2007-08 Dec. 15 KU-Ohio Basketball
Kansas City, Mo. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes - but not very often - you go on to Hawaii.
"The good thing," Ohio U. coach Tim O'Shea said after the Bobcats' 88-51 bashing by Kansas University on Saturday in the Sprint Center, "is I get to lick my wounds on Waikiki Beach."
Ohio's traveling party was scheduled to board an airplane for the Hawaiian Islands this morning, with the Bobcats slated to play St. John's on Wednesday in the Rainbow Classic.
"They're as good as I expected," Ohio senior forward Leon Williams said of the Jayhawks, "but we still get to go to Honolulu, so I can't complain too much."
Ohio's extended road trip began at Maryland three nights ago and resulted in a shocking 61-55 victory over the Terps. But there would not be back-to-back stunners, and O'Shea suspected as much.
"The fact we beat Maryland, I think that made (the Jayhawks) more focused," the 'Cats' coach said. "It might have been different if we had stumbled in here. Either way, they were superior to us."
O'Shea prescribed a zone defense from the outset, figuring the Jayhawks might struggle shooting from the outside and, at the same time, his players might catch fire.
What happened was the Bobcats caught cold. A seven-minute scoreless stretch midway through the first half enabled Kansas to explode from a 10-9 edge to a 29-9 cushion.
"We knew they had to miss a lot of shots because the size differential was so great," O'Shea said. "And we had to shoot lights-out."
As it was, Ohio couldn't hit Kansas City from the top of the Liberty Memorial. The Bobcats threw brickbats. So bad was their first-half shooting that they managed just one - that's right, one - two-point goal.
OU's 20-point first half consisted of six free throws, four three-pointers and Justin Orr's short jumper with 9:17 showing. The 'Cats shot 17.2 percent (5 of 29) in the first 20 minutes.
"We knew we would have to play our A-game," O'Shea said, "and it would have to be a C- or D-game for them."
Ohio received KU's A-game in the first half instead. Meanwhile, the Bobcats didn't flunk out, but they certainly weren't much better than a D-minus.
"When we beat Maryland," guard Bubba Walther said, "we got every loose ball. On one possession, (Kansas) had four rebounds. They're just more talented than we are."
Faced with a 26-point deficit to start the second half, the only real drama swirled around whether the Bobcats would manage more two-pointers than three-pointers. Final accounting: Nine twos and eight threes.
O'Shea tossed a lei at the Jayhawks' bench before leaving for the beach.
"Their second five : that team could win the Atlantic-10," the Ohio coach said, "and finish in the top division of any league in the country."