After losing for the second time this season to a traditional basketball powerhouse, Northern Arizona coach Mike Adras wasn't about to lambaste his team.
"We've lost two games that we're supposed to lose. That's just the reality of the situation," he said after Kansas University routed the Lumberjacks, 87-46, Wednesday in Allen Fieldhouse. "I'm not terribly disappointed."
Northern Arizona's (3-2) other loss this season was a 76-69 defeat at Arizona - the Jayhawks' next opponent.
Adras and his players were careful not to belittle the Wildcats, but NAU's Kyle Landry said he noticed a distinct difference between Kansas and Arizona.
"They get up on everybody," Landry said of the Jayhawks, "and they make you get out of your sets and don't let you do what you want to do. Arizona kind of backed off us when we pulled out the ball to try and set up, and Kansas just stayed with us the whole time."
That defensive pressure resulted in a disastrous first half for the Lumberjacks. They turned the ball over 15 times and managed just 10 points, failing to score prior to the 13:22 mark, in the first half.
"The ball was going everywhere. We weren't getting shots," Adras said. "Then, not only do they get a turnover, they take it down to the other end and capitalize on you. It's a 1-2 punch, and all of it lasted approximately five to eight seconds. Then you're on your heels, and you know what? Here they come again."
The Lumberjacks nearly stunned the Wildcats, staying within striking distance until the waning seconds. Wednesday's contest never was in doubt after NAU turned the ball over on five of its first eight possessions.
NAU cut down on turnovers in the second half and put up 36 points, many against the Kansas front line.
"We came out and kind of focused on ourselves and took care of the ball. We settled down a little bit," Adras said of the Lumberjacks' play after the break. "I think we needed to get out of the building for a minute, to be honest with you."
Was KU the best team NAU will play all season?
"I'd probably guess so," Adras said. "I hope there's not a better team that we play this year. They're good. They're very, very good. I watched them play Louisiana-Monroe, and I went 'Oh no.' I really did."
Arizona, which received the 26th-most votes in this week's Associated Press poll, will have a better answer for the KU than NAU did, Adras predicted.
"I don't know if they've been really challenged in their first four ballgames," he said of the Jayhawks. "You'll get a better test in their next ballgame to see, truly, where they're at."