AUSTIN, Texas -- Something about the bluebloods seems to bring out the best in the Texas Longhorns.
After thumping North Carolina earlier this season, Texas nearly notched another marquee victory Saturday against No. 4 Kansas, but the Jayhawks rallied from a double-digit deficit for a 64-59 victory Saturday at the Erwin Center.
The Jayhawks (16-1, 4-0) earned their 15th straight win behind 16 points from freshman Ben McLemore. They won despite going more than nine minutes without a field goal in the first half and surrendering a 12-0 run to the Longhorns early in the second half.
"It was a great win, even though we didn't play our best," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Texas guarded us. That was as bad as you could start a second half."
Jonathan Holmes sparked the Longhorns' 12-0 run with back-to-back 3-pointers after McLemore had given the Jayhawks their first lead since early in the game. Kansas contributed to the run with four consecutive turnovers, helping the Longhorns (8-9, 0-4 in the Big 12) stretch their lead to 42-31.
"As experienced as we are, we looked like a bunch of inexperienced kids off the playground playing during that bad stretch," Self said. "We were trying to catch up too fast, had no poise. Their pressure bothered us. We turned the ball over just by kicking it to them."
Kansas rallied, though, and took a 54-53 lead after Jeff Withey blocked a shot and tipped the ball to point guard Elijah Johnson, setting up a lob to McLemore at the other end. After Sheldon McClellan answered with a driving layup, Naadir Tharpe knifed into the paint and put KU in front for good with 2:18 to play.
Trailing by three with 27 seconds to play, the Longhorns opted for a quick 3-pointer from Julien Lewis. The shot came up short, allowing Travis Releford to ice the game at the foul line with seven seconds remaining.
"It gets pretty old because it's the same record and the same way," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We do a lot of things well, but we don't win because we don't consistently do it when the game is on the line."
Withey added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Jayhawks, and Releford scored 12.
"It comes down to players making plays in the last couple minutes, and we had some guys step up and make some plays," Self said.
The Longhorns, who entered the game leading the nation in field-goal percentage defense and 3-point percentage defense, made the Jayhawks work for every basket. Kansas shot 39.2 percent from the floor, with Johnson going 1-for-11 from the floor and finishing with six points.
Texas had a 28-26 lead at halftime, and the margin could have been larger if not for a Kansas flurry to close the half. The Jayhawks missed 11 straight shots and went more than nine minutes without a field goal until Withey converted a three-point play with 54 seconds remaining to pull KU within 28-24. After a miss by Sheldon McClellan, Releford scored in transition to cut the Texas lead to two points at half.
McClellan scored 18 points for Texas after playing only one minute in the previous game, a 20-point loss at Iowa State.
NOTES: McLemore was back in the starting lineup after suffering a sprained right ankle in Kansas' victory against Baylor on Monday. ... Freshman Ioannis Papapetrou started his third straight game for Texas. ... Texas recognized its Alamo Bowl champion football team at halftime. ... Kansas is 4-0 in league play for the seventh time under Self, while Texas is 0-4 for the first time under Barnes.