LAWRENCE — Kansas’ 83-50 victory over Texas Tech is what was supposed to happen when teams on the opposite ends of the league standing collide.
The Jayhawks recorded the easy victory and coach Bill Self was able to rest starters as Kansas approaches a stretch of the schedule that will determine the Big 12 championship race.
The run starts Wednesday at Texas A&M, continues Saturday with Missouri’s visit and on Monday at Oklahoma State.
“It’s a hard schedule, a really hard schedule,” Self said. “Missouri is so important, but the thing about it is winning at A&M is just as important. Winning at Oklahoma State is just as important.”
By then, the Big 12 marathon season will have reached its final stage.
Saturday’s outcome did nothing to alter the perception that fourth-ranked Kansas (22-5 12-2 12) is ready for the challenge.
“It was a good win, we were solid,” Self said. “But it definitely wasn’t anything to get giddy about.”
The Jayhawks broke free early and led by 22 at halftime.
Things got stale for a while. After 10 minutes of the second half, each team had 12 points. It felt like the Oklahoma State game in Lawrence a week ago, when Kansas jumped to a huge halftime lead and spent the second half going through the motions as the Cowboys pecked away.
But this time, Kansas found a reset button. The Jayhawks ran off 14 straight points. Jeff Withey blocked shots on successive possessions, Tyshawk Taylor delivered a lob pass that led to Thomas Robinson’s earth shaking finish, and Allen Fieldhouse got lively again.
One thing for sure, Tech coach Billy Gillispie wasn’t headed back to Lubbock with any timeouts. He drained his allotment of five in the second half, calling them after Red Raiders’ baskets.
But nothing could slow Kansas, even the reserves. Resting starters was a goal for Coach Bill Self.
On a night when minutes played was the most important statistic, no starter played more than 28 minutes. It’s the first time in Big 12 play that all of the starters logged less than 30 minutes.
Self was especially eager to give Taylor rest, and his starting point guard logged 27 minutes with primary backup Naadir Tharpe logging 12 minutes.
Robinson finished 16 points and eight rebounds. The other double figure scoring came from different sources. Travis Releford had 12, Conner Teahan had 11 and made three of five from behind the arc, and Kevin Young added 10 points.
Withey, the team’s hottest player, chipped in nine points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.