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Archive for Thursday, February 15, 2001

Jayhawks still down about loss

KU ‘angry’ following setback at Baylor

February 15, 2001

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Love was not in the air on Valentine's Day at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas University's men's basketball players and coaches were feeling downright surly two full days after an 85-77 loss to Baylor in Waco, Texas.

"I'm angry. I'm concerned, disappointed," KU point guard Kirk Hinrich said. "It's something you stay up at night thinking about what happens when things aren't going so well."

What bothers Hinrich the most is the Jayhawks were not mentally prepared for Baylor.

"At times we underestimate teams and think our talent is going to carry over," Hinrich said. "It's not. We need to learn to play as hard as we can every game. If we want to win a conference championship as bad as everybody says we do, there shouldn't be having letdowns like that.

"I want to come in a game one time so excited and so pumped up you can't breathe the first minute of the game. It hasn't really been like that. I want to get back to that."

That may come Saturday when KU (19-4, 8-3) travels to Ames, Iowa to meet Iowa State (21-3, 9-2) in a noon Big 12 game.

"If we're not motivated, we'll get killed," Hinrich said.

Motivation, of course, was lacking at Baylor where the Bears led 10-0, 23-6 and by 25 points at halftime.

"It bothers me that I quote 'did not get them ready to play,'" KU coach Roy Williams said Wednesday. "At the same time the guys have got to do that themselves. I never had a head coach in my life that had to get me ready to play."

The fact the players couldn't become motivated even after Williams told them the Bears would be energized for Big Monday, really angered KU's coach.

"You haven't heard me sit up here two times in 13 years and act like I was really ticked off at my team," Williams said Wednesday at his weekly press session. "Even when I was, I'd tell you guys I was outcoached or our coaching staff didn't do what we were supposed to do or something like that.

"They (players) are accountable and by golly we were not ready to play. Some guys much more so than others. Two or three played their hearts out. But there were several guys that didn't. We've had some teams here that could play less than their best and still win. This team is not one of them.

"I said before the season starts we're going to have a good team. If Luke is healthy and Eric is healthy and they have a great year we could be really good. That has not happened yet. I'm still hoping it will. At the same time it's everybody, not just Luke and Eric. I'm not picking on them," Williams added.

Chenowith, who has been healthy thus far, is averaging 10.2 points and 8.4 boards a game. Axtell, who has been limited greatly by a bad back, has made two of his last 19 threes over 10 games. The 6-foot-10 senior was 0-for-3 the first half against Baylor and didn't play the second half.

"He probably in his life has never shot one or two airballs and he's had five or six in the last three weeks," Williams said. "The last play of the half, nobody was within five or six feet and he shoots an airball.

"He looked the most uncomfortable of any shot I've seen him take. It's the reason I didn't play him the second half. He'll never win the defensive player of the game award. If it's more difficult for him to shoot, then you really have problems," Williams added.

Williams said he thought Axtell would be able to play Saturday at ISU. He said Drew Gooden could return for the Colorado game next Wednesday if he gets the OK from doctors on Monday.

Collison sick

Forward Nick Collison has been suffering from a nasty cold about a week now.

"I'm not terribly sick. It just kind of zaps your energy," Collison said. "I didn't feel very good on Monday. It was hard for me to keep up. I guess I got winded real quick. I can play through it. It's the common cold everybody goes through."

Criticism hurts

Williams faced two angry callers on his weekly call-in show Monday night.

"I'm not going to say I like it by any means. Last year there was an article written in the paper when we were ninth or 10th in the country it was almost like I'd forgotten how to spell basketball much less coach it. After the Iowa State game (79-77 loss) I do believe they have one of the top five teams in the country we had 12 calls and 11 were somewhat negative or questioning.

"I'm not saying it's comfortable or I like it, you've got to be able to handle it."

Langford update

KU signee Keith Langford attended Monday's KU-Baylor game. On Tuesday, he scored 41 points in North Crowley (Texas) High's 83-66 victory over Burleson. North Crowley High is 28-3.

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