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Archive for Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wildcats’ swats flummox KU

November 16, 2011

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 75-65 loss to Kentucky on Nov. 15, 2011.

— Five minutes into the second half of Tuesday night’s game against Kentucky in renovated Madison Square Garden, Elijah Johnson, Kansas University’s springy junior guard who revels in punishing rims, took the pass in the left corner and took off toward the hoop.

Time for him to make a poster, except that he passed it to Justin Wesley. That’s what watching teammate after teammate get shots swatted from Kentucky defenders who seemingly weren’t in the play can do to a would-be dunker’s confidence.

Shot-blockers alter shots. Shot-blockers who come from so far away so quickly and with such long reaches do more than alter shots. They alter decisions, such as Johnson’s passive one. Tyshawn Taylor repeatedly took the opposite approach, hurrying to get shots off, perhaps figuring if he didn’t hurry, a shot-blocker would swoop in to send his shot into the stands. Still, many of his shots were swatted. He was far from alone in that regard.

Kentucky center Anthony Davis blocked seven shots, and forwards Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist swatted three apiece.

“It’s nice when you can block shots,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “We’re pretty long.”

That was the understatement of this young basketball season so far.

With the score tied at the half in part because Kentucky freshman point guard Marquis Teague had five turnovers, Kansas needed to play a smarter second half to hang with the Wildcats, whose players had longer arms, faster feet and softer shots. It didn’t.

Kansas never trusted that the only path to open shots starts with swift ball movement. Convinced that wasn’t going to change, KU coach Bill Self had his players spread it out and drive, and Taylor did that leading with his tough competitive streak on his way to 22 points, 15 coming from the line.

It was more than just the shot-blocking that led to KU’s rattled play.

“When you look at our team — and you can say the same thing about Kentucky, but those guys have been exposed to things a lot of guys haven’t been exposed to, they’re beyond their years — other than Tyshawn, there’s no other kid on our team that’s played in a big-boy game like that, where they had to deliver,” Self said. “They’ve been reserves that have had to come in and played three, four minutes, and if they play well maybe they’ll stay in, maybe they won’t. I thought it was a different pressure tonight.”

And Kentucky’s shot-blockers turned up the heat on the jittery Jayhawks.

“I think their length bothered us, which sped us up,” Self said. “They are long. I mean, I don’t know if there has been a team around any longer than those cats.”

All that hurrying to avoid all that length played a big part in Kansas shooting an atypical 33.9 percent from the field. Taylor, the team’s best player in this game, made just three of 13 from the field, Thomas Robinson just five of 12.

If it advances to the title game of next week’s Maui Classic, Kansas could face Duke, which defeated Michigan State in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. As always, Duke’s loaded and efficient, but the Blue Devils didn’t look as intimidating as Kentucky.

Comments

Steve Miller 3 years, 1 month ago

So after all of that tom, what was the damn score ??

jonas_opines 3 years, 1 month ago

Well. . . at least we're getting some Really good teams early on. Maybe after a few of the top-tier, our guys can get some good development in for the rest of the season.

Jennifer Alexander 3 years, 1 month ago

If you look on the left side about halfway down the article there is a blurb about Bill Self's press conference. It is not part of the actual article. I agree it should be posted in the article, but maybe that is why it wasn't. (Because it was posted on the left hand side).

"Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 75-65 loss to Kentucky on Nov. 15, 2011"

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 1 month ago

Oklahoma doesn't want him, they are already 3 and 0 with their new coach Lon Kruger. K-State guy!

Jabberhawky 3 years, 1 month ago

lawrenceguy40,

Congratulations!

You win the prize for the single dumbest comment ever posted to an on-line thread.

jonas_opines 3 years, 1 month ago

Not really. You should see some of his other ones. After a page of his profile you'll see what I'm talking about.

bendover61 3 years, 1 month ago

If games in November and December meant anything then Roy Williams would be the new John Wooden.

JustNoticed 3 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

JustNoticed 3 years, 1 month ago

All I said was that Roy Williams can kiss me where the sun don't shine. Sheesh!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

This year's team has plenty of talent-- easily in the top twenty talent-wise.

But unlike many of Self's teams of the past few years that were in the top five, talent-wise, they'll only win consistently by playing smart, and executing nearly perfectly. They didn't do that last night.

martyks 3 years, 1 month ago

lawrenceguy40 I looked up "dumb" in wikipedia this morning. I like your pic there. You might even be dumber than you look though. I'm sure it was to get a rise out of people. I laughed pretty hard.

Look guys, the frickin' wheels came off last night. Tharpe was in over his head and reminded me of when Mario went up against Mayo early on in his KU career. They shot out of their minds. We got nothing out of Robinson inside and missed puppy after puppy. The refs were horrible in both directions. I've never seen a player step further out of bounds and not have it called than TRob did. We missed a whole lot of free throws. EJ picked up the flagrant 1 for grabbing onto a player to try to keep him from being hurt. He was all the way around the guy so that call has to be questioned. We missed open jays from everywhere. We lost our composure and focus for a huge span of time. And, we lost by 10 to the #2 team in the country. At this stage, I think that was very encouraging. This team will get a whole lot better.

Joe Hyde 3 years, 1 month ago

You hate to lose anytime, but this is very early in the season. Johnson and Taylor just got back, and that's cool except UK is their very first game of the season live ammo.

KU is good, and they will get better. I like their prospects, and as a fan of exciting basketball games I appreciate the prospects.

KU is short two strong players whom they earlier envisioned as starters or else first-off-bench. But wow, we've seen everybody else on the team now and it looks to me like everybody can play. This is gonna be a fun season.

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