No. 15 Jayhawks cruise past Florida Atlantic 77-54
LAWRENCE, Kan.—Thomas Robinson had 19 points and 17 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double, and No. 15 Kansas overcame some sloppiness on offense to rout Florida Atlantic 77-54 on Wednesday night.
Playing their first home game in nearly three weeks, the Jayhawks (4-2) committed 17 turnovers that turned into several easy baskets for the Owls (4-4). But the play underneath by Robinson, the reigning Big 12 player of the week, was enough to carry them to victory.
Tyshawn Taylor added 18 points, Travis Releford had 11 and Jeff Withey 10 for Kansas, which hadn't played at Allen Fieldhouse since a season-opening win over Towson on Nov. 11.
Since then, the Jayhawks lost to top-ranked Kentucky at Madison Square Garden, beat Georgetown and UCLA in the Maui Invitational, and then lost to No. 3 Duke in the championship game.
Much of the Jayhawks' success against Florida Atlantic came from the free throw line, where they were 24 of 31 -- it certainly didn't come from the 3-point arc, where they were just 4 of 13.
Elijah Johnson, the team's top outside shooter, missed all three of his attempts. He also committed seven turnovers and at times looked completely lost on offense, just over a week after he scored a career-high 23 points against UCLA.
Dennis Mavin and Pablo Bertone scored points 17 each for the Owls, who have lost nine straight against ranked teams. Their last win against a ranked team came against No. 11 Oklahoma State on Dec. 1, 1998.
The defending Sun Belt regular-season champions started well, building a 9-3 lead and forcing Kansas coach Bill Self to call a timeout less than 4 minutes into the game.
It served as a wake-up call for the Jayhawks.
Withey scored their first field goal of the game out of the timeout, starting an 11-2 run that Taylor capped with his first basket with 11:29 remaining in the half.
Raymond Taylor hit a deep 3 for the Owls, but it hardly slowed the Jayhawks' momentum. Connor Teahan hit the first of his three first-half 3-pointers, Justin Wesley scored his first basket and Teahan knocked down another 3 as the Jayhawks extended the lead to 29-16 with 6:08 left.
Tyshawn Taylor added a circus-like scoop layup after Florida Atlantic snapped a 4-minute drought, and his deep 3-pointer from the top of the key pushed the lead to 16, the Jayhawks' biggest of the first half. Taylor hit two foul shots with 1.2 seconds left for a 42-26 lead.
The Jayhawks briefly extended the lead to 19 when Robinson converted a three-point play early in the second half, but their sloppiness nearly allowed Florida Atlantic back in the game.
On consecutive trips, Johnson threw the ball away, Kevin Young was stripped under the basket and Tyshawn Taylor was stripped by Mavin, who had 12 points in the second half.
The Owls got the lead down to 13 on a 3-pointer by Raymond Taylor with 7:14 left, but Withey scored at the other end and added another basket moments later to extend the lead, and Kansas cruised over the final 5 minutes to its 53rd nonconference home win in its last 54 games.