Notebook: Braun hurts ankle in KU’s loss

photo by: AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Kansas's Parker Braun (23) scores a basket in front of Baylor's RayJ Dennis (10), Miro Little (1) and Yves Missi (21) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Waco, Texas.

Waco, Texas — As soon as it got Kevin McCullar Jr. back from his bone bruise — much sooner than many had anticipated — the Kansas men’s basketball team encountered a different injury issue Saturday at Baylor.

Backup center Parker Braun limped off the court as KU entered the under-8 timeout of the first half trailing 23-18. He briefly went to the locker room, and despite eventually returning to the bench did not get back on the floor during the game, as Hunter Dickinson played the whole second half in the post for the Jayhawks.

“He turned his ankle, and I wasn’t going to play him,” head coach Bill Self said after the game. “They told me he got it pretty good, so hopefully he’ll be ready by Tuesday.”

Braun finished the game with two points (when he finished an alley-oop from Dajuan Harris Jr.), a rebound, a block and two fouls in just three minutes of action. Dickinson had a strong night with 20 points, six rebounds and four blocks in the remaining 37 minutes.

Both struggled to contain Baylor’s big man Yves Missi. The Cameroon native scored 17 points after previously having gone for 21 against the Jayhawks in Lawrence on Feb. 10.

Braun had offered high praise for the first-year standout on Thursday ahead of the game.

“He’s obviously highly touted coming in, he’s a freshman, he’s got a lot of talent definitely on both ends of the floor,” Braun said. “He’s obviously really athletic, really long and got a lot of tools he can use at his (disposal).”

Bench woes

The KU bench had looked to be turning a corner in recent games, especially against Texas last weekend when Self used specific three-man substitutions so that the Jayhawks only employed three primary lineups throughout the game.

However, the reserves struggled against Baylor, particularly in the first half when they saw some extended time. With McCullar back in the fold, theoretically increasing KU’s depth, Self opted for four-man substitutions early. However, after the first switch, which lasted just one minute, KU promptly committed a turnover and allowed a 3-pointer. The second stint then saw Braun commit both of his fouls and Elmarko Jackson another as the Jayhawks went from tied 16-16 to down 23-18.

“Our bench was really bad to start,” Self said. “We’re playing pretty well and next thing you know, down five or down six in the span of three possessions.”

Self said he was trying to keep the starters playing together as much as possible.

He added that an off game for Johnny Furphy — who went just 1-for-5 from the field, was a step slow on defense both when it came to close-outs on the perimeter and straight-line drives, and ultimately played his fewest minutes (23) since his second career start on Jan. 13 — “threw things off too.”

With Furphy sitting out for much of the second half, that did provide an opportunity for Jackson to put together a strong outing. He displayed intensity on defense and hit as many 3-pointers (two) as the rest of his team combined, finishing with eight points, though he did end his afternoon by fouling out after playing just 15 minutes.

“It was great to see him make a couple shots,” Self said. “Hopefully that’ll be a springboard for him.”

Added Harris: “It was pretty good minutes, but we (were) already down. He’s a freshman, he’s still learning, and it’s on the road too, so it’s pretty tough to beat a team like that on the road. But he played pretty good, though.”

New digs

KU played for the first time at Foster Pavilion, Baylor’s new arena that opened at the start of 2024, replacing the Ferrell Center. Despite its smaller capacity of 7,500 seats, the new venue still allows its crowd to impact the game, Self said.

“It was loud. Whoever hired the architect to make it loud, it was a really smart move … I like it,” Self said. “To me it looks bigger than 7,000 just because it’s so steep. The pitch is pretty steep. I thought it was really nice. I didn’t tour the bowels of the arena or anything, but I thought it was great. And it’s certainly dozens of times better than what Baylor was playing in before.”

Baylor’s men’s team is now 7-2 in Foster Pavilion since it opened, while the women’s team is 6-2.

This and that

With the loss, KU dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season.

The Jayhawks have now also lost consecutive games in which Harris scored double-digit points after previously only losing two such games the entire rest of his career (last year’s NCAA Tournament game against Arkansas and February’s loss at Kansas State).


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.