There was no court-storming Saturday night for TCU.
A record, sold-out crowd of 7,494 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum hardly got the chance to become a factor as eighth-ranked Kansas pulled away early and coasted to a 91-69 win.
It’s hard to fault TCU (9-10, 0-7 Big 12), which is still looking for its first league win. The Jayhawks (15-4, 6-0) are arguably the hottest team in the country, winners of six consecutive games, including four in a row against ranked opponents. That’s a far cry from last Feb. 6, when TCU shocked the basketball world with a 62-55 upset of then-No. 5-ranked Kansas, eliciting TCU students to rush the court.
That night, the Jayhawks were mired in the middle of a three-game losing streak, shot a season-low 29.5 percent and failed to score for the first seven minutes of the game.
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Scoring wasn’t an issue for Kansas on Saturday.
Freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid took turns torching TCU — Wiggins from outside or on the drive and Embiid in the paint.
Wiggins finished with a career-high 27 points, including 19 in the first half when the Jayhawks built a 53-32 lead, almost matching their points from last year’s disaster at DMC. KU shot 57.4 percent rom the field, including 61.5 percent in the first half. TCU struggled offensively early, shooting just 30.8 percent at the break.
“As a freshman, he’s just figuring it out,” KU coach Bill Self said of the much-heralded Wiggins. “I think he’s done remarkably well. I think he’s handled everything great.”
Embiid scored 14, including 11 at the half. KU went on first-half runs of 12-2 and 13-2, the second of which stretched the Jayhawks’ lead to 21 after consecutive 3-pointers from Wiggins and Conner Frankamp with less than four minutes left in the half.
“They’re really good,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “It’s hard to find a weakness. I don’t think they have very many. Our crowd was unbelievable and we appreciated the support tonight.”
Karviar Shepherd and Jarvis Ray were forced to the bench with early foul trouble. Both played just eight minutes in the first half. That not only hampered TCU’s scoring options, but opened up a decided advantage in the paint for Embiid and forward Perry Ellis, who had a career-high 14 rebounds.
“At every position they have somebody who can score,” said TCU forward Amric Fields, who had 13 points and seven rebounds. “They can attack you so you really have to be on your toes every defensive possession.”
For much of the night, Kansas was able to score at will, whether it was an alley-oop from Naadir Tharpe to Embiid to start the second half or an uncontested drive to the basket from Frank Mason. In contrast to TCU’s ultra-thin bench, KU kept the reserves flowing and outscored the Frogs’ bench 30-13.
“I thought our bench was pretty good,” Self said. “I thought they all gave us some good minutes tonight. We were probably more ready to play tonight because of what happened last year.”