LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—That’s 62 down and one to go.
No. 7 Kansas, sparked by a second-half stampede led by Marcus Morris, overwhelmed North Texas 93-60 on Friday night to tie the school record of 62 consecutive home victories.
The Jayhawks (3-0) will go for the record Tuesday night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
“After the game, it was nice,” said Morris, who scored 10 points in the first 5 minutes of the second half. “Coach (Bill) Self told us during the week it would be a big win, so it was nice. He just told us, `Good job,’ and that we did a better job in the second half.”
Indeed the Jayhawks did. North Texas (2-1) put on a quick 7-0 run near the end of the first half and went into intermission trailing only 36-27. But Marcus Morris, held to just four points in the first half while twin brother Markieff did most of the work, scored 16 points in a 31-8 run that turned a 36-27 halftime lead into a 67-35 runaway.
Markieff scored nine of the Jayhawks’ first 11 points and wound up with 13 points and eight rebounds, the first time in three games he did not record a double-double.
“We came out in the second half hoping we could score to cut it to seven,” said North Texas coach Johnny Jones. “But we missed a shot, they go down and score and never look back.”
The Jayhawks (3-0) haven’t lost in Allen Fieldhouse since Feb. 3, 2007, and have tied the record set under former coach Roy Williams from 1994-98.
“It’s nice being a part of history,” Markieff Morris said. “There’s been a lot of great players and a lot of great teams play in Allen Fieldhouse.”
The next-longest current streak belongs to Xavier, at 26 in a row.
In the meantime, amid the celebration, freshman Josh Selby finally got word from the NCAA. Because of amateurism issues, the nation’s No. 1 recruit must sit out nine games and pay a fine which the NCAA put at more than $5,000 but the school insisted was only $4,607.58. The NCAA release said Selby was being punished for receiving impermissible benefits.
Coach Bill Self said he was proud of the way Selby had handled the ordeal of not knowing when—or even if—he would become eligible. Now he will make his Jayhawk debut Dec. 18 against Southern California.
“It’s not (a ruling) that anyone is overly excited about, but it’s very fair,” said Self. “He is kind of a victim of circumstance, to be quite honest.”
Apparently the issues surrounded his relationship with the business manager for NBA star Carmelo Anthony.
In the second half, after the game was well in hand and Selby sat on the bench in street clothes, the crowd began to chant, “We want Selby! We want Selby!”
Marcus Morris, an inch shorter than the 6-foot-10 Markieff, hit three quick buckets starting the second half, then added a layup on a nifty feed from Tyshawn Taylor for a 44-29 lead over the Mean Green (2-1), a unanimous preseason pick by coaches in the Sun Belt.
A pair of free throws by the Marcus Morris, the younger twin by 7 minutes, was followed by his aggressive charge to the basket that put the Jayhawks on top 48-31 and had 16,300 fans in always-sold out Allen Fieldhouse on their feet.
Tristan Thompson had 14 points for North Texas while Dominique Johnson had 11 and Josh White 10.
Elijah Johnson had 11 points for Kansas while Brady Morningstar had seven points and 10 assists.
“I think their defense really carried them today,” said White. “They are a very long team and very athletic.”
Even when Marcus Morris cooled off a bit and took a breather, the second-half surge did not let up. After Marcus’ 3-pointer made it 67-35, Tyrel Reed sank a runner, drew a foul from Shannon Shorter and completed a three-point play for a 71-43 bulge. Two free throws by Markieff Morris were followed by two more from Tyshawn Taylor, then Mario Little’s 3-pointer again brought the appreciative fans to their feet.