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Florida defeats Kansas, 67-61

  • 6 p.m., Dec. 10, 2013
  • Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Gainesvillle, FL

FINAL from Gainesville, Fla: KU men's hoops falls to Florida, 67-61

By Matt Tait —

Gainesville, Fla. — In hopes of snapping out of a funk that had contributed to losses in two of its past three games, the Kansas University men's basketball team sent four freshman to the floor to start Tuesday's game at Florida.

It's believed that it marked the first time in school history that the Jayhawks have started four freshmen and throughout much of the night it definitely looked like it, as Kansas was outmanned and outmuscled by a stronger, more experienced Florida squad, 67-61, at a rocking O'Connell Center on the UF campus.

After another solid start, the Jayhawks were outscored 33-11 by the Gators during the final 16 minutes of the first half and that forced KU to play from behind the rest of the way. KU pulled to within as few as six on a couple of occasions during a much better second half — and even as low as four with 11 seconds left — but untimely misses and some clutch play from the Gators (7-2) handed the Jayhawks their third loss in four games.

Andrew Wiggins (7-for-14 shooting, 11 rebounds) led all scorers with 26 points.

After a 5-0 start and reaching No. 2 in the AP national rankings, No. 13 KU has fallen to 6-3 and will likely drop in the rankings again next week.

Here’s a quick look back at some of Tuesday's action:

• The game turned when: Florida responded to KU's 10-3 start with a 21-0 run that spanned more than eight minutes and proved to be a blow to the chin that the Jayhawks just could not recover from.

• Offensive highlight: Outside of a couple of timely three-pointers and a couple of easy throw-downs by Perry Ellis and Joel Embiid, there really weren't many. KU shot just 44 percent from the floor, 44 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free throw line. All in all, outside of Wiggins, it was a pretty offensive offensive game.

• Defensive highlight: Embiid was far from flawless and struggled to stay on his feet against pump fakes, but he had a couple of monster blocks, including one in the first half that truly did look like a volleyball spike.

• Key stat: Turnovers. The Jayhawks coughed it up 16 times in the first half (and attempted just 19 shots) and finished with 24 turnovers for the game. Most of them were just flat-out careless miscues but some were definitely a product of Florida's intense style.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will continue their stretch of games away from Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo., where they'll take on New Mexico at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

Box Score


Bryce Landon 7 years, 4 months ago

That Duke game is really starting to feel like ancient history now...:(

Ryan Michael 7 years, 4 months ago

This team is just disappointing... So much potential, yet so much stupidity. The excuse of "oh but they're freshman" is weak.

Self needs to do something about all the lazy rainbow passes back and forth. They look like a middle school girls team out there. Just embarrassing.

Alex Berger 7 years, 4 months ago

The freshman "excuse" isn't weak, it's reality. All of our good players since Hinrich have had a sloppy freshmen year. They normally just had veteran players that could take the heat off. It takes time for freshmen to get used to the pace of college ball. There is a reason that freshmen normally don't start on Bill "30 wins per season" Self's teams. Freshmen play like freshmen. Our two best freshmen since '08 Xavier and Bmac had the benefit of almost never having to handle the ball. And the '05-'06 Kansas team (3 starting freshmen) was super sloppy.

Considering we just lost an away game to a top 25 team by 6, I think "embarrassing" might be a little overkill. This ain't the NBA and this team started 4 freshmen and a sophomore. We get to just enjoy watching them find themselves this season. Enjoy the ride.

Brianna Zaleski 7 years, 4 months ago

Great retort, Alex. Spot on.. This team is sooo talented, yet sooo inexperienced. They will get better, and they'll eventually start to get it.

Ryan Michael 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't disagree that freshman will make mistakes... But to blame that game on being freshman is still ridiculous... It wasn't about being freshman. It wasn't that somebody didn't understand Selfs system or a set play.

It was that those guys came out and didn't put effort into the game. That's not a freshman issue, it's a character and a leadership issue. One game is a fluke... Multiple now? Everyone says they are young and can't be expected to perform... Ok, what about put in effort? There is no excuse for that.

