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Aldridge, Tucker help No. 7 Texas rout No. 18 Kansas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas keeps rolling at home and inching
closer to its first Big 12 title in seven years.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 points on near-perfect shooting and
a stellar defensive effort on Kansas' Brandon Rush sent the No. 7
Longhorns to an 80-55 win Saturday night, pushing the
Jayhawks (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today; No. 16 AP) a game back in the chase for the conference title.

Aldridge hit his first eight shots, not missing until Texas had
a 20-point lead late in the second half. He finished 9-of-10 from
the floor, grabbed eight rebounds and had four blocks.

P.J. Tucker added 19 points and eight boards for the Longhorns
(24-4, 12-2), who tied a school record for the most wins in a
regular season.

The Longhorns also got 20 points off the bench, 12 from freshman
point guard A.J. Abrams, to stay undefeated at home in conference
play. Texas shot 55 percent and outrebouned Kansas 36-19 to snap
the Jayhawks' 10-game winning streak

"We got a terrific effort from everyone," Texas coach Rick
Barnes said. "But we know we've got another week left in the
regular season."

Texas hasn't won the Big 12 since 1999, Barnes' first season in
Austin.

Kansas (20-7, 11-3) starts three freshmen and can still play for
at least a share of a sixth conference title if Texas slips against
either Texas A&M on the road or at home against Oklahoma in the
season finale.

Julian Wright scored 18 to lead the Jayhawks. Rush, their
leading scorer this season, had a miserable night, going 1-for-8 to
finish with 3 points. He spent much of the night matched up against
Tucker.

"I knew I had to play good defense on him," Tucker said. "As
a team, we guarded him well. Our zone helped out a lot."

The game matched the league's best defensive teams and the
Jayhawks managed to shut down Tucker and shooting guard Daniel
Gibson in the first half, holding them to 1-for-7 shooting.

But as good he was against Tucker on defense, Rush struggled to
find shots against the Longhorns' mix of zone and man defenses.
Rush was 0-for-4 in the first half and turned the ball over when he
was unaware that the shot clock was winding down.

The Jayhawks tried to double down on Aldridge whenever they
could, but the 6-foot-10 center still went 6-for-6 in the half,
going over defenders with turnaround jumpers and hook shots. His 12
points in the half offset 12 by Wright, who stretched high for an
alley-oop dunk that pulled Kansas within 21-19.

A 15-8 Texas run to close the half gave Texas a cushion it rode
for the rest of the game.

Abrams hit two of his four 3-pointers in the half and Aldridge
put back Tucker's missed layup in the final second to send Texas
into halftime leading 36-27.

"They were doubling P.J. I got some good looks on kickouts from
him," said Abrams, whose production came as a surprise to Kansas
coach Bill Self.

"Aldridge, we knew he was going to score," Self said.
"Abrams, we didn't count on him coming in and getting 12."

Tucker hit his first shot of the second, driving into the lane,
faking left, then going right to bank it in over two defenders. He
then fed an assist to Gibson for a 3-pointer that made it 45-33.

Two straight Kansas turnovers by Rush and Wright and Tucker's
putback dunk trailing a missed layup forced Self to call his second
timeout in three minutes.

It did little to squelch the Texas run. When Gibson hit his
second straight 3-pointer, Texas led 52-35 with 14:47 to play.

The Longhorns got the lead as high as 22 before Kansas showed
brief signs of a rally. Mario Chalmers and Rush hit 3-pointers to
cut the Texas lead to 16 before the Longhorns reasserted control.

Connor Atchley hit a 3-pointer from the right corner right as
the shot clock expired and Tucker scored four in a row to quickly
push the Texas lead back to 66-43.

"I thought there were some men playing against guys who were
not as old tonight," Self said.

The Longhorns got the impressive win they needed not only in the
Big 12 but to push for a potential No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA
tournament.

Both of those goals were in jeopardy after a road loss at
Oklahoma State and a one-point win at Kansas State.

"We're back on track," Tucker said. "We're trying to get this
thing heading right into the postseason tournaments."