On a peculiar warm winter night Kansas was looking to rebound from their first Big 12 loss facing a scrappy Oklahoma team with its new decorated coach Lon Kruger. It had been over 5 years since Kansas had lost back to back games and out of 89 home contests, KU had only dropped 1. This year has proven to be a little different than the past at times and Oklahoma came to town looking to spoil the party, at least for the first half.
Kansas controlled the opening tip and didn’t waist any time feeding All American Thomas Robinson under the bucket for two quick points. Oklahoma came out at a feverish pace and turned the ball over 4 times in the first 5 minutes which led to easy Kansas buckets.
Coach Kruger soon calmed down his Sooner squad they began executing their game plan in front of the 16000 Kansas faithful. They were able to cut a 30-19 Jayhawk lead into a two point half time deficit. Once again, a young talents Kansas squad had seemed to let its foot off the accelerator for a few minutes, allowing a scrappy Oklahoma squad to get some momentum and confidence going into the break.
Little did the Sooners know Kansas was refueling at half with Nitro. The opening KU possession out of the break was a blue print of what was to come for the next 20 minutes of action. Swing the ball side to side looking for a crease; feed the ball inside for a monster dunk, and the beat rolled on. Run down the court to setup defense, make the Sooners shoot a contested jump shot, rebound like a caged animal and fire out the entry pass to start the next run.
Kansas went on a scoring rampage that left even Jayhawk faithful shaking their heads. How could the same squad 20 minutes earlier be fighting for a 2 point lead and now be up by 30 points midway through the second half?
The answer lies in the Kansas bigs. Thomas Robinson exploded for 20 points, 17 rebounds and his batman, Jeff Withey added 15 of his own to solidify another Kansas win. The dual threat showed a level of energy during the second half of the contest that had been lacking since the Baylor game. In that stretch Kansas struggled and even lost to unranked ISU last Saturday. The boys were back in town and oh was the Fieldhouse rock’n on a night Kansas desperately needed to get back on track for the remainder of the Big 12 schedule.
Over the next 2 weeks Kansas will face a century old rival and top 4 ranked Missouri tiger squad in their home building, a dangerous Baylor team ranked number 6 looking for revenge at Waco, and then to wrap up the madness Kansas faces its rival Kansas State at Manhattan. Three of the toughest road games played back – to back – to back will show what this gritty Kansas Jayhawk team in made of.