LAWRENCE, Kan. — Just over two weeks ago, TCU upset mighty Kansas.
In its first visit to Allen Fieldhouse, the Horned Frogs were hoping for a repeat.
Not this time.
The ninth-ranked Jayhawks played with a vengeance Saturday, rolling to a big first-half lead and routing the Horned Frogs 74-48.
"Obviously they were upset," joked TCU coach Trent Johnson. "I don't know for what."
Kansas started the game on an 11-0 run, led 18-4 midway through the half and 38-9 at the break – the fewest points scored in a half in the last 15 years of Big 12 games.
"They came out ready and on fire," said Devonta Abron, who had a career-high 18 points for TCU. "They got the job done."
The Jayhawks scored a season-low 13 points in the first half on Feb. 6, when the Horned Frogs stunned them 62-55. But they returned the favor in Lawrence, holding TCU starters scoreless – 0 for 14 from the field, 0 for 2 from the foul line – in the entire first half.
"The game we won down there probably should count for six wins," said Johnson, whose team has lost five straight and 13 of 14 overall since December. "What happened at our place? I've said this before. We played extremely hard, extremely well, and they helped us a lot."
Jeff Withey scored 18 points, Ben McLemore added 14 and Perry Ellis and Travis Releford added 12 points each for the Jayhawks (23-4, 11-3 Big 12), who began the day tied with Kansas State for first place in the conference.
Kansas has won three straight since a rare three-game losing streak, one that included that embarrassing loss to TCU (10-17, 1-13) – which still hasn't managed another Big 12 win.
"I think our players were looking forward to the game. I think they were looking forward to playing a team that beat us," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I thought we played, the first half, that's as focused we've been at both ends in a long time."
The Jayhawks put on a show for about 200 former players, coaches and staff on hand to celebrate the program's 115th anniversary, and gave Self his 499th career win.
Self can win his 500th when Kansas visits Iowa State on Monday.
"We want that for him also. He's done a lot for us, so if we can get that win for him, that means a lot to us and him," Withey said. "It means a lot for us to be able to get that for him."
Wearing throwback uniforms to honor its 1988 national championship team, Kansas rolled off the first 11 points and built an 18-5 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the half.
The Jayhawks mostly did it with defense, forcing the Horned Frogs into dribbling and passing around the perimeter for most of the shot clock before forcing up off-balanced shot. TCU wound up shooting 4 of 27 from the field and was 0 for 7 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Horned Frogs didn't fare well when coach Trent Johnson called timeouts, either. Twice they committed turnovers on the ensuing inbounds play, keeping the Jayhawks' momentum going.
Self did far better with his timeouts.
After the Horned Frogs scored consecutive baskets, Self called a quick one to get his team back on track. Kevin Young responded with a basket underneath, Elijah Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and the Jayhawks ripped off an 18-0 run to end the half.
Trent Johnson left the court shaking his head at halftime, and it was hard to tell why: His team trailing 38-9 against a team it recently beat, or the soaring dunk along the base line that McLemore threw down in the closing seconds to punctuate the Jayhawks' big first half.
McLemore had 10 points at halftime – one more than TCU had as a team.
By the time the closing minutes wound down, the only question was whether Kansas would miss a free throw. The Jayhawks didn't attempt one in the first half, but made their first 17 tries in the second. Andrew White III finally missed one with 2:26 left in the game.
Naturally, he made his second attempt.