Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 83-66 victory over Texas A&M; on March 8, 2012.
KU guard Elijah Johnson and forward Thomas Robinson talk to reporters after the Jayhawks' 83-66 victory over Texas A&M; on March 8, 2012.
Texas A&M; coach Billy Kennedy and players Keith Davis and Khris Middleton talk to reporters following their team's 83-66 loss to Kansas on March 8, 2012.
Kansas City, Mo. Kansas coach Bill Self entered the halftime locker room and told his team that it needed to rebound better and that it stunk in that area Thursday.
Or, at least his words were close to that, KU guard Tyshawn Taylor said.
“He was a little bit upset about our rebounding, even after the game,” Taylor said following KU’s 83-66 victory over Texas A&M; on Thursday at the Sprint Center. “We’ve got to do a better job.”
The Jayhawks allowed 16 offensive rebounds against a team that came in as a below-average team on the offensive glass.
A&M; pulled down 40 percent of the available offensive rebounds (16 of 40), which tied for the Aggies’ second-best percentage in Big 12 play.
“We pride ourselves on being a big-man school. To get out-rebounded on the offensive end is unacceptable,” KU center Jeff Withey said. “We take it to heart whenever somebody outrebounds us. It’s definitely a low blow.”
Part of the reason for KU’s early struggles on the defensive glass was a slow start from forward Thomas Robinson.
The junior, who entered as one of the best defensive rebounders in the nation, didn’t pick up his first rebound until the 6:22 mark of the first half.
“It was just them playing harder than us on a couple plays. That’s all it was,” Robinson said. “That’s always a focus for me, to rebound. I was kind of upset that they got that many offensive rebounds.”
Robinson picked up his numbers in the final 27 minutes, ending with eight of KU’s 24 defensive rebounds.
Still, Self wasn’t only upset with his big men. He also challenged his guards to go after the ball harder.
“Long shots, long rebounds. So that’s our area,” Taylor said. “We’ve got to help those guys clean up. A lot of times, it’s not their fault that we don’t get the rebound.”
One of Self’s recurring messages with his team is to allow the opponent one shot or less each possession.
A&M; was able to score 16 second-chance points Thursday from its 16 offensive rebounds.
“No excuses,” Withey said. “They’re just strong guys, and they got (the ball).”
The Aggies’ offensive rebounding was one of their few highlights offensively. They made just 39 percent of their shots and had only eight assists on 25 field goals.
“I thought we actually did a pretty good job defending them,” Self said, “except on the defensive boards.”
It was only the fourth time this season that a KU opponent grabbed 40 percent of the available offensive rebounds against the Jayhawks. Towson, Oklahoma (road) and Kansas State (road) were the other teams to accomplish the feat.
“We just have to learn to be more aggressive,” Withey said, “and try to dominate the glass (today).”