LAWRENCE (AP) — Thomas Robinson carried No. 5 Kansas when things looked bleak, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the second half and leading the Jayhawks to a 64-54 win over scrappy Texas A&M on Monday night.
Tyshawn Taylor added 17 points in another solid performance, and Kansas (17-3, 7-0 Big 12) used a big surge through the middle of the second half to wrap up its 10th consecutive victory and extend its winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse to 17 in a row.
Kansas is 18-1 against Texas A&M (11-8, 2-5), the lone loss coming in February 2007. While KU remains the lone unbeaten team in conference play, Texas A&M has lost seven of its last 10 games and is already in danger of playing itself out of the NCAA tournament.
Elston Turner had a career-high 24 points for the Aggies, who played without starting forward Khris Middleton, their second-leading scorer. He missed the game after tweaking his right knee over the weekend, the same one he had surgery on in November.
David Loubeau added 15 points, but the Aggies couldn’t contend with the Jayhawks’ superior size, strength and quickness on the perimeter.
They certainly couldn’t contend with Robinson in the paint.
One of the leading candidates for national player of the year, the junior forward was held to two points in the first half on 1-for-6 shooting, as Texas A&M collapsed two or three defenders on him whenever he got the ball in the post.
He started bulling his way to the basket more effectively in the second half, going to the foul line 10 times — and making all of them. He also finished with 10 rebounds.
The Jayhawks threatened to turn the Big Monday matchup into a big snooze early on.
Taylor picked up right where he left off the past three games, hitting his first basket and then adding a 3-pointer as Kansas raced to an 11-0 lead. Texas A&M turned it over on four of its first five possessions and missed its first four shots along with two free throws.
The teams traded baskets before the Aggies went on a 16-2 run that gobbled up nearly five minutes, gave them the lead and silenced another packed house at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas pulled even at 28 when Jeff Withey converted a three-point play with 3:44 left, but that was the final basket until Dash Harris’ layup at the buzzer gave Texas A&M the halftime lead.
The game remained close until Robinson converted a three-point play with 6:55 left that gave Kansas a 47-42 lead. Robinson added two free throws on the next trip — at that point he’d scored 11 of the Jayhawks’ 13 second-half points — and Elijah Johnson’s jumper made it 51-42.
AP TOP 25
No. 3 Syracuse 60, Cincnannti 53
CINCINNATI — Kris Joseph scored 17 points, and No. 3 Syracuse recovered from its first loss of the season by beating Cincinnati 60-53 on Monday night, giving coach Jim Boeheim a notable career win.
The Orange (21-1, 8-1 Big East) used a late 12-2 run to pull away from the Bearcats (15-6, 5-3), who tried to use the energy of their first home sellout to get a signature win.
Instead, Boeheim came away with career victory No. 877, moving him ahead of Adolph Rupp into sole possession of fourth place on the Division I coaching list.
Syracuse was coming off a 67-58 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday that ended the best start in school history and cost the Orange their No. 1 ranking. Joseph had three driving baskets during the 12-2 run midway through the second half.
Big 12 Conference
No. 5 Kansas 64, Texas A&M
TEXAS A&M (11-8)
Loubeau 7-18 1-1 15, Davis 1-1 0-0 2, Hibbert 1-3 0-2 3, Harris 2-4 0-0 4, E. Turner 7-18 6-8 24, Green 0-0 0-0 0, Alexander 2-3 0-0 6, Kinsley 0-1 0-0 0, R. Turner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 7-11 54.
Robinson 4-10 10-10 18, Withey 2-5 6-7 10, Taylor 6-9 2-4 17, Johnson 1-7 2-2 4, Releford 4-8 0-0 8, Tharpe 0-0 0-0 0, Teahan 2-7 0-0 5, Wesley 0-0 0-0 0, Young 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-47 20-23 64.
Halftime—Texas A&M 30, Kansas 28. Three-point goals—Texas A&M 7-12 (E. Turner 4-8, Alexander 2-2, Hibbert 1-1, Harris 0-1); Kansas 4-20 (Taylor 3-6, Teahan 1-5, Releford 0-3, Johnson 0-6). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Texas A&M 27 (Harris 8), Kansas 30 (Robinson 10). Assists—Texas A&M 12 (Harris 7), Kansas 8 (Releford 4). Total Fouls—Texas A&M 20, Kansas 15. A—16,300.