LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—For the record-breaking 63rd consecutive victory in their beloved Allen Fieldhouse, the Kansas Jayhawks put on quite a show.
Steals, 3-pointers and even a behind-the-back dunk proved more than outmanned Texas A&M-Corpus Christi could deal with. High, arching alley-oop passes and perhaps the finest defense they’ve played this season also highlighted a 21-6 first-half run that sent the No. 6 Jayhawks racing past the Islanders, doubling the score in an 82-41 victory that set a school record with 63 straight wins at home.
“I think everyone who’s ever won a game as a Jayhawk at Allen Fieldhouse knows how cool it is to be here and play here and have a streak like this and keep it going,” said 24-year-old senior guard Brady Morningstar, the only current player who ever experienced a home loss.
Thomas Robinson had 15 points off the bench, Marcus Morris added 12 points and Markieff Morris had nine points and 10 rebounds as the Jayhawks broke the record of 62 straight wins set in the 1990s under coach Roy Williams.
“Of all the teams we’ve had here, these guys like to play more than any team we’ve had,” coach Bill Self said. “More pick up (games) together, shoot on their own, all that stuff. That is contagious. This is a team that really does like to play.”
The six-time defending Big 12 champions (4-0) have not lost in Allen Fieldhouse since February 2007.
Mario Little and Travis Releford each had 11 points for the Jayhawks, who are 117-6 in their 55-year-old fieldhouse in Self’s seven-plus seasons as head coach.
Tyshawn Taylor had seven points and nine assists, including a couple of eye-catching alley-oops that led to crowd-pleasing dunks.
The Islanders (1-4), playing their fifth game in 11 days, confused the Jayhawks with a zone defense and slowdown offense but only for a few minutes.
“They just turned up the heat defensively and wouldn’t let us be as patient as we wanted to and wouldn’t let us run a lot of the stuff we wanted to,” Islanders coach Perry Clark said. “Once they got off and running, it was like a juggernaut. They were much more aggressive defensively tonight than they seemed like on film. That certainly was the thing that turned the game around.”
Chris Mast’s basket brought the lead down to 21-11, but then Marcus Morris got a basket, Markieff Morris dunked on an alley-oop from Elijah Johnson, and the Jayhawks were off and running.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi shot only 31 percent while the Jayhawks hit 60 percent.
“We played pretty good defensively,” Self said. “I think we have improved in that area 50 percent at least since 10 days ago.”
Demond Watt, who had 26 points and 12 rebounds last Monday against Texas A&M, was one of three Islanders with seven points, joining Justin Reynolds and Jaamon Echols.
The nation’s second-longest current home streak belongs to Xavier, with 26 straight.
Kansas’ 62-game streak, fashioned by such standouts as Paul Pierce, Billy Thomas, Ryan Robertson, Jacque Vaughn and Raef LaFrentz, ran from 1994-98 and was halted by a loss to Iowa.
The new streak began with a victory over Kansas State on Feb. 7. 2007. The Jayhawks closed out that season with three more wins in Allen Fieldhouse, and then such players as Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and the Morris Twins rang up unblemished home records in the next three seasons of 19-0, 18-0 and 18-0.
If Self had his druthers, people would now stop talking about the home streak and just let his team concentrate on each game as it comes. But he knows that won’t happen.
“We don’t talk about it much. But it is nice to have,” he said. “I’m not going to downplay it. But that shouldn’t be something that’s on our mind every time we play at home, to continue the streak. I don’t want that at all.”