lead.
But Texas Tech kept close off back-to-back field goals — a 3 and a 2-point basket — by Toddrick Gotcher. His field goal started a 9-0 run, during a more than 4-minute drought by the Jayhawks, that tied it at 44 with 10:21 remaining.
Smith said several things were the Red Raiders’ undoing.
“A lot of things did us in tonight,” he said. “We didn’t rebound the ball. We didn’t defend in the second half like we should. And you put that together with free throw shooting, that’s a remedy for a loss.”
Both teams got the ball inside, each getting 26 points in the paint but the Red Raiders, despite being outrebounded, had 11 second-chance points to seven for Kansas.
The Red Raiders got only 11 points off of the Jayhawks’ 15 turnovers.
Ellis was 7 of 16 from the field, one of those a 3-pointer.
The Jayhawks’ 69 points were a season low and about 20 points shy of their season average.
Kansas led 29-27 at halftime. Both teams shot poorly from the field. The Red Raiders were cold from the free throw line, going 7 of 14. The Jayhawks made seven of their eight attempts.
Smith faced Kansas five times when he coached Kentucky, winning twice. Two of those meetings came in the NCAA Tournament: the second round in both 1999 and 2007.
Kansas leads the series with Texas Tech 30-4 and has won 13 straight.
Kansas: The Jayhawks’ only loss came to Michigan State.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders won 10 games in a row, including winning all eight games of a recent homestand. ... Texas Tech beat Kansas in Lubbock in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Kansas: at West Virginia on Tuesday night.
Texas Tech: at Kansas State on Tuesday night.