Big 12 ‘beatdown:’ Kansas basketball drubbed by TCU, 83-60, at Allen Fieldhouse

TCU forward Emanuel Miller (2) rejects a shot from Kansas guard Gradey Dick (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. TCU defeated Kansas, 83-60. (AP Photo/Nick Krug)

The final score wasn’t as lopsided as TCU-Georgia in the College Football Playoff title game earlier this month, but it was one that finally put the Horned Frogs on the winning side of the coin. Jamie Dixon’s club walked into Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon and drubbed No. 2 Kansas, 83-60, in a game that was never in doubt and sent hundreds of KU fans to the exits with several minutes still to play.

The loss was the fourth-largest home loss in the history of Allen Fieldhouse, just two points behind a 25-point loss to Texas in 2021 and also behind a 24-point loss to Iowa State in 1973 and a 24-point loss to Kansas State in 1964. It also was the Jayhawks’ second in a row during a nightmare stretch of Big 12 Conference play.

“That was a beatdown,” KU coach Bill Self said after the loss that dropped the 2nd-ranked Jayhawks to 16-3 overall and 5-2 in Big 12 play. “The way they chewed gum, the way they tied their shoes, everything they did was perfect today. They played great. … We had to play too good on a day that we weren’t that good.”

TCU (15-4, 4-3) came out on fire and with a razor-sharp focus and elite intensity. Dixon said after the win that he thought playing KU to the wire here last year played a huge role in that. So, too, did making 13 of their first 15 shots.

That kind of offensive production — both from the Frogs’ experienced starting five and their athletic bench — turned a 14-13 TCU lead into a 33-13 deficit for Kansas. The Horned Frogs’ largest run in a game full of them was 19-0 at that point and it featured TCU’s defense — aided by the Jayhawks’ offensive ineptitude — holding Kansas scoreless for more than five minutes.

It was layup after layup for the visitors, turnover after turnover for Kansas and a series of highlight-reel buckets by TCU.

One came from reserve guard Shahada Wells, whose steal and hammer dunk put TCU up 28-13. He finished with a career-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting and outscored KU’s bench by himself on a day the Kansas reserves managed just eight points compared to 39 by TCU.

Another came from preseason Big 12 player of the year, Mike Miles Jr., whose circus shot flipped above his head from underneath the rim went in and put TCU up by 20.

TCU’s first-half lead eventually reached 22 points, but that didn’t stop the Jayhawks from fighting back. At least, not initially. An 11-0 KU run cut the TCU lead to 37-26 and Kansas entered the locker room at halftime down by just 10.

“Ten was manageable,” Self said after the game. “But I thought it got a little bit like we were playing like there was a 10-point play in our back pocket as opposed to just trying to win that possession.”

Picking up where it left off in the first half, TCU’s offense quickly made sure that not even a 10-point play would have mattered.

The Frogs opened the second half by pushing their lead to 55-40 in the first 3:45. The Jayhawks never got within 13 again, and most of the second half was a mere formality.

TCU kept playing hard and attacking, and the Kansas defense kept giving the visitors whatever they wanted while struggling on offense, as well.

All of this came with TCU big man Eddie Lampkin Jr., suffering a high ankle sprain near the end of the first half and being severely limited throughout the second. The 6-foot-11, 263-pound Lampkin did continue to play and he even picked up a couple of offensive rebounds and two points while essentially playing on one good leg.

The only time TCU even came close to letting up was when they began to see Kansas fans filing for the exits. The first sign of that came as early as the Under-8 media timeout in the second half.

“When we saw that, we knew we had the game,” Miles said.

Saturday’s win was the first at Allen Fieldhouse for TCU, which now trails the all-time series with Kansas 24-4 and 10-1 at Allen Fieldhouse. The Frogs, however, have now won two of the past four meetings between these two programs.

“When I got here, all I heard was that we’d never won at pretty much every school in the Big 12,” said Dixon, who’s in his seventh season as TCU’s head coach. “And we finally got this one. This is the hardest one.”

The fact that the home team made it so easy for TCU on Saturday had the Jayhawks down in the dumps after the game.

This was different than the Kansas State loss earlier in the week, too. In that one, the Jayhawks battled and competed and at least played hard enough and well enough at times to give themselves a chance to win at both the end of regulation and in overtime.

“Today they had pretty much whatever they wanted to get,” said KU junior Jalen Wilson, who followed up his 38-point effort at K-State with 30 points on Saturday. “We just have to take pride in guarding, getting stops. It’s been two games in a row where teams are way too comfortable against us.”

The Jayhawks shot just 45.2% for the game and 33% from 3-point range, with starters Gradey Dick, Dajuan Harris Jr. and KJ Adams combining to shoot 4-for-23 for the game. But Self said after the loss — just the 17th under Self in KU’s home building — that it wasn’t KU’s offense that bothered him on Saturday. He noted that things like pride, defense, attention to detail with the scouting report and taking things “serious” were all bigger concerns.

“I’m worried about them guarding somebody more than I am scoring,” Self said. “I think when you worry about the right things, you score more points. And the right thing with those guys needs to be we need to lock in and get stops. There in the first half, Jalen carried us on offense and Juan did a great job defensively. Other than that, I didn’t really recognize too many individuals really doing a lot really on either end.”

Self added: “There’s been a lot of games that we’ve had in this building like that, and somehow or another (we’ve made) the other team shoot a low percentage in the second half and climb our way back in and can’t make a shot but we’ll get a second or third opportunity and knock down that 3. We just didn’t have any of that today.”

Next up, Kansas will travel to Waco, Texas on Monday to take on the Baylor Bears at 8 p.m. on ESPN’s Big Monday.


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