AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Longhorns certainly aren't fading as quickly as their Big 12 title hopes.
The 16th-ranked Longhorns used stifling defense to take a 17-point halftime lead, then fought off a Kansas rally in the second half for a 68-54 victory Monday night.
They kept their slim conference title hopes alive. But if Texas (21-7, 12-3) is to repeat as Big 12 champs, it will need to win Saturday at Kansas State and hope for unlikely losses by conference leader Iowa State to Texas Tech and Baylor, who are a combined 6-22 in conference play.
''I think we need a lot of help. But if we get that help in the last two games, we'd be more grateful than anyone could know,'' said Ivan Wagner, who scored a career-high 19 points in Texas' first win against Kansas since 1938.
The Longhorns are 2-7 against the Jayhawks (21-8, 10-5) overall, and 1-3 since the Big 12 was formed.
In the only other game involving a ranked team, No. 24 Connecticut beat Rutgers 74-69.
Texas grabbed a 14-2 lead on 3-pointers by Wagner and William Clay. Chris Owens then scored six straight points, including a layup when he slapped the ball away at midcourt and spun around two Jayhawks defenders near the basket to bring the crowd of 13,561 to its feet.
Texas, 5-5 against ranked teams, was equally effective on defense, forcing Kansas into missing 13 of its first 16 shots and 11 turnovers in the first 14 minutes.
''I have to congratulate Texas,'' Kansas coach Roy Williams said. ''They ran out early and with a lot of intensity and got the easy buckets.''
The Longhorns shot 54 percent in the first half, helped by six dunks on breakaway and alley-oop baskets, en route to a 38-21 halftime lead. Gabe Muoneke had 10 points in the half, six on dunks.
''We wanted to show our killer instinct and attack,'' said Muoneke, who finished with 16 points.
''I'd like to put that first half in a bottle and keep it for a while,'' Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
Kansas finally showed signs of life in the second. The Jayhawks scored the first two baskets after halftime, and Texas missed its first five shots.
Kansas closed to 42-30 on five straight points by Eric Chenowith and finally made it 46-36 11:58 left.
Barnes called a timeout, and the Longhorns came back with a 3-pointer from Wagner and yet another breakaway dunk by Muoneke to push the lead to 55-38.
''We stuck our head out of the hole, but couldn't get all the way out,'' Kansas forward Drew Gooden said.
Kansas twice more cut the lead to 10, the last at 59-49 with 3:09 left, but hit just three field goals during the final seven minutes and couldn't make a final push.
The Jayhawks finished with 17 turnovers and shot just 31 percent with no 3-pointers. Kirk Hinrich was the only Jayhawks player in double figures with 11 points.
Wagner made up for four turnovers with five assists and hit seven free throws in the final 3:31 to help Texas preserve its lead.
Chris Mihm, considered the best pure center in college basketball, had a relatively quiet game with nine points in what might be his last game in the Erwin Center.
Mihm was 4-of-8 from the floor and grabbed 12 rebounds as the crowd chanted, ''One more year!'' Mihm has not said if he will turn pro after the season.
''I'm not even going to talk about that right now,'' Mihm said. ''That was great. No matter what happens with my decision, it was nice.''
No. 24 Connecticut 74, Rutgers 69
Khalid El-Amin hit four free throws and made a game-clinching steal in the final 26 seconds as Connecticut won at Rutgers.
Albert Mouring added 16 points and Jake Voskuhl had 15 points and 13 rebounds as Connecticut (20-8, 9-6 Big East) clinched its seventh straight 20-win season.
Dahntay Jones had 25 points to lead Rutgers (15-13, 6-9), including a long 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining to cut the Huskies' lead to 70-69.
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