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Jayhawks Blow Big Lead, Squeak Past Utah 63-60

KU wins in Sprint Center, but just barely.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Whew, that was close.  After falling behind the Utes early by a 10-4 count, KU stormed back and took a big first half lead, as much as 20 points at one point.  Halftime arrived with the Jayhawks holding an 18 point, 39-21 lead.

But the fun times were short lived.  After a Jamari Traylor free throw gave KU a 42-21 lead, Utah mounted a slow but steady rally and chipped away at the KU lead.  At the 4:58 mark of the second half, Utah tied the game at 53-53, and at the 4:39 mark, Utah took a two-point, 55-53 lead.

Once again, Kansas would win this game from the free throw line.  Two Frank Mason free throws tied the game back up at 55-all, then the Jayhawks took the lead back on a Perry Ellis jumper at the 1:57 mark.  KU's final six points of the game would come from the line, two from Jamari Traylor and four from Brannen Greene (who is perfect on the year from the stripe).

Perry Ellis led all KU scorers with 14 points on 5/7 shooting.  Ellis went 1/1 from 3-pt land and 3/4 from the line.  Jamari Traylor added 13 points on 4/8 shooting and Frank Mason added 10 while going 2/5 from the floor.  Mason also contributed five assists, leading the 'Hawks in that category.

As a team, Kansas was outrebounded by Utah 31 to 28.  KU was led by Perry Ellis and Cliff Alexander with six rebounds each.  Jamari Traylor chipped in five more boards.

KU was 21/23 from the free throw line on the day and as previously mentioned made all of the "important" free throws down the stretch.  Utah went 14/17 from the charity stripe.  Kansas knocked down 6/11 3-pt baskets while Utah struggled from deep, hitting only 4/19.

Next up for the Jayhawks will be the Lafayette Leopards, scheduled for a 2 PM (Kansas time) tipoff in Allen Fieldhouse on December 20.