LAWRENCE, Kan. -- No answers existed Saturday for TCU, including one to a question that has been asked for most of February.
How did the Horned Frogs ever beat Kansas?
The No. 9 Jayhawks made sure that inexplicable defeat would not be repeated, drilling the Frogs 74-48 at Allen Fieldhouse. The outcome avenged a 62-55 loss at TCU on Feb. 6.
It did not take long for the Jayhawks to establish superiority. They jumped to an 11-0 lead as the Frogs needed five-plus minutes to score. The Jayhawks then closed the first half with an 18-0 run.
"Obviously they were upset. I don't know for what," TCU coach Trent Johnson deadpanned.
This time, Kansas made TCU look just like what it is: a last-place team. The Frogs made just 4 of 23 field goals in the first half and no starters scored. They trailed 38-9 at halftime, the fewest points scored in the first half of a Big 12 game in 15 years.
In the previous meeting, the Jayhawks made three first-half field goals against the Frogs while getting held to 13 points.
"We played well in the first half," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "They missed shots, but we guarded them and the ball moved great for us. We executed and were efficient. In the second half, we just kind of got through it."
Senior center Jeff Withey led the Jayhawks with 18 points. Two other starters, Ben McLemore (14) and Travis Releford (12) also scored in double figures. Perry Ellis came off the bench to net 12 as the Jayhawks (23-4, 11-3 Big 12) remained atop the conference standings.
Kansas made its first 17 free throws before finishing 18 of 19. It did not go to the line until the second half, though that oddity did not spoil a strong first-half getaway.
"We came out with a lot of energy and had a really quick start," Withey said. "We learned from the loss (at TCU) and the two that followed. This experience has led to us winning four in a row."
TCU (10-17, 1-13) finished 17 of 47 (36.2 percent) from the floor and was led by sophomore forward Devonta Abron, who scored 18 points off the bench.
"They came out really on fire," Abron said. "They had what it took and played great defense."
Of the 15 turnovers committed by TCU, 10 came off steals by the Jayhawks, who have 29 steals in their last three games. The nine-point half by the Frogs came after Kansas limited Texas to just 15 first-half points in the Jayhawks' last home game.
The scoring output by Ellis was his best since the freshman forward netted 15 in the season opener.
"Every game I feel like I'm getting more comfortable," Ellis said. "So this time is really helping me figure out the offense and get more into the flow of the game."
Self moved within one victory of the 500-win plateau and could get that milestone Monday when Kansas travels to Iowa State. The Jayhawks needed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation from McLemore to beat the Cyclones in overtime in the first meeting on Jan. 9 in Lawrence.
"We have a great opportunity going there to beat a dangerous team," Self said. "We are going to have to play our best game away from home."
NOTES: Kansas observed its 115th year of basketball with a reunion of former players from every era. During halftime introductions, players were divided into groups representative of the eight coaches in Kansas history. ... In addition, the 1988 national championship team was recognized on the 25th anniversary of its title. ... TCU came into the game losing by 15.7 points on average in Big 12 play. ... The only conference game in which TCU reached the 60-point mark was its lone win, against Kansas. ... Johnson came into the game 2-0 against Kansas after also leading Nevada to a win in 2003. ... One rarity at Allen Fieldhouse was the empty seats that existed in one of the upper corners. Attendance was still listed at 16,300, the building's capacity.