Don't you find it concerning that when we get to the last 3 or 4 minutes of the game, they all magically put in effort and claw back in? That's what is frustrating. If they just played with some heart for even a majority of the game they'd be blowing people out of the water.

I'm not saying it's not correctable, but someone needs to point out that they don't have the excuse of being "young"... The teams that are kicking their ass aren't much older and have much less talent. The difference is effort.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 4 months ago

Until someone besides Wiggins can make an outside shot we don't have much hope. We are getting worse in turnovers and still getting out hustled.

Don Frey 7 years, 4 months ago

I say "watch out Toledo, here we come!"

Ethan Berger 7 years, 4 months ago

I liked the way our team fought. It is still obvious that we are young. And guess what, it should be. Of course I would have liked to win all 3 of our losses. But two of them we lost on buzzer beaters and this won we clawed back and who knows if they refs called a foul late, it might be a different story. Let's see how saturday goes.

Back to the point, we are a young team. And it is telling with 24 turnovers. But it goes so much deeper then that. On offense two things we need to fix. Off the ball movement. This has been a reason in the past Self didn't play young guys, but he doesn't have a choice this year. The kids aren't used to playing against the best yet and it tells. They stand there waiting for the ball thinking they can break down the zone. However, Florida also has studs so they can match up on defense. What happens is then the whole offense falls on Tharpes or Masons shoulders. It's not fair to blame them for our start because no one on offense is moving. Look at last year. Ben scored 10 a game with off the ball movement.

Not driving. This is a sign of being punched in the mouth and having no idea what to do. Mason and Tharpe need to drive. Even if they are failed drives, the opportunity then is on the defenses mind. Might open up some lanes.

Defense. Taking a peak inside giving your guy to much room. This was evident all night, our guys kept peeking around. Made them lose guys and hurt them. Also put them in bad places for defensive rebounds.

Communication. Dealing with screens was painful to watch. They always got huge pace of screens and that's not good. Have to have that fight to push through.

Outside of Ellis and Tharpe, no one has enough D1 experience. We lost to 3 tough teams. Heck it's just december, I'm not going to throw in the towel. We still have a rough stretch of games upcoming. I say we play through Wiggins and Ellis. Lots of of the ball movement and alley oops. Hopefully we can have some sharpshooters come in and hit some to ease the pressure.

Luke Kading 7 years, 4 months ago

That was painful to watch and I'm actually surprised they got as close as they did in the 2nd half. I am not surprised at all that they lost, but in the first half they looked like they didn't even belong on the same floor as Florida. That was disappointing. I am not ready to count this team out yet but I do see glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed. Obviously they need to figure out how to attack a zone. Teams will rightfully use it against them until they figure it out. I am thinking more and more that Brannen Greene needs to be getting major minutes over Selden. I thought Wayne would be a stud this year but he isn't all there right now and they desperately need a shooter. Also, Embiid has to learn to play without fouling. They are much better when he is in.

The fact that they haven't even attempted a lob against the zone the past two games with the athletes they have tells me they aren't quite grasping what Bill Self is preaching yet. That all being said, you had to expect some bumps in the road with this schedule and the youth they have. They will be much better in March.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 4 months ago

Hey, we played a great first 7 minutes and a great last 13 minutes, now all we have to do is fill in the middle 20 minutes and we are set.

Unlike a lot of you, I am frankly encouraged to see a glimpse of what we are capable of being as a team. If the potential wasn't there then, yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, but I think by conference, this gauntlet of a schedule will pay dividends.

REMEMBER, 5th youngest team in 340 or so and toughest damn pre-conference schedule of anyone. Don't be surprised if we start out 9-4 or 8-5 come the Big 12!!

Cary Ediger 7 years, 4 months ago

Anyone checked out our RPI or SOS ???? (#4 and #1)

KU is young, the light seems to have come on for Wiggins... other players will take more time and the light will come on and flicker off again and then back on. They have to understand how Bill wants them to play.

Relax, I could see us getting 2 more losses by Feb 1st.

And remember it could be worse, K-State got beat by South Dakota ... at home.

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