No. 5/5 Kansas Suffers Rare Shooting Night, Upset at TCU, 62-55
Feb. 6, 2013
FORT WORTH, Texas — A first-half shooting performance never before seen by a Kansas team in the Big 12 era was more than the Jayhawks could overcome as they fell to TCU, 62-55, in the team’s first trip to Fort Worth as members of the Big 12, Wednesday night inside Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
Squaring off for the first time since 2004, Kansas (19-3, 7-2) ran into a first-half funk of the worst kind at TCU (10-12, 1-8). As TCU hosted its first sellout in nearly two years, KU came out with its worst offensive half since the program began keeping half-only records in the 1980s. Although Kansas hit five times as many field goals in the second half as they did in the first, outscoring the home team 42-40, it wasn’t enough to erase the dismal night.
Kansas scored just 13 points on a mere 13.6 percent (3-for-22) in the opening frame, marking the lowest output in all three categories since the program began keeping half-only records in the 1988-89 season. KU responded with a 15-for-39 effort in the second half, but still posted a season-low 29.5 percent for the game – its lowest shooting performance since hitting 29.4 percent against Kentucky on Dec. 1, 1998.
With the loss, Kansas ended an NCAA-record of 264 games without consecutive losses. Wednesday night’s falter following the Oklahoma State loss on Saturday marked the first time since Jan. 14 and Jan. 16, 2006 that KU fell in back-to-back contests.
After scoring just two points on an 0-for-6 first half, redshirt freshman guard Ben ended the game with a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds. He hit six of his 10 shots in the final 20 minutes. Senior center Jeff Withey was behind him with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. When he suits up at Oklahoma, Withey will be one block away from tying KU’s all-time record (Greg Ostertag, 258). Sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe was the only other Jayhawk in double-figures with 11 points. The sophomore was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
For TCU, senior guard Garlon Green had a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while senior forward Connell Crossland pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds.
Seemingly impossible, the Jayhawks went more than seven minutes without scoring to open the game. Although the Horned Frogs made just one of their first eight attempts, they connected on back-to-back buckets, including a three from Green, to surge ahead 7-0 and force a KU timeout. A free throw would put the Jayhawks down 8-0 by the time redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor finally put KU on the scoreboard with 12:43 remaining in the first half.
Starting in an 0-for-4 hole with six turnovers in the first seven minutes, it got worse. The Jayhawks found themselves trailing 12-2 with less than seven minutes on the clock. A pair of free throws from Withey trimmed the deficit back to single digits, but a three-point basket in response pushed the lead back out, 15-4.
Before Withey hit KU’s second shot of the night, KU had dipped to a mere 5.9 shooting percentage (1-for-17). Solid pressure on the defensive end kept the game from getting out of hand despite another three from Green pushed the home team to its largest lead of the game, 20-6, heading into the final media timeout. Free throws would get Kansas to a nine-point deficit by halftime, 22-13.
Looking to shake off an abysmal first half, Kansas came out shooting 50 percent (3-for-6) to kick off the final 20 minutes. Yet, midway through the second half Kansas still trailed by 14, 39-25, as the visitors simply couldn’t hit a shot. Five-straight points from Withey helped the Jayhawks continue to dig their way out before sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe stepped up for what looked to be a game-changing three.
An offensive foul called against TCU brought the slew of Jayhawk faithful to their feet as a roaring “Let’s Go Jayhawks” chant broke out. With less than nine minutes to play and a burst of support behind them, Kansas started chipping away at its 40-30 deficit.
Tharpe’s three sparked five-straight points for the sophomore guard, igniting a Kansas run that saw a 16-point deficit slashed into just a four-point TCU advantage.
That didn’t stop the Horned Frogs.
After KU battled its way to a 44-40 margin, TCU came back with a 9-1 run and again saw its lead shift back into double-digits, 53-41, under the three-minute mark.
Kansas used its last bit of fight to get a pair of threes out of senior guard Elijah Johnson, bringing the Jayhawks within five with barely more than 30 seconds to play. It was all for naught, however, as Kansas handed TCU its first-ever Big 12 victory, 62-55.
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