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January 31, 2006

Surging Jayhawks rip Red Raiders

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LAWRENCE, Kan. - There's something about Kansas that either brings out the best in Bob Knight's Texas Tech teams or the worst.

Monday night was one of the worst.

The surging Jayhawks outrebounded the leg-weary Red Raiders 55-28 and freshman Brandon Rush had his third double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds to pace Kansas in an 86-52 rout.

It was not quite as bad as the 40-point whipping Roy Williams' Kansas team put on Knight's first Texas Tech team in 2002. But it was a far cry from the thrill-packed 80-79 double-overtime victory the Red Raiders pulled off a year ago in Lubbock.

"We just got beat by a much better team," said Knight, whose team has lost three games this year by at least 30 points and stands 1-9 away from home.

"They played very well and we just weren't able to do very much with them."

The 6-foot-6 Rush keyed an 18-2 run in the first half against the Red Raiders (11-10, 3-4 Big 12), then scored seven points on three consecutive crowd-pleasing plays in a 58-second span in the second.

Since their overtime loss to Missouri on Jan. 16, the Jayhawks (14-6, 5-2) have won four in a row. They've shot at least 50 percent in five straight games.

"This is a fun team to be around right now," said coach Bill Self. "We're getting better."

Kansas got second shot after second shot off 18 offensive boards.

"Halfway through the second half, (the Raiders) were physically tired because we were able to throw a lot of bodies at them," Self said. "We benefited from a travel day for them and them playing 45 minutes against Oklahoma State (on Saturday)."

Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun each had 10 points for Kansas, which led by as many as 35 before Self began pouring his reserves onto the floor with about 5 minutes to go.

Rush, the Big 12's highest-scoring freshman, had five points, a steal and two assists during the 18-2 run at the end of the first half. The Jayhawks went into intermission with a 43-25 lead after Jarrius Jackson canned a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Texas Tech off a nifty inbounds play with nine-tenths of a second left.

Jackson, the Big 12's second-leading scorer, had 17 points. Before the buzzer-beating 3 at the end of the half, he was just 2-for-8 with two blown lay-ups.

But Jackson finally heated up in the second half and got six points in an 8-0 streak that trimmed Kansas' lead to 56-40 with 12:48 left.

After a Kansas time-out, Rush hit a 3-pointer, pounded home a reverse dunk and then brought a roar from the crowd with a reverse layup off an assist from Mario Chalmers - all within 58 seconds.

"I'm trying to get on ESPN. That's what that is," Rush said with a grin.

He probably made it.

"I hope so. They got me last time against Iowa State. I'm trying to make the top 10. I haven't made it yet. I've got to get on the top 10."

Jackson hit two buckets and Jeff Hawkins drilled a 3-pointer, putting the Jayhawks on top 70-40.

Dior Lowhorn had 12 points for Texas Tech and Martin Zeno had nine.

"Winning is always great," said Kaun. "But when you play against a coach who is a legend, the feeling is just that much better."

For more coverage of the Kansas Jayhawks, check out JayhawkSlant.com.

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