|Spiraling No. 12 Texas hosts surging No. 23 Kansas|
No. 12 Texas will look to get back on the winning track and produce its first ever season-sweep of Kansas when the Longhorns host the surging No. 23 Jayhawks in a key Big 12 dustup Tuesday in Austin, Texas.
The Longhorns rolled past Kansas 84-59 on Jan. 2 in Lawrence, handing the Jayhawks their worst home loss in coach Bill Self's tenure at Kansas. But Texas enters Tuesday's game on a down note after Saturday's 84-82 home loss at No. 13 West Virginia in which the Longhorns coughed up a 19-point second-half lead.
Things came unraveled for the Longhorns in their loss to West Virginia at the under-16 minute media timeout as Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones got into a verbal sparring bout and had to be separated by their teammates.
Texas was outscored 34-18 after that shouting match, and the Longhorns went on to their fourth loss in their past six games. Three of the setbacks have come at home.
"When you have two competitive people, you call each other out," Ramey said afterward. "It escalated. We've put it in the past."
Ramey scored a career-high 28 points in the loss, sinking 7 of 8 3-point shots, before fouling out with 2:27 to play. Matt Coleman III added 20 points and Jericho Sims scored 14 for the Longhorns (13-6, 7-5 Big 12).
"Obviously, a really disappointing game," Texas coach Shaka Smart said. "Give West Virginia a ton of credit for the way they fought and battled. Sometimes, the basketball gods, they don't let you win a game like that. It's a really tough pill to swallow."
Smart called Tuesday's battle against Kansas "a watershed moment for our guys to demonstrate what they're about." The Longhorns are in freefall after being ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation.
Kansas (17-7, 11-5 Big 12) heads to Austin on a five-game winning streak and on the heels of a 67-61 victory at home over No. 15 Texas Tech on Saturday. David McCormack scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the Jayhawks, with Ochai Agbaji contributing 14 points and 13 rebounds. Jalen Wilson scored 11.
Christian Braun's 3-pointer with 21 seconds was the dagger for Kansas. Braun finished with 10 points, as did Marcus Garrett.
Saturday's win pushed Kansas' record in February games to 6-1. That stretch followed the team's 3-5 struggle in January, which came after an 8-1 start that had the Jayhawks ranked third nationally entering the New Year.
"It's the best we've played since Christmas," Self said of the victory over Texas Tech. "We actually played better offense than what we scored because we missed a lot of really good looks that I think we should make a higher percentage (on). We did a lot of good things, and we guarded."
It certainly appears Kansas has rebounded and rediscovered its blue-blood mojo.
"I'm leaving out of here feeling the best I've felt in a long time about this group," Self said. "We haven't always played well, but we got confidence through it. That's why I'm feeling better, because I still think there's another step this team can take."
--Field Level Media