Archive for Thursday, November 24, 2011

This one sure felt meaningful

November 24, 2011, 12:01 a.m. Updated November 24, 2011, 3:19 a.m.


Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self, Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey

KU coach Bill Self, Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey talk in the postgame press conference following the Jayhawks' 68-61 loss to Duke on Nov. 23, 2011.

— It’s only November, remember? Don’t forget, college basketball games don’t mean so much this far from March.

That’s why Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, winner of four national championships, flew into a rage when a block-charge call went against his team midway through the second half.

With a viper’s venom, Coach K hollered, “No way!” about eight times at the official who made the call. Then he polled the veteran of the crew and asked him what he thought and flew into another rage when the ref sheepishly told him he thought it was a charge.

It’s just the preseason. No big deal. That’s why when Thomas Robinson ended the very next possession with a bucket and fell to the floor, Kansas University coach Bill Self stomped the floor and hollered at his star power forward, “Get up! Get up!”

Emotions ran high on the floor, in the stands and on both benches throughout Wednesday night’s Maui Invitational title game played in the intimate Lahaina Civic and Recreation Center.

Duke closed much better than Kansas, scoring the game’s final eight points to score a 68-61 victory.

But to adhere to a stereotype and believe that the main reason Duke won this game was because it played smarter basketball than Kansas would be an unfair conclusion.

Duke won primarily because it had more offensive options, a better bench and matched Kansas’ high-octane intensity.

As the second half of a game packed with intensity from wire to wire sped along, each team’s most talented guard lost control of himself.

Duke freshman Austin Rivers slipped into selfish mode and was determined to win this game on his own as his father, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, shook his head from his seat in the Duke family section.

Coach K had seen enough. He had another option in Tyler Thornton, and he sent him in the game for Rivers. It was Thornton who nailed two three-pointers in the final 1:10, the second a shot-clock-beater with 20 seconds left.

Kansas senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, whose quickness and strong will played a huge part in KU taking a 35-31 lead at the half, couldn’t stop throwing the ball away or dribbling it out of bounds or zipping a pass too hard.

When Naadir Tharpe is a sophomore, maybe even before that, Self will feel comfortable putting him in the game to settle down Taylor. Tharpe’s not there yet. Self had no choice but to let his senior stay on the floor and try to lead it to victory.

Instead, Taylor, who in 38 minutes had 17 points and whose defense frustrated Rivers into becoming a solo act, tried to do too much, tried to do too much himself. His 11th turnover came with 56 seconds left and Duke leading by two points.

As for Robinson, the guy to whom Self hollered, “Get up!,” he got up all right. Over and over he got up and ripped the ball off the rim, showing why there isn’t a better defensive rebounder in college basketball. He took two charges, scored 16 points, and had 15 rebounds. He didn’t have his first foul until 35 minutes had been played.

Junior Jeff Withey, a first-year starter, was there to help Robinson. Withey contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds, two blocked shots and a lot of toughness.

Withey, warts and all, is a better player than we could have imagined watching him ride the pine the past two seasons.

Elijah Johnson is ahead of schedule as well and had a terrific tournament. He had the biggest bucket of the victory against Georgetown when he drove to the hoop after Kansas had spread the floor, and he scored 23 points in the semifinal against UCLA.

In the title game, Johnson swished a well-guarded three form beyond the top of the key with 1:33 left.

“Johnson made such a big shot, and it could have knocked you out,” Krzyzewski said.

It might have but for a reserve throwing a left-wing, right-wing combination of threes that knocked out KU, which didn’t get a single point from its bench.

Self summed up the Jayhawks’ feelings, saying they were “extremely disappointed” because they didn’t win the game but rightly added, “We came to the islands, and I do think we got better.”

• A previous version of this story has been updated.


mae 5 years, 11 months ago

"When Naadir Tharpe is a sophomore, maybe even before that, Self will feel comfortable putting him in the game to settle down Taylor. Tharpe’s not there yet. Self had no choice but to let his senior stay on the floor and try to lead it to victory."

Um, just letting you know Keegan, that when Tharpe is a sophomore Self won't have have to put him in to calm Taylor.

tententen 5 years, 11 months ago

Great game T. Taylor................GREAT GAME!!!

dontsheep 5 years, 11 months ago

"But to adhere to a stereotype and believe that the main reason Duke won this game was because it played smarter basketball than Kansas would be an unfair conclusion." it's not. We played dumb and coached dumb. Why Taylor is left in the game when his head is clearly somewhere else is just baffling. He hasn't improved in 4 yrs. Sit him down and put Naadir into the fire. I'd rather lose knowing there were "freshman mistake" than to watch a senior show zero leadership or basketball intelligence.

Remember back in the day when KU use to have smart point guards?

Matt Kuhlman 5 years, 11 months ago

Taylor actually had a pretty good game up until the last five minutes or so. Early on he was making good drives (that reverse layup was sick) and taking better care of the ball. Toward the end he was trying to do too much and made some dumb plays, but to chalk up the entire loss as being due to Taylor is a very oversimplified and inaccurate way of looking at things. This whole team needs a lot of work, and they just got a lot better as a whole over the last three days.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 11 months ago

"Smart point guards" - What we need is "true point guards". The kind that pass first and shoot last. Aaron Miles and Jacque Vaughn come to mind. Tom Kivisto for those of us with slightly longer memories.

Mandie Eutsler 5 years, 11 months ago

TT played a good game. He tried to put the team on his back and get a win. Had we won the game, he would have been a hero. I'm sure everyone is going to be hard on him for those turnovers, but Duke played pretty good defense which is responsible for some of those turns. In the end, maybe should have been a foul when TT lost the ball, and maybe should have been a travel before Thorton's 3....

CLARKKENT 5 years, 11 months ago


cato_the_elder 5 years, 11 months ago

"But to adhere to a stereotype and believe that the main reason Duke won this game was because it played smarter basketball than Kansas would be an unfair conclusion."

Actually, both teams played well at times and both teams made too many mistakes, and Duke was just plain lucky at the end. Thornton's last shot was ridiculous, and was heaved up right after a blatant no-call travel that was inexcusable. While both KU and Duke will improve throughout the season, I'm doubtful that the officiating crews we saw will ever be capable of doing so. If you're going to make a big deal out of a pre-season tournament, at least get decent officiating for the games.

friendlyjhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

As usual Taylor lost this game by his immature playing. He can't play a complete game under control. As soon as he gets crazy he makes it impossible for the others to make plays. Self should set his bottom to the chair immediately when that happens. That said, it was a great game for so early in the season....

Mandie Eutsler 5 years, 11 months ago

I disagree. You can't blame TT. Everybody made mistakes and everybody made great plays. Unlucky ending for the Hawks. Unfortunately HCBS didn't have anyone on the bench he felt comfortable with taking over. EJ also had some bonehead plays as did TRob and JW. TRob put the ball on the floor way too much and I don't see anyone blaming him. Tharpe has proven himself to be a turnover machine as well. With all of the weak fouls the refs called all game, that last turn by TT should have been called a foul as well. Unlucky break. EJ had a couple ill advised shots down the stretch that had they run the offense and taken high percentage shots, would have put the game out of reach for Duke. Cannot blame one guy. TT needs our support and he needs confidence and really need him to be on his game when we get to conference play. Like it or not he's our best PG right now until these other guys grow up a little...

greenworld 5 years, 11 months ago

We won the fist half , they won the second half and the game. We played as well as we could play and didnt get blown out. We had 3 players in double digits Robinson, Withey and Taylor and at one point in time the rest of team scoring was only 5 points. I think we need to get other people more confidence in scoring as this will become predictable in other teams gameplan if they know which 3 players to shut down to beat us. We played good defense and probably for a minute a saw a team as in our Hawks that probably made coach K sweat more than what he wanted to. Duke is a good team with a good coach. We our a young team and probably will end up with 6-8 losses if not more. Definately impressed with Withey's play and I do give them some credit as Plumlee at one stretch blocked TRob and shut him down for a few possessions which isnt an eazy thing to do. Early we made easy buckets on the high/low but Duke caught onto it and started overplaying it. TT you forced things/passes and a few other players did as well. I expect from the other players as they are young and inexperianced but from a senoir experianced player 13 turnovers does seem excessive. The good news is TT still is and will be the leader on this team and alot of guys look up to him. People over shadow alot of the negative and bad things that he does but rewind the tape and watch how many good things he did and when he did keep us in the game and you will see that he of the rest of us never quit hussleing. Love us or leave us my jayhawks are for real. We will beat some people by the end of year and I think be pretty good come March/tournament time.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

Did Gill sneak in & take over the basketball team?

Steve Jacob 5 years, 11 months ago

"KU has to watch this film. It will be a frustrating experience, but the Jayhawks need to know that this was their game. They made crucial judgment errors against the Blue Devils. There were turnovers, bad shots and rushed scoring opportunities. Kansas played tough until the final minute. But it shouldn’t have come down to that. The Jayhawks had their chances to pull away; they just didn’t make the necessary plays. So Kansas will leave Maui with a more positive outlook about its potential, while kicking itself for some of its blunders Wednesday."

Steve Miller 5 years, 11 months ago

It may not mean nothing now on paper, but it always sets the tone for the future.

Mandie Eutsler 5 years, 11 months ago

Our team will for sure be dangerous come March Madness!!!

Mandie Eutsler 5 years, 11 months ago

surely a 4 or 5 seed that nobody wants in their bracket...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

Taylor was most likely playing exactly the way Self expects him to-- using his speed and driving ability to break down defenses. And for the most part, that's exactly what he did. That said, he needs to play under better control and make better decisions.

But playing fast while playing under control is inherently contradictory. Like it or not, the success of KU's season lies with how well Taylor can do that. And he'll likely get 35 minutes a game to see if he can do it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

Is this trolling, or just cluelessness? I vote for the latter.

jaywalker 5 years, 11 months ago

That could very well be the all time dumbest post on these boards, lawrenceguy.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 11 months ago

Come on guys, it's pure tongue in cheek.

weeslicket 5 years, 10 months ago

11 turnovers. the difference between a win in this game (against a better opponent) vs. a loss = half that many turnovers.

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