• Key play: Jeff Withey had a three-point play with 54 seconds left, igniting a five-point run that cut Texas’ halftime lead to 28-26.
• Key stat: Elijah Johnson was zero for seven as KU shot 28 percent (seven for 25) from the floor.
• Key play: Johnson found Ben McLemore on an alley-oop that gave KU a 54-53 lead, its first in nearly 14 minutes.
• Key stat: KU outscored Texas 17-6 over the last 5:53.
Johnson preferred not to talk about his shooting woes on Saturday.
“It’s irrelevant,” Johnson said.
But when asked about Withey’s impact on the game, Johnson was able to confront his nightmarish day from the field. Johnson scored six points on just one-of-11 shooting, accounting for nearly a third of the Jayhawks’ 31 missed field goals.
“I took 11 layups tonight,” Johnson said. “I didn’t make nothing but one.”
Johnson’s off night came against a Texas defense that ranks among the nation’s best at making teams miss. But after 17 games, Johnson has yet to be the offensive weapon he was during KU’s run to the Final Four last season. He is shooting just 40.5 percent overall and 34.7 percent from three-point range.
“It wasn’t close,” KU coach Bill Self said. “The ball didn’t have much of a chance to go in. It was one of those nights for him. Elijah has played pretty well. He just hasn’t made shots like he did at the end of last year. And certainly, that will help us when he starts doing it.”
• Kansas nearly buried itself with an awful stretch of play in the opening minutes of the second half. After trailing 28-26 at halftime, KU committed five turnovers in a 5-minute stretch as Texas took a 42-31 lead.
“That was as bad as you could start a second half,” Self said.
• In the past, Self has often employed four-guard lineups in late-game situations or when KU needs an extra free-throw shooter on the floor. But on Saturday, with KU’s offense struggling mightily, Self went to the lineup looking for more flow in a choppy game. Self subbed reserve Naadir Tharpe for power forward Kevin Young, and starter Travis Releford guarded Texas’ power-forward spot.
“It was a muddy track all day,” Self said. “There was no rhythm, so I just thought: We might as well try it.”
• KU now leads the all-time series with Texas 21-7.
| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org