Columbus, OH – Ben McLemore poured in a game-high 22 points to go with six rebounds, as No. 9 Kansas knocked off seventh-ranked Ohio State, 74-66, Saturday at Value City Arena.
Jeff Withey recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford donated 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Jayhawks (10-1), who have won nine straight since their lone loss of the season to Michigan State on Nov. 13.
Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes (9-2) with 16 points and Shannon Scott added 15 points off the bench in the setback, which snapped Ohio State's 39-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents.
"I thought we battled them," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said, "but didn't play with the toughness and tenacity we needed to."
The Jayhawks, who have now won five straight against OSU, ended the Buckeyes' season the last time these teams met, as the Jayhawks took a 64-62 victory in the Final Four of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Saturday's outcome wasn't nearly as close thanks to an 8-0 run late in the second half that gave the Jayhawks a 64-52 advantage with 4 1/2 minutes left.
McLemore sparked the surge with six straight points before Johnson capped it with a pair at the line to give the visitors a 12-point edge.
Ohio State got as close as six with 15 seconds left after some sloppy play from the Jayhawks, but Withey knocked down two free throws at the other end to help Kansas secure the victory.
"We slowed them down in the second half in transition defense," McLemore said. "We got easy plays, a couple of steals, stuff like that that allowed us to get ahead."
The Jayhawks led 23-17 at the midpoint of the first half following a Naadir Tharpe 3-pointer, but Ohio State ripped off the next 14 points to take a 31-23 advantage with 6:13 left in the first half.
Kevin Young quelled the surge with a three-point play, sparking a 9-0 Kansas spurt to give the Jayhawks a 32-31 edge with 2:18 left in the half.
The Buckeyes scored the next three points to regain the lead, but McLemore responded with a triple and a fastbreak dunk shortly after to help the Jayhawks carry a 37-35 advantage into the break.
Thomas opened the second half with a layup and then knocked down a triple over a minute later to give the home team a 40-37 edge less than two minutes into the half.
Neither team led by more than four from there until a quick 4-0 spurt from Kansas made it a 53-48 contest with 10:47 left in the game.
Kansas leads the all-time series, 8-3 ... Kansas shot 51 percent (25-of-49) from the field and held OSU to 30.8 percent (20-of-65) from the floor ... Young finished with six points and 10 rebounds ... Ohio State shot just 2- of-18 from three-point range in the second half.