- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
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How the game was won: Kansas, which had flexed its muscle inside all day, did so again when the game was on the line. Trailing by one with less than a minute left, Kansas forward Thomas Robinson pushed his way into the paint and forced a double team. When the double team arrived Robinson flicked the ball to the waiting hands of Jeff Withey. The center went strong and was fouled.
That cushion was enough for Kansas, which trailed by four with 3:21 left, to grab the 69-66 win at the Frank Erwin Center Saturday.
For the game, Kansas had 32 points in the paint. And those buckets served as a stabilizing factor as Texas continued to make runs at the Jayhawks. But each time Texas got close or even took the lead, the Jayhawks went back inside and either converted or made it to the free throw line.
Kansas was only able to covert 14 of those 23 free throws and that allowed Texas to hang in the game.
When it was over: Later than many expected. Texas had chances down the stretch in large part because of J'Covan Brown's ability to create and get his shot off in the final eight minutes. The junior guard hit two three pointers, sandwiched around a running baseline layup to give the Longhorns a 64-60 lead with less than three minutes to go.
But Brown may have been too hot for his own good as he took an ill-advised runner with 11 seconds to go and Texas trailing by two, 68-66.
Texas had one more shot at tying the game but an off balance three from Brown fell short.
Stat of the game: Texas' leading scorer J'Covan Brown missed his first five shots and was 1-of-8 in the first half. Brown was struggling to get open looks as Kansas continually doubled him off screens and pushed him outside the three-point line with his dribble. But Brown didn't stop attacking the basket. The conference's leading scorer got hot in the second half and carried Texas to a brief 64-60 lead with less than three minutes to go. Brown finished with 24 points, five more than his average, on 7 of 26 shooting.
What it means for Texas: The Longhorns have to have a signature win if they want to continue their streak of NCAA tournament appearances. They do not yet have that type of win. In fact, in big games, Texas has suffered narrow losses reaching all the way back to the overtime loss to Oregon State in the non-conference portion of the schedule. Texas has now dropped three straight conference games as well and is 2-4 overall. With two of their next three games being against top five teams -- at Baylor and home against Missouri -- Texas has to find a way to pull an upset in order to strengthen their RPI and turn the heads of the selection committee.
What it means for Kansas: Not much. While this would have been a bad loss for the No. 7 Jawyhawks, the win is nothing that raises the eyebrows. Kansas is supposed to win games like these. After all, the Jayhawks have won seven straight Big 12 titles. Kansas is more concerned with staying healthy and being ready for its games against Missouri and on the road at Baylor.