LAWRENCE, Kan. — The sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks survived a mighty scare from the Temple Owls at Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon, but held on for a thrilling 69-62 victory to close out non-conference play.
Kansas jumped out to a 20-10 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe with 10:36 to play in the first half. All of Temple’s first 10 points came in the paint. It was a tough shooting night overall for the Owls, who finished 30.2% from the field.
Temple went on a 9-1 run to trim the deficit to 23-19 with 6:47 to play in the first half. The Jayhawks were plagued by seven first half turnovers, and took a 33-27 lead into the break.
The Owls went on a 15-3 run early in the second half, and took a 42-41 lead on a trey by senior guard Khalif Wyatt with 14:49 to play. It was nip and tuck the rest of the way.
A three by sophomore guard Will Cummings gave the Owls a 57-54 lead with five minutes to play as a nervous Allen Fieldhouse fell silent once again. With 2:50 to play, the Hawks got the lead back on a steal and dunk by freshman guard Ben McLemore. They maintained the lead for the rest of the game.
Down the stretch, senior forward Kevin Young hit four free throws, and senior guard Travis Releford hit a three and a pair of FT’s to help seal the win for Kansas.
Young recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Releford finished with 14 points. Senior center Jeff Withey had eight points, 11 rebounds, and nine blocks. Senior guard Elijah Johnson had nine points and eight assists, but also had five turnovers. Wyatt led the Owls with 26 points.
KU outrebounded Temple 42-31, but lost the turnover battle 14-3. The Jayhawks shot 43.6% from the field and 88.9% from beyond the arc. It was the 30th straight home win for the Jayhawks.
Kansas opens Big 12 conference play on Wednesday night against the Iowa State Cyclones at Allen Fieldhouse.