Though the first 20 minutes of Saturday's game the Oklahoma Sooners looked perfectly capable of playing with Kansas and pulling the upset. In fact, Oklahoma led this game by a point at the intermission but whatever Bill Self did at halftime seemed to work.
In the second half Kansas stepped onto the court in Norman and took control of the game with an early 23-3 run led by junior Travis Releford. Releford led the Jayhawks by scoring a new career high for the second consecutive game. At the same time a hot shooting Oklahoma squad cooled quite a bit in the second half and much of that can be attributed to a increase in defensive intensity by Kansas.
It amounts to a solid road win in conference for Kansas and it's always important to avoid the letdown after playing one of you major rivals early in the week. In some ways Kansas improved on what they did earlier this week against Kansas State. The Jayhawks did a better job of taking care of the basketball and you could probably argue that the Kansas second half defense was as good or better as the Jayhawk effort against the Wildcats.
Kansas wins this one by a final score of 72 to 61. As mentioned before, the Jayhawks were led by Travis Releford who turned in a 28 point performance. Thomas Robinson just missed a double double with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Another positive is the combined 11 assists to just 5 turnovers for Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson.
With Missouri losing big to Kansas State, the Jayhawks and the Baylor Bears take the early edge in the conference race after one week of play. Next up, Kansas heads to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech on Wednesday. The Red Raiders sit 0-2 after losing to Baylor, although Billy Gillespie did give Scott Drew and the Bears more of a game than many expected so Kansas will need to be ready.