Kansas University’s 15 basketball players have yet to experience back-to-back losses during their college careers.
In fact, the Jayhawks, who fell to Iowa State, 72-64 on Saturday, have gone 225 games without consecutive defeats — the longest active streak in Div. I — entering today’s Big 12 battle against Oklahoma (8 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse). Duke has put together the second-longest streak at 110 games without back-to-back L’s.
“We know we can’t make one game turn into two,” KU junior forward Travis Releford said. “It’s something we’ve always been going by. Once we lose a game, we go from there.”
The Jayhawks had been able to string together 10 victories following a loss to Davidson on Dec. 19.
“I thought our Davidson loss probably helped us for at least a month,” said KU coach Bill Self. His Jayhawks enter 17-4, 7-1; OU is 13-7, 3-5. “We need the Iowa State loss to be a reminder of ‘When we do things a certain way, we are pretty good and when we don’t, we aren’t nearly as good.’ A loss in football can be totally demoralizing if it happens at the wrong time of the year. We are not that way at all. We have 10 more games to play, plenty of time to get right.”
KU, which was outrebounded by ISU, 36-23, vows to do a better job on the boards.
“When you say, ‘the way we rebounded Saturday,’ that would be inaccurate,” Self said, “because we didn’t rebound a lick on Saturday.”
Individually? Self has said only Tyshawn Taylor (16 points, 10 assists) had a decent stat line versus ISU. Junior forward Thomas Robinson scored 13 points off 5-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong. I don’t think he had one of his better games,” Self said. “We’re going to force-feed it to him over the next week or two to get him where he knows that (inside) is where his bread is buttered and be confident about it. Bouncing it in traffic and those sorts of things when you should rely on your go-to move to score is something he can get better at and will get better at.”
Senior guard Conner Teahan (three points, 1-6 from three vs. ISU) has hit seven threes in 35 tries over seven games.
“I hope he’s confident. He’s not made shots lately,” Self said. “I’m a big believer if you have to make shots in order to play well, you are probably not a complete player. Guys have different roles. One of his roles for us is to be a threat and knock down shots, but that doesn’t happen all the time. He has to find other ways to help us, which he will. He is more a basketball player than just a shooter.”
Noted Teahan: “I feel I’ve been getting more open looks during my slump than I was when I was shooting the ball well.”
Teahan said technically he may be “fading a bit. I wasn’t able to get in a rhythm. I need to get on the glass more. Coach has said if I focus on other things maybe the shot will start to fall, which is a good plan.”
First meeting: KU overcame a 34-33 halftime deficit to beat OU, 72-61, Jan. 7 in Norman. Releford scored a career-high 28 points while Robinson had 18 points and nine rebounds. OU’s Steven Pledger and Romero Osby had 14 and nine points respectively. OU is coming off a 63-60 win on Saturday at Kansas State. Pledger, a 6-4 junior who averages 17.8 ppg, scored 30 at K-State.
“We never had a guy go to Manhattan and put 30 on the board, the way they guard,” Self said. “He’s capable of scoring on anybody.”
No looking ahead: This game precedes Saturday’s 8 p.m. battle at Missouri.
“We can’t worry about Missouri because if we do, then Oklahoma is going to walk right in here and steal a win,” Releford said.
Releford sprained his left wrist about two weeks ago. “It’s been sore throughout the season. I’ve been fine,” Releford said.
Self praised: The Big 12 supervisor of officials, Curtis Shaw, commented on Self’s assisting ref Darron George after George was trampled in the court-storming incident Saturday at ISU. George cut his hand and chipped a bone in his knuckle.
“We have conference policies on security, but at times they are difficult to enforce,” Shaw told the Journal-World. “The enthusiasm of students is understandable and we appreciate that. I want to thank coach Self for making sure that Darron was OK. This was the losing coach, but says a lot about coach Self and who he is. He and the University of Kansas have been very instrumental and supportive of our officiating program, and I appreciate their overall support and coach Self’s personal care and professionalism.”
KU AD Sheahon Zenger on Monday received an e-mail from the Big 12 office lauding Self.
“Bill is not only a great coach. We know he’s a great person,” Zenger said. “He’s so likeable and easy to be around, but some people don’t know deep down inside how caring he really is. He cares about people.”
Records: Self is 9-3 versus OU, including a 9-1 mark while at KU. Former K-State guard and current Sooners coach Lon Kruger is 5-11 against KU, 0-1 at OU.