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Big second half helps No. 13 Kansas defeat New Mexico

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.

"They came out to play in the second half and I don't think we did," New Mexico head coach Craig Neal remarked. "I kept telling them at halftime when we went in we need to stop, score, stop and score to get right where we want to be. But Kansas did that to us."

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.

"We knew we had to come and be ready to play in the second half," said Embiid. "We had to get a run and put the game away."

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.

"[Embiid] and Perry both were great," said Jayhawks head coach Bill Self. "Our bigs were really good today against two bigs who can really play. Perry was the most consistent and scored the most points, but there was a stretch in the second half where Joel looked pretty good."

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.

12/14 22:44:41 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCSU 24
GASO 23
3rd
DUKE 38
ELON 6
 
3rd
UNC 21
LBRTY 22
 
8th
NOR 2
DUR 1
 
1st
ECU 0
NCCU 0
 
Final
TOR 2
NYY 0
Final
CWS 6
DET 3
Final
STL 1
CHC 5
Final
PIT 3
CIN 2
4th
BAL 0
MIN 0
 
4th
TAM 3
BOS 0
 
4th
KAN 0
CLE 0
 
4th
CWS 0
DET 4
 
5th
ATL 0
MIA 3
 
5th
NYM 0
PHI 1
 
5th
HOU 0
TEX 0
 
1st
ARI 0
COL 0
 
1st
STL 0
CHC 1
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
9:05pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
9:10pm Tonight
SEA
WAS
Final
MICH 52
APPST 14
Final
NAVY 17
OSU 34
Final
UAB 48
TROY 10
Final
UVA 20
UCLA 28
Final
PURD 43
WMICH 34
Final
NCSU 24
GASO 23
Final
UMASS 7
BC 30
Final
NW 24
CAL 31
Final
NEB 55
FATL 7
Final
UMO 27
MARS 42
 
Final
ND 48
RICE 17
Final
MIZZ 38
SDST 18
Final
ALA 33
WVU 23
4th
AUB 38
ARK 21
 
Final
STAN 45
UCD 0
3rd
UGA 24
CLEM 21
 
3rd
UNC 21
LBRTY 22
 
4th
KSU 7
OHIO 14
 
2nd
OKLA 24
LATU 0
 
2nd
KST 21
SAUST 7
 
2nd
USC 21
FRES 0
 
1st
MSST 7
SMISS 0
 
1st
OKST 0
FSU 0
 
1st
TEX 0
UNT 0
 
1st
NMU 0
UTEP 7
 
8:05pm Tonight
UF 0
IDAHO 0
9:00pm Tonight
LSU
WISC
10:30pm Tonight
OREG
SD
10:30pm Tonight
HAW
WASH
3rd
DUKE 38
ELON 6
 
1st
ECU 0
NCCU 0
 
8th
NOR 2
DUR 1