No. 9 Kansas surges ahead late to knock off No. 5 Texas in latest Big 12 battle

Despite dropping four of its last six games, Kansas proved it's still capable of running away with the Big 12 this season. (AP/Charlie Riedel)

Despite a pretty rough stretch of basketball lately, Kansas is still one of the best basketball teams in the country. Monday night was more than enough proof of that.

No. 9 Kansas surged ahead late to knock off No. 5 Texas 88-80 at Allen Fieldhouse in what was a perfect way to bounce back from Saturday’s loss to No. 11 Iowa State. The win saved Kansas from dropping what would have been a fifth loss in seven games, and instead gave the Jayhawks a solid statement win to kick off the final stretch of the Big 12 season.

Kansas had little issue out of the gate, and pushed out to a 14-point lead at one point in the first half — thanks largely to 10 turnovers from Texas, which the Jayhawks converted into 12 points. The Longhorns, however, cut the deficit to just seven points after a 5-0 run that spanned more than two minutes to close out the first 20 minutes.

That run continued into the second half, too. Texas tied the score 43-43 not even three minutes into the second period on an 8-1 burst.

That, however, was as close as Texas got to taking its first lead of the game. Kansas slowly retook control of the game in the second half. By the final media timeout, Kansas was back up by double digits. That run was capped by a huge dunk from Joseph Yesufu, which was only made possible after a wild pass from Dajuan Harris that went through a pair of Texas defenders on the break.

From there, the Jayhawks simply held on and fended off a final Texas push to claim the eight-point win.

Marcus Carr led the Longhorns with 29 points after shooting 10-of-21 from the field, and Timmy Allen added 18 points. The only other Longhorns player to hit double figures was Sir’Jabari Rice, who dropped 12 off the bench.

Texas is wrapping up what has been a very challenging schedule. The Longhorns, after falling to No. 6 Tennessee in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, picked up back-to-back wins over No. 14 Baylor and No. 12 Kansas State before arriving in Lawrence. The Longhorns have now gone 2-2 in their last four games, and will host West Virginia next on Saturday.

"We knew we were going to get their best game tonight coming off a tough loss against Iowa State, especially from their supporting cast," Texas interim coach Rodney Terry said, via Nick Moyle of the San Antonio Express News. "Give all those other guys credit. They came in and played at a very high level."

Gradey Dick dropped 21 points to lead Kansas, 11 of which came in the first half after he opened the game shooting 5-of-7 from the field. Dajuan Harris added 17 points with six rebounds and five assists. After Saturday’s loss where only one player hit double figures, five of the eight Jayhawks who saw the court on Monday reached that mark. The Jayhawks are now an incredible 304-17, and a perfect 36-0 on ESPN's "Big Monday," at home under coach Bill Self, too.

Kansas, which now sits just a game out of first in the Big 12 standings, will travel to Oklahoma next on Saturday. The conference has six teams ranked in this week's AP poll and six within just two games of first place, and is still very much up for grabs. Monday's win, though, undoubtedly keeps Kansas' hopes for yet another Big 12 title alive with just about a month left in the season.