Top-seeded Kansas threw the first knockdown punch, jumping out to a quick 15-2 lead to start its quarterfinal game with Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament. The Red Raiders got back up from the initial foray, however, and fought back to within a basket, at 27-25, with just over three minutes to go in the first half. That was as close as the ninth-seeded Red Raiders would come, though, as the Jayhawks took control of the game from there to win easily 91-63 in the second game of the afternoon on Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Sensational Kansas freshman Ben McLemore scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the opening half as the Jayhawks closed out the first half on a 7-0 scoring run to take a nine-point 34-25 margin into intermission. Kansas came storming out of the locker room and began the second half scoring 20 of the first 28 points in the second half to expand its lead to 54-33 with a little over five minutes gone in the second half. Texas Tech would get no closer than 19 points the remainder of the game.
Kansas shot an incredble 60 percent from the field in both halves and a tournament record 66 percent for the game. That breaks the previous record of 63 percent, set by Baylor in 2007. The Jayhawks, who got nine points each from front-court players Kevin Young and Jeff Withe,y outscored the Red Raiders 34-22 in the paint. KU had season-high 12 steals in the game (three by Elijah Johnson) and got 26 points off of Texas Tech turnovers, despite commiting 17 turnovers of their own.
The Jayhawks also held a huge advantage in points from their bench. Head coach Bill Self used 13 players in the game. The Kansas bench scored 39 of the Jayhawke 91 points in the game. Freeshmen Jamari Taylor and Rio Anderson had career highs with seven and 11 points, respectively.
Dejan Kravic had 20 points, two points shy of his career high to lead the Red Raiders. It was his fourth 20-plus point game of the season. Dusty Hannahs added 15 and Jordan Tolbert had 13 as Texas Tech ended its season with a record of 11-20 overall and 3-15 in the Big 12.
The conference co-champions and nine-time defending champions are now 27-5 on the season and will play No. 5-seed Iowa State next in the tournament semifinals on Friday night. Iowa State came from behind to beat Oklahoma 73-66 in its quarterfinal game on Thursday. Kansas won its two games with Iowa State (22-10, 11-7) during the regular season, both in overtime.
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