LUBBOCK, Texas — Bill Self saw an unenergetic No. 6 Kansas team in the first half and he let his players hear about it.
“That’s as miserable as an offensive team can play,” the Jayhawks coach said following their 60-46 win over Texas Tech on Saturday. “We had to decide whether or not we wanted to be here or not.”
Self also noticed that Texas Tech wasn’t guarding Kevin Young very tightly in the first half.
“In the second half he took advantage of that personally,” Self said. “He goes and scores eight straight points or whatever to start the second half off of being aggressive.”
He went on to score 14 points and the Jayhawks got their 13th straight win.
Jeff Withey and Travis Releford added 12 points each. Withey pulled down seven rebounds in the first Big 12 road game for Kansas.
The Jayhawks (14-1, 2-0 Big 12) trailed briefly early on. They started the second half with a 12-0 run and stretched their lead as the game wore on.
Jamal Williams scored 11 points to lead Texas Tech (8-6, 1-2) and Dejan Kravic added nine points and got eight rebounds.
Kansas got the ball inside often and successfully, getting 28 points in the paint. They also took advantage of the Red Raiders’ 16 turnovers, converting them into 17 points.
After shooting just 28 percent in the first half, Kansas more than doubled that, hitting 14 of 23 shots.
Texas Tech coach Chris Walker said the Red Raiders showed themselves they can play top 10 teams and stay close.
“Obviously there are some things we’ve got to continue to work on,” the interim head coach said. “Kansas is a team where you can’t make mistakes. They’ve got a lot of senior leadership and they just take their time and take advantage of every mistake.”
The Jayhawks have a quick turnaround, playing Baylor at home on Monday night.
“I don’t know how you guys feel, but we looked like a tired team,” Self said. “So we need to get our batteries recharged.”
Releford knows the bulls-eye is on the Jayhawks’ backs.
“We know every game coming out is going to be tough because we’re a team that every team wants to beat because of what we’ve done in the past,” the senior said.
Young, who hit just one field goal in the first half, provided the early spark, scoring eight of the Jayhawks’ first 12 points during a span that saw the Red Raiders go completely cold — no points for nearly six minutes.
After the Red Raiders outrebounded Kansas 16-8, Young knew things had to change.
“We just had to stop them from attacking the offensive glass,” he said.
Releford got back-to-back steals during a 12-3 run late in the game. On one, he fed Young for a layup and on the second one he outraced his defender and dunked it to put the Jayhawks up 58-40.
Naadir Tharpe came off the bench in the second half and gave Kansas a lift from behind the arc, making both of his 3-pointers.
Jaye Crockett, averaging 14.8 points to lead the Red Raiders, usually comes off the bench to give Texas Tech a boost. On Saturday, he came in after the first four minutes of the game but did not score in the next 34 minutes. He got a 3-pointer with less two minutes remaining in the game.
The Jayhawks continued their pursuit of a record ninth straight Big 12 title. Kansas has won six outright championships and twice shared the title with Texas, in 2006 and ‘08 — the year the Jayhawks won the national title.
The Red Raiders stayed close in the first half, and if not for 13 turnovers and the number of times they sent the Jayhawks to the line, they might have held the lead at halftime. Kansas hit 16 of 18 free throws off 13 Texas Tech fouls and led 27-25 at the break.
It was the Jayhawks’ lowest first-half scoring total this season, fewer than the 28 they got in a win over Chattanooga early in the season.
Big 12 Conference
At Lubbock, Texas
No. 6 Kansas 60, Texas Tech 46
Releford 4-5 4-4 12, McLemore 2-7 6-8 10, Johnson 2-6 0-0 5, Withey 2-3 8-10 12, Young 7-9 0-2 14, White III 0-1 0-0 0, Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Tharpe 2-5 0-0 6, Traylor 0-2 0-0 0, Ellis 0-3 1-2 1, Wesley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-41 19-26 60.
TEXAS TECH (8-6)
Hannahs 1-4 0-0 3, Williams, Jr. 3-7 4-5 11, Gray 2-7 1-2 6, Kravic 3-8 3-4 9, Tolbert 4-8 0-2 8, Tapsoba 1-1 0-0 2, Gotcher 1-1 0-0 2, Nurse 0-1 0-0 0, Crockett 1-8 0-0 3, Robinson 1-3 0-0 2, Lammert 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-48 8-13 46.
Halftime—Kansas 27, Texas Tech 25. Three-point goals—Kansas 3-10 (Tharpe 2-2, Johnson 1-3, White III 0-1, McLemore 0-4), Texas Tech 4-11 (Gray 1-2, Williams, Jr. 1-2, Hannahs 1-3, Crockett 1-3, Nurse 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Kansas 26 (Withey 7), Texas Tech 28 (Kravic 8). Assists—Kansas 8 (Johnson 4), Texas Tech 11 (Gray 4). Total Fouls—Kansas 13, Texas Tech 19. A—8,534.