UT Basketball edged late by No. 4 Kansas, 64-59
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Ben McLemore scored 16 points and No. 4 Kansas stormed back from a late double-digit deficit to defeat Texas 64-59 on Saturday for its 15th straight win.
Jeff Withey added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Jayhawks (16-1, 4-0 Big 12), who trailed by 11 points in the second half before McLemore steered a rally that prevented the reeling Longhorns (8-9, 0-4) from a badly needed victory in this troubled season.
Travis Releford added 12 points for Kansas.
Sheldon McClennan led the Longhorns with 18 points. Texas has lost four straight, its longest losing streak since coach Rick Barnes' first season in 1998-99.
Like a handful of Longhorns losses this season, this was another that Texas let slip away after leading in the second half.
How old is this getting?
"Pretty old," Barnes said. "We do a lot of things well. But we don't win because we don't do it when the game is on the line."
Texas' Julien Lewis had a chance to force overtime but missed a corner 3-pointer with 13 seconds left. Lewis had made just three of his previous 12 from behind the arc before that shot, and McLemore even said afterward that taking that one so early with plenty of time left on the shot clock even surprised him.
"We just had to play through it," McLemore said of the slow Kansas start. "We talked in the huddle. Coach told us to be more aggressive, and that's what we did."
McLemore was 6 of 10 from the field and had six rebounds. Kevin Young added 6 points for the Jayhawks.
Lewis finished with 11 points while Jonathan Holmes had 10 for Texas.
"We were very close out there," Lewis said. "We keep losing these close games by possessions. It hurts us a lot. But we got to keep going."
The Jayhawks played listless from the start before roaring back.
McLemore showed no hint of an injury after spraining his ankle in Monday night's win over Baylor, but the Big 12's second-leading scorer took just three shots in the first half while his teammates missed shot after shot.
Defense hasn't been the problem for the Longhorns this season, it has been their offense that takes the blame. That showed while holding Kansas to a season-low 26 points in the first half on 28 percent shooting, which was easiest to notice as the Jayhawks went 1 for 7 from behind the arc.
That lone 3-pointer belonged to McLemore in the opening minutes to give Kansas the lead, something the Jayhawks wouldn't get back until the second half when the star freshman made another 3. Texas answered with baskets on five straight possessions, stretching their lead to 42-31 with 15:55 left.
But then the Longhorns did what has haunted them all season.
They gave away another late lead.
Up by eight against UCLA in December. A 13-point lead against West Virginia in the Big 12 home opener. Both went down as losses, and so did this one after Kansas shook off what coach Bill Self called a "miserable" start to the second half.