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Wiggins, No. 6 Kansas fall to No. 25 Texas

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The Canadian Press
2/1/2014 8:39:56 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 6 Kansas was rolling. The Jayhawks had won seven consecutive games to move to the top of the Big 12. They looked ready to cruise to another league title.

So much for that idea. One trip down to No. 25 Texas showed the conference race is far from over.

Wayne Selden Jr. scored 21 points, but Kansas struggled for much of an 81-69 loss to the Longhorns on Saturday.

Isaiah Taylor scored 23 points and Jonathan Holmes had 22 as Texas earned its sixth consecutive win and pulled within a game of Kansas about halfway through the Big 12 schedule.

"It was pretty much a dominating performance by the Longhorns over us today," Kansas coach Bill Self said.

The Longhorns (17-4, 6-2), who lost their top four scorers from a 16-18 squad a year ago, have been the surprise of the Big 12 this season.

Texas thumped the Jayhawks (16-5, 7-1) with suffocating defence that held the Big 12's best shooting team to 39 per cent from the floor. Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins of Vaughan, Ont., who averaged 24 points over the previous three games, scored seven before fouling out late.

The Longhorns outshot and outrebounded the Jayhawks, had 12 blocks, and once they built a double-digit lead, never left Kansas an opening to rally.

"We didn't come with a lot of energy tonight. That was the result," Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis said.

Taylor, a freshman guard who scored 27 a week earlier against Baylor, continued to slash his way through the Jayhawks for layups and floating jumpers, while Holmes hit from inside and outside. Holmes also went 9 for 10 from the free-throw line.

Cameron Ridley added nine points, 10 rebounds and four blocks for Texas, winning his battle under the basket with Joel Embiid, Kansas' 7-foot centre. Prince Ibeh also had four blocks.

"We know it's a long season," Selden said. "We'll get back to Lawrence, regroup."

The first half was pure frustration for the Jayhawks, who came in shooting 51 per cent as a team. Nothing, not even the open shots, seemed to find their way in the basket.

Texas' zone defence held the Jayhawks to 8-of-31 shooting in the half. Taylor and Holmes each scored 11 points and Ridley used his powerful body to push around the slender Embiid.

When Holmes blocked a shot, grabbed the loose ball and raced up the court for a layup, the Jayhawks' Frank Mason met him at the basket with a hard foul and the two players had to be separated. Kansas' Brannen Greene was then whistled for a technical foul. Holmes made three of four free throws and Texas led 38-23 at halftime.

Texas blew it open early in the second half with an emphatic basket by Ridley: a one-step, two-handed dunk over Embiid. Ridley converted the three-point play and Texas led 47-27.

Kansas finally answered with consecutive 3-pointers but the Jayhawks couldn't piece together a run that could pull them close. Texas simply wouldn't let them. Holmes had a key 3-pointer and followed it with another tough layup.

Demarcus Holland had the task of guarding Wiggins most of the game and despite giving up six inches, did a masterful job of frustrating the freshman into a rough shooting night. Wiggins fouled out with just over two minutes left, ending a 2-for-12 performance from the field.

Holland also grabbed a team-high 11 rebonds.

"I tried to box him out every opportunity," Holland said. "Cam and Prince were scaring him and he was settling for jump shots."

Lammerts blocks out Wiggins (Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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