Looking for its eighth conference win of the season, Kansas men's basketball hosted Texas for a Big Monday showdown. After trailing at the end of the first half by two points, the Jayhawks overcame the slim deficit and pulled away with a 69-58 win.
The victory gave Kansas its 19th win on the year.
To the surprise of many, ESPN reported before the game that senior center would not be in the starting lineup due to a "dust-up" with coach Bill Self that occurred after the Texas Tech game Saturday.
ESPN says Udoka got into "a bit of a dust-up" at the end of the KU-Texas Tech game with Bill Self. Why he's not starting.— Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) February 4, 2020
Azubuike played just 16 of the 40 minutes and collected five points on 1-of-5 shooting against the Red Raiders.
With the seven-footer starting on the bench for the first time this season, sophomore forward David McCormack slid into Azubuike's spot.
Similar to the first meeting between the teams back on Jan. 18, Texas was not intimidated by No. 3 Kansas. After a layup from redshirt sophomore guard Andrew Jones at the 9:19 mark of the first half, the Longhorns held a 16-12 lead over the conference's top scoring offense. Additionally, Texas limited sophomore guard Devon Dotson, the Jayhawks' leading scorer, to two first-half points with no made field goals.
As Kansas struggled to create separation from the unranked Longhorns, Texas' offense continued to heat up despite connecting on 3-of-14 3-pointers.
However, right before the half concluded, Jones buried his first 3-pointer to give the Longhorns a 33-31 lead heading into the break.
It was the fourth time the Jayhawks trailed at half in conference play and the second time against Texas. Before tonight, Kansas' record in those games was 2-1. The lone loss was against then-No. 4 Baylor.
It didn't take long for the Jayhawks to reclaim the lead in the opening minutes of the second half. Less than one minute into the period, Dotson gave Kansas the lead at 35-33 on his first field goal of the game. Two minutes later, with 17:20 left, he would extend that lead to four on the Jayhawks' second 3-pointer of the night.
Dotson came into the evening shooting 28.6%.
Even with Dotson coming to life, Texas managed to keep the Jayhawks' other offensive weapon in check for most of the game. When Azubuike checked in at the 10:45 mark, the senior had tallied just 14 minutes of action, which was the second lowest of any Kansas player up to that point. However, it was only a matter of time before the towering center found stability in the paint.
Following Azubuike's entry, the Jayhawks went on a 19-4 run to open up their largest lead of the game of 17 points. During that span, the seven-footer totaled eight of those points on four shots.
In the second half, Kansas outscored the Longhorns 38-25 and limited Texas to 35.7% shooting and 1-of-10 from 3-point range.
Azubuike finished the game with a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting. Dotson and junior guard Marcus Garrett combined for 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
On Saturday, the Jayhawks will hit the road and face TCU in Forth Worth, Texas. Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m. on ESPN2.