For Bill Self, watching tape reaffirmed his original take on Kansas University’s overtime loss to Syracuse in Tuesday’s CBE Classic championship game at Sprint Center.
It was a game his Jayhawks (3-1) could have won.
“You hate to lose, especially when you pretty much controlled the game from start to finish,” Self said Wednesday, about 18 hours after the final horn sounded on KU’s first setback in 17 games dating to last season.
“We had a three-minute stretch where we lost composure and gave six uncontested points off turnovers. Even with everything that we didn’t do great, all we’ve got to do is make a free throw, get one stop. All we’ve got to do is finish the game, and we’re still undefeated. Still, we competed pretty hard. We didn’t compete as hard on a few key possessions.”
KU’s sixth-year coach is not second-guessing strategy on Syracuse’s final offensive possession of regulation.
Down by three points following Cole Aldrich’s free throw miss with 19 seconds left, the Orange went to point guard Jonny Flynn, who swished a deep game-tying three-pointer from the side with 6.2 seconds remaining.
“He shot the ball at eight seconds,” Self said. “We’d never foul with over five (on clock). We made a couple errors in that last 12 seconds or whatever that allowed him to get a decent look. Still, there was plenty of time. It goes in at 6.4, there’s plenty of time to get a shot.”
He’s not thrilled with KU’s final offensive possession.
The Jayhawks — who used their final time out at :24.7, when Sherron Collins was stuck in a double team — settled for a 15-foot fadeaway jumper by Collins, which missed badly, sending the game into OT.
“We’ve got to get it out quick. We didn’t,” Self said in reviewing the start of the possession. “He tried to (drive the middle). They doubled him the whole way and defended it perfectly. Nobody was open. They defended it very, very well. We didn’t have a timeout to talk about defense, offense.
“We burned our last time out when we were trapped,” added Self, whose Jayhawks were outscored in OT, 17-9.
Self acknowledged that on some key possessions it was evident, “we got tired. That was a lot of minutes for some of those guys.”
KU starters Collins, Cole Aldrich, Marcus Morris, Tyshawn Taylor and Brady Morningstar played 40, 38, 36, 36 and 26 minutes respectively. Tyrel Reed and Markieff Morris completed the rotation at 29 and 13 minutes. Conner Teahan played four minutes, while Quintrell Thomas, Travis Releford and Tyrone Appleton went one minute apiece.
“It’s not my job to get everybody in the game, it’s for those to get in the game that give us the best chance,” Self said. “There have been numerous times young kids or first-year guys didn’t play in certain situations and play in other situations. That will be the case all year long. We know who the best zone players are.”
Syracuse primarily used zone Tuesday.
“Everyone has a chance to earn it in practice,” Self added of playing time. “They played zone 30 minutes. It’s knowing the best way to score. It’s not anything personal.”
The bottom line is KU lost a close, highly entertaining, early-season game Tuesday — KU’s first loss since last Feb. 23’s one-point setback at Oklahoma State.
“Give Syracuse credit,” Self said of the Orange (5-0).
As far as his squad, which returns to action Friday against Coppin State (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse), Self noted: “At times we looked pretty good. That’s a bunch of young kids out there playing. Certainly there are a bunch of things we have got to do better. We hope to get a little tougher and harder, but we did compete. We certainly did compete.”
lGobble, gobble: The Jayhawks will practice this afternoon, then gather at Self’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.
“I love Thanksgiving,” said Cole Aldrich, a sophomore from Bloomington, Minn. “It’s a great time to be at home with the family. We can’t be home with our real family, so we’ll all gather on Thanksgiving and eat some turkey. Probably not too much turkey cause we’ve got a game the next day. I’m going to throw down a few pounds.”
If freshman Tyshawn Taylor were back in New Jersey, he’d be at his aunt’s house today.
“We eat food and watch football,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be weird (being away today), but I’m with my teammates. I get to be with them.”
Chicago junior Sherron Collins noted: “If I can’t be at my grandmother’s house, I’d rather be with my teammates. We’ll probably go over to the Morningstar’s house (before practice), play some video games, play pool. My family’s not here, but I’m not missing a beat with these guys. They are my family.”
lInjury update: Mario Little (stress fracture lower left leg) no longer wears a boot on his left foot. He will be re-evaluated by doctors a week from today, and if all goes well, might begin practicing at that time.
“Hopefully he’ll get released to do some things. That’d be the best-case scenario,” Self said.
lStrange strategy: The college basketball world was buzzing over Loyola of Maryland’s strategy against Davidson on Tuesday. Davidson standout guard Stephen Curry stood off the corner with two defenders on him virtually the entire game. His teammates played 4-on-3 all night and won, 78-48. Curry didn’t score and took just three shots.
“People get so hung up on many different things. The only thing I saw was Davidson won by 30. It didn’t work very well. Regardless of how they defended, it didn’t work,” Self said, asked his take.