Junior guard Naadir Tharpe returned to the starting lineup. He finished with eight points and nine assists, cutting into freshman Frank Mason’s minutes.
Mason played just 6 minutes. The Jayhawks have struggled against zones, and Kansas coach Bill Self said Mason is still learning how to guide an offense against a zone.
“They played zone, and Frank hasn’t shot the ball well yet,” Self said. “So I thought we’d be better off with playing Brannen (Greene) or (Andrew Wiggins) or Wayne (Selden) on the wing and giving the ball to Naadir and let him run the point the majority of the time.”
• Kansas won its ninth straight at the Sprint Center after notching a perfect 8-0 record in the building last season. The last loss came against Davidson in December 2011. The announced attendance was 18,493.
“It definitely felt like a home court,” freshman guard Wayne Selden said. “And we were saying one thing: It felt like the United Center (in Chicago) when we were playing Duke. And the home support was great, definitely.”
• Sophomore wing Andrew White III didn’t play Saturday because of a “hip pointer” injury suffered in practice Thursday. White took an elbow to the hip area, and Self hopes he can return to practice this week.
• Former Kansas guard Travis Releford, a Kansas City native, was in attendance. Releford, who is playing professionally in Belgium, is in town to promote his new book “Relentless.”First half
With the game tied at 34-34, Andrew Wiggins grabbed an offensive rebound and finished a layup with 1:16 left in the half.
KU’s Joel Embiid picked up two early fouls.Second half
In KU’s run to start the second half, Embiid pulled off a move that could only be described as Hakeem Olajuwon’s famous “Dream Shake.”
•Key stat: KU outscored New Mexico 38-24 in the paint.