Archive for Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Anti-Jayhawks dig big hole in first half

Kansas head coach Bill Self puts his head in his hand after a foul by the Jayhawks during the second half on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self puts his head in his hand after a foul by the Jayhawks during the second half on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

January 24, 2012


KU vs. Texas A&M

Box score

It was as if some of the players on the fifth-ranked Kansas University basketball squad had been instructed by an acting professor to pretend, for a half, to be a team as diametrically opposed to itself as possible, just to see how that might work.

Elijah Johnson played the leading role, a man on an island by himself trying to throw stones into the sea and missing. And trying again and again, expecting a different result and not getting one.

Shock of shocks, playing an individual game in a five-man sport didn’t work as well as the usual Kansas approach of smart, scrappy play.

Kansas ascended so high in the rankings by doing all the things necessary to create easy shots and spent the first half of Monday night’s game against Texas A&M; taking difficult shots. Kansas took a nine-game winning streak into the game in part by exhibiting more toughness than the guys wearing the other uniforms.

The Jayhawks who had played such stingy defense of late, played for a half as if this were an NBA game with a 24-second shot clock, instead of a college game that requires maintaining defensive focus for 35 seconds at a time.

Kansas snapped out of it in the second half and survived its own hubris and wayward shooting to defeat the Aggies, 64-54, but it took a fight to finish the job.

Afterward, all three Kansas players — Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor and Jeff Withey — who appeared in the post-game news conference pointed to the outstanding scouting job done by Aggies assistant coach Kyle Keller, a former member of Bill Self’s staff.

“I’m sure that helped a little bit,” Taylor said. “Every time I called a play or coach Self called a play, they called it right out after us and pretty much knew what we were doing. I think that helped, but every team is going to have a pretty good scouting report on us. It’s just part of the game. We get scouting reports on other teams as well, so we know their stuff pretty well, too.”

For the final 14:29 of the first half, the score was Texas A&M; 30, the anti-Kansas 17.

Billy Kennedy had his defensive-minded team ready to play, and Keller prepared an outstanding scouting report, Self said.

Of course, it didn’t hurt the Aggies’ cause that Johnson chose this as the night to audition his three-point shooting touch. For the first half, he was on a one-man mission, firing away from long range early in the clock. Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank. He missed all five first-half three-point shots and his lone three in the second half, pushing his season percentage from long range down to .288.

“Elijah went haywire, brain-dead with a couple of shots he was clipping off,” Self said.

The dud of a half came at the perfect time for reasons that extend well beyond Texas A&M; not having enough offensive firepower to make Kansas pay for its off night (4-of-20 on three-point shots). KU’s next game, Saturday in Hilton Coliseum against improved Iowa State, ranks as one of the toughest tests on the schedule. The Jayhawks gave their coach so very many moments Monday that he can use when reviewing the game film.

“We have to do a better job passing and finishing plays and not get frustrated,” Self said. “I thought we acted like a bunch of babies in the first half.”

Kansas doesn’t practice today before the coach paints the Allen Fieldhouse air blue Wednesday. Cover your ears.


Gerry Butler 5 years, 10 months ago

MAN OH MAN. did we evre look so ridicilious in this game, i mean and i pointed out to some friends during the game, and the boby knight echeod those same things right afterwards, WHAT THE HELL here w are throwin up all these three pt attemps acting like robinson isn't even on the floore, i mean come on man how crazy is that. but then again robinson himself wasn't rally callin to strongly callin for the ball either. but they say good tems find a way to win games when they are not at their best and we by far were not at our best. if we play like that saturday in hilton its gonna be ugly. and speakin of ugly i would not wanna be the guys this week in practice, my thoughts and prayers are with the guys lol. bill is not a happy camper. but we definetely took a step backwards tonight

Robert Rauktis 5 years, 10 months ago

Caps key doesn't work or is this an eye test? Hopefully you don't talk like this.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 10 months ago

Someone who, presumably, does NOT work with the KU athletics public relations staff. Hope this isn't one of my former "English" students; if that's the case, I have failed yet again

bballwizard 5 years, 10 months ago

SFBAYHAWK can u take a happy pill?? Why always so negative? If anyone expected KU to plauy well tonight u have not watched much College bball. They just had a huge win against Baylor a big win on the road @ texas. They got the W but now you gotr ISU KSU Baylor and MU on the road. I think 2 and 2 is realistic in that stretch but hopefully I am wrong. Coach thought 14 and 4 would win big 12.

tollef 5 years, 10 months ago

How about "Just come down and shoot and" get your a$$ back on defense!

Armen Kurdian 5 years, 10 months ago

Caption for the picture: "Yes, yes, I understand. I have to kill them."

In basketball, driving the lane and getting inside is like running the football. Tossing up threes is passing. KU's style of play is smashmouth football. Driving the lane, getting inside sets up the perimeter. If we're driving the lanes successfully and making 60% of our shots or getting fouled, that's going to win us 95% of all of our games. I can see taking a few early threes in a game. If we're hitting, then keep on firing, but if we miss too many, just quit and attack the basket.

This team showed against Baylor how good it can be when it's running like a well-oiled machine, and how gritty it can be against Texas. It's showed how bad it can be against other competition. And we have to remember we're only ranked #5 because folks ahead of us have lost...not because we're just that good.

Jim Williamson 5 years, 10 months ago

"Personally, I think when we get on national TV some (most ) KU players want to show off for the cameras instead of listening to coach and running an offense. Just come down and shoot and wave to the cameras....Hi mom!"

Yeah, this is exactly what they've done in their 657 kabillion other national TV games over the last nine seasons.

Good Lord, people, they played a lousy game. It happens. Luckily, it happened at home against an undermanned opponent. Take the win, smile, say thank you and start getting ready for Iowa State.

newmedia 5 years, 10 months ago

Tough to be on the top of your game every day. Everyone has those days whatever your lot in life is. Luckily for the boys it was against A&M. I'll bet the focus will be a little better Saturday. Good luck Jayhawks!

KEITHMILES05 5 years, 10 months ago

The problem is Self has very, very few backups and the starters know it. Other than Teahan and Wesley and a little bit of Young there is NOBODY who can play. We see what Tharpe does when he gets in and plays like a little kid.

Jerry Collins 5 years, 10 months ago

Hey Crabby Knight, You don't understand that Self calls a go to Conner coming out of some time outs. So quit bad mouthing him. You don't know everything.

jaywalker 5 years, 10 months ago

Last night was predictable.... I know I predicted it. Tough road win at Texas and then what seems to be a chance to catch their breath 48 hours later, followed by an 11-0 start....... not surprising the guys kind took of their foot off the gas.

The biggest thing I took from the game is how we're going to be hurting from the PG spot next year. Right now Tharpe looks completely overmatched out there and Elijah's ball handling and decision making aren't good at all. Much improvement over the summer is desperately needed, otherwise we're going to be hoping Adams can burst on the scene quickly.

Hopefully the fellas noticed how we took control once they started forcing the ball down low to TRob and the Withster. We started trying to win the game from behind the arc, a lesson they should have learned vs. Davidson. Our offense was relatively stagnant, too many guys standing around which seems to happen at least once per game. When that happens they're going to be chucking 3's 'cuz nobody's penetrating and taking the game inside, where it belongs. Also, Teahen and Johnson need to stop shooting 3's like the shot clock's about to expire; they need to get square and their legs under the shot. And if Teahen is just going to camp behind the arc, get out of the freakin' corners! Worst spot for a 3 because depth perception is limited.

FlintHawk 5 years, 10 months ago

Great column, Mr. Keegan! I had to click on the link 'cause I couldn't imagine what an "anti-Jayhawk" is. Sounds like a clever term for "shot youself in the foot" and "your own worst enemy." Well done!

chieffan 5 years, 10 months ago

Mr. bballwizard... you are writing a letter to a newspaper, not texting on your phone. I am sure you had a coherent message, but I need to be a code speaking Navajo to understand your gibberish.

If you are attending the University, you are wasting your Parent's money.

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