Jayhawks hang on against pesky Aggies

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 23, 2012
Elijah Johnson scored 21 points and Tyshawn Taylor made key plays down the stretch to help No. 4 Kansas fight off a late run by Texas A&M for a 66-58 victory Wednesday night. Kansas (23-5, 13-2 Big 12) led by as many as 21 points in the second half before a big run by the Aggies got them within striking distance. A 3-pointer by Dash Harris cut the Kansas lead to four points, but Taylor made the first of two free throws to leave Kansas up 61-56 with about a minute remaining. Johnson added a free throw before Thomas Robinson fouled out on a technical he received during a scuffle between players when they were trying to secure a loose ball. Elston Turner made both free throws to make it 62-58 with 40 seconds left, but Jeff Withey scored four points after that to guarantee the win. Khris Middleton led Texas A&M (13-14, 4-11) with 23 points. The victory is the fifth straight for the Jayhawks whose next game is a showdown for the conference lead with No. 3 Missouri on Saturday. Kansas led 60-53 after Taylor scored the first basket for Kansas in almost seven minutes on a three-point play with just less than two minutes remaining. Johnson finished two points shy of his career-high and had 18 points in the first half to carry the team with Robinson and Taylor struggling before halftime. Texas A&M shook off a bad start to the second half by going on a 24-8 run starting at the 11-minute mark to cut the Jayhawks' lead to 57-53 with about two minutes remaining. Kansas made six free throws in that span, but the team's only basket came on a layup by Johnson with just less than nine minutes remaining. Middleton scored 13 points in that time. The Jayhawks were leading by seven points early in the second half before they scored 14 straight points to stretch the lead to 47-26 with just more than 13 minutes remaining. Robinson had five points in that span and capped the run with a three-point play. Robinson finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds to extend his streak of scoring in double figures to 16 straight games. This is the seventh straight season the Jayhawks have had 13 conference wins and their 23rd consecutive season with 23 wins. They have won eight straight over A&M and are 19-1 all-time against the Aggies in what could be the last meeting with A&M heading to the Southeastern Conference next season. The paltry crowd of 6,868 was peppered with Kansas fans, including former Jayhawks coach Larry Brown, who watched the game from a front-row seat directly behind the visitors' bench. Harris, a point guard, missed the last seven games with an injured foot. He didn't start, but entered the game early in the first half in his first game since Jan. 23 at Kansas. He had eight points and David Loubeau and Turner added 10 points each for the Aggies, who trailed 31-21 at halftime.
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