LAWRENCE, Kan. – Lon Kruger could see the similarities in Oklahoma's two games against No. 8 Kansas. Both times it was close at the half, and both times a key run by the Jayhawks spurred them to victory.
Thomas Robinson had 20 points and 17 rebounds Wednesday night, and was a big part of a 21-6 run to start the second half that blew open the game and resulted in an 84-62 victory.
"We opened the second half there in pretty similar fashion to what we did here," Kruger said, referring to the first meeting. "A couple of careless ballhandling situations that resulted in transition points — dunks on the other end for them — and got them going.
"It seemed to have a little similar tone to it from that standpoint."
In the first matchup on Jan. 7, in Norman, the Sooners led Kansas 34-33 at halftime, but an early 23-4 run by the Jayhawks fueled their 72-61 win.
On Wednesday night, Kansas (18-4, 8-1 Big 12) scored six quick points in the first 90 seconds of the second half, forcing Kruger to call a timeout. He wanted to stem the tide because he didn't like how the team had come out of the locker room, though it didn't do much good.
"Just reminded our guys to stay with the basics, set good screens, wait on screens, just go back to the fundamentals," he said, "the things you try to focus on every day in practice.
"Our sloppy play offensively gave them too many opportunities."
Oklahoma (13-8, 3-6) turned the ball over 15 times that led to 15 Jayhawk points.
Romero Osby led the Sooners with a career-high 19 points, while Steven Pledger added 17 and Andrew Fitzgerald finished with 14.
Tyshawn Taylor had 21 points for the Jayhawks. Jeff Withey added 15 and Travis Releford had 12 as Kansas tuned up for a high-profile showdown at No. 4 Missouri on Saturday.
"I'm leaving out of here more excited about our team than before the game started," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I didn't think the last couple of weeks we had been that good. We're going to have to be better Saturday night than we were tonight, but we were pretty good."
The Jayhawks haven't lost to Oklahoma in the last nine meetings, and the last 10 at Allen Fieldhouse, where they have won 19 straight overall. They've also gone 225 games without consecutive defeats, the longest streak in the nation. Duke is next at 110 games.
Kansas had its meager halftime lead despite making one field goal in the final 5:34.
The game nearly got out of hand much earlier, when Elijah Johnson hit consecutive 3-pointers and Taylor — after some encouragement from Self — carved into the lane for an acrobatic layup.
Robinson's putback moments later gave the Jayhawks a 30-19 lead.
"Coach just told me that I'm not playing like the player I'm capable of being," Robinson said. "He's been stressing all week that I haven't been aggressive."
Kruger wisely called for a timeout, and his Sooners embarked on 12-2 run.
Cameron Clark's basket started it and Pledger added a deep 3-pointer from the wing. The hot-shooting Pledger, who had 30 points in a win over Kansas State last weekend, capped the spurt with another 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the half, drawing the Sooners within 32-31.
Taylor's two foul shots just before the buzzer restored the three-point cushion.
It turned out to be the closest Oklahoma got.
Withey, who played just 8 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, scored the first basket of the second half, sending the Jayhawks on a 12-2 run that resulted in a 44-33 lead.
Robinson added an impressive dunk off a feed from Taylor, who finished with six assists, and Kansas kept drawing away. Taylor's deep 3 from the wing as the shot clock wound down pushed the lead to 59-39 with 11:41 left in the game.
The lead reached 30 when Withey made a nice post move on C.J. Washington and drew a foul with 4:06 left. The 7-footer, an 86 percent free throw shooter, made both for an 80-49 lead.
Self substituted liberally after that, allowing his starters to bask in the adoration of another sellout crowd and rest up before the first installment this season of the Border Showdown.
The Jayhawks had been wary not to look ahead to their game against No. 4 Missouri (20-2, 7-2), who had a couple of extra days to prepare after beating Texas on Monday night. They can now turn their full attention to one of the biggest regular-season matchups ever between the teams.
"If we're tuned in defensively and we're rebounding the ball, I think we can beat anybody, and I think that's going to be our focus these next couple weekends, guarding and rebounding the ball," Taylor said. "We have to win these games. We have to. They're important."