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Sports

Ellis and No. 1 Kansas Romp Over No. 23 Texas 86-56

Kansas, which spent two weeks at No. 1 in early January, looked every bit the part this time

Bill Self
2 years ago

AUSTIN, Texas — Perry Ellis scored 20 points and top-ranked Kansas rolled over No. 23 Texas 86-56 on Monday night, an emphatic exclamation point that clinched the outright Big 12 championship for the Jayhawks.

Kansas had already earned at least a share of a 12th straight crown and settled the question of whether they would get to claim it as their own in the opening minutes with a barrage of 3-pointers, a steady diet of points from Ellis and defense that gave Texas nothing easy.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) shoots around Texas defenders Connor Lammert, center, and Prince Ibeh, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, in Austin, Texas. Photo: AP/Eric Gay

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) shoots around Texas defenders Connor Lammert, center, and Prince Ibeh, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, in Austin, Texas. Photo: AP/Eric Gay

The Jayhawks (26-4, 14-3) made 11 3-pointers, led by 24 points by halftime and sent Texas’ sellout home crowd headed to the exits early. Ellis finished 9 of 11 from the field.

Frank Mason III added 14 points for Kansas.

Javan Felix scored 13 points for Texas (19-11, 10-7), which has never beaten a No. 1-ranked opponent in nine tries.

Kansas, which spent two weeks at No. 1 in early January, looked every bit the part this time. And in a season the Big 12 finally seemed like it could crown a new champion, the Jayhawks stormed through the second half of the league schedule with a nine-game winning streak to take it again.

Kansas has won nine of its last 10 against Texas, but came into this one expecting a much tougher fight than the Longhorns put up.

With four wins already this season over Top 10 opponents, Texas looked like a team ready to grab another. The Longhorns came in brimming with confidence as the league upstart under first-year coach Shaka Smart. And after its impressive win two days earlier over Oklahoma, Texas turned out its biggest — and rowdiest — crowd of the season.

The Jayhawks greeted it with little more than a shrug and a scoring burst at the start that overwhelmed the Longhorns from the opening tip.

Devonte’ Graham and Mason made three 3-pointers in a 15-0 run as Texas missed its first 14 shots. And Ellis had hardly even gotten started. The senior forward dominated Texas’ front line for 15 points in the first half. His 3-pointer put the Jayhawks up by 21 points with 4 minutes left.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) drives to the basket against Texas center Prince Ibeh (44) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, in Austin, Texas. Photo: AP/Eric Gay

Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham (4) drives to the basket against Texas center Prince Ibeh (44) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, in Austin, Texas. Photo: AP/Eric Gay

Even when Texas started matching shots, that’s all the Longhorns could do. The Jayhawks shot 66 percent in the first half and consecutive 3-pointers by Wayne Selden Jr., and Brannen Greene in the final minutes sent Kansas into halftime with a 47-23 lead.

The Kansas swagger seemed to get bigger with every basket. Ellis weaved his way to another easy layup, Graham swished two more 3-pointers and two thunderous dunks by Jamari Traylor pushed the Jayhawks’ lead to 67-36 with just under 13 minutes to play.

TIP-INS:

Kansas: The Jayhawks rank fourth nationally in 3-point percentage and have made 10 or more 3-pointers 11 times this season.

Texas: The Longhorns’ offense stalled mostly because Isaiah Taylor never got started. The point guard has been the catalyst for Texas all season — he’s their leading scorer — but started 0-for-8 shooting and missed several open looks. Taylor didn’t score until making a steal and a layup with 1:26 left in the first half.

WHAT’S NEXT

Kansas hosts No. 21 Iowa State on Saturday

Texas plays at Oklahoma State on Friday

As the rest of the regular season plays out, the brackets for March Madness will be released Sunday March 13, between 6 and 7 p.m. EST. Play-in games will be held Tuesday March 15, with the actual tournament beginning Thursday March 17. The Championship Game is scheduled for Monday April 4, 2016.

JIM VERTUNO

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