Here at Allen Fieldhouse, equal parts basketball arena, museum and shrine to Kansas basketball, the Jayhawks made history and celebrated it Saturday night.
Jeff Withey, the 14th-ranked Jayhawks’ senior center, passed former Longhorn Chris Mihm to become the Big 12’s career leader in blocked shots during a 73-47 Kansas victory in front of 16,300, the 194th straight sellout at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Longhorns (11-14, 3-9 Big 12) shot 21.8 percent, by far their worst accuracy of the season. They hit 2 of 21 3-point shots.
The 7-foot Withey finished with two blocks and has 265 in his career. He scored 15 points — matching Travis Releford for game high — grabbed 11 rebounds and made four steals.
“I put a lot of hard work into getting it,” Withey said. “I have a lot more games to play. Hopefully, I can make sure it doesn’t get touched for 20-something years.”
At halftime, Kansas (21-4, 9-3) retired the No. 15 jersey worn by Mario Chalmers, whose 3-point basket sent the 2008 NCAA championship game against Memphis into overtime. Kansas won the game 75-68.
“Biggest shot in the history of our program,” coach Bill Self said.
Fans cheered loudly for Chalmers and other former Jayhawks who returned to campus during their break from the NBA during all-star weekend.
Freshman Connor Lammert, who scored nine points for the Longhorns, said the fans were impressive but added, “I think after a while we got used to it. At the end of the day, it came down to the 10 guys on the floor.”
Less than a month ago, the Longhorns lost to Kansas by only five points in the Erwin Center. Texas led that game by 11 early in the second half.
“It is just different playing at home,” Longhorn freshman Ioannis Papapetrou said.
Point guard Myck Kabongo led Texas with 13 points, but he converted just 2 of 10 field-goal attempts (and 9 of 10 free throws). He did not have an assist; the Longhorns assisted on three of 12 baskets.
Kansas outscored Texas 38-16 in the paint and 20-9 after turnovers — the Longhorns committed 16 of them.
Longhorn coach Rick Barnes said his team drifted from the game plan at both ends of the court. He blamed the officials for what he thought were some critical missed calls before halftime, when Texas trailed 28-15. He gave credit to Kansas for its defense.
“You give a team like Kansas breathing room, they can play loose and free,” Barnes said. “They were really good, but we helped them a lot. We got a lot of (open) shots.”
Texas, 0-6 on the road, wore black uniforms as part of a Nike marketing campaign called Road Warriors (insert joke here). The last time the Texas wore black, on Dec. 10, 2005 against Duke, they needed dental records to identify the Longhorns after a 97-66 defeat.
The game against Kansas was so out of hand that Tyler Self, the coach’s freshman son who is a walk-on, made a driving shot with a minute remaining, his second basket this season. Barnes found some humor in that.
“I told Bill the most disappointing thing was he tried to run the score up with his son,” Barnes said.