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