Big second half helps No. 13 Kansas defeat New Mexico

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Updated: December 14, 2013

Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) – Joel Embiid scored a career-high 18
points and keyed a pair of big second-half runs that propelled No. 13 Kansas
to an 80-63 victory over New Mexico at the Sprint Center.

The Jayhawks (7-3) were coming off back-to-back road losses to Colorado and
Florida, but got back on track behind big efforts from Embiid and Perry Ellis,
who had a game-high 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and added nine rebounds.
Embiid tallied 16 of his points after halftime.

Cameron Bairstow and Kendall Williams each finished with 24 points for the
Lobos (7-2), who shot just 27.3 percent (6-for-22) in the second half en
route to having a four-game win streak halted.

Kansas owned a slim 41-40 edge early in the second half until Ellis and Embiid
led a 14-2 run to create some distance. The two dropped in seven points apiece
during the surge, with Ellis’ layup off a Wayne Selden feed putting the
Jayhawks up 55-42 with under 13 1/2 minutes left.

New Mexico netted six straight points later on to cut the deficit to 60-54
midway through the final frame, and Williams was fouled by Andrew Wiggins
while burying a deep triple shortly afterward. He promptly sank the bonus
attempt to pull the Lobos within 63-58 with 8:03 remaining.

That was as close as New Mexico would get, as Kansas responded by embarking on
a 12-1 tear to put the contest out of reach.

Embiid again had a big hand in the momentum-changing sequence, putting up
seven more points as the Jayhawks built a comfortable 75-59 advantage with
under three minutes to play.

Behind 16 points from Bairstow and 12 from Williams, the Lobos were able to
hang right with the Jayhawks all throughout a tightly-contested opening half
that contained six lead changes and saw neither team ahead by more than six
points.

Wiggins tipped in teammate Naadir Tharpe’s miss with 1:16 to go in the period
to snap a 34-34 tie, then later hit two free throws to put Kansas ahead by a
39-36 score in the closing seconds. New Mexico trailed by just one at
intermission, though, after Arthur Edwards’ second-chance bucket just prior to
the buzzer.

Game Notes

Wiggins recorded 11 points but went only 3-of-11 from the field … Embiid’s
previous career high was 16 points, which the freshman center posted against
Iona on Nov. 19 … The teams were meeting for the first time since a 59-40 KU
win in Lawrence on Dec. 3, 1964 … New Mexico finished 25-of-29 from the foul
line but made good on just 2-of-14 attempts from 3-point range … Kansas
improved to 23-4 all-time at the Sprint Center, which includes victories in
the 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Big 12 Tournament Championship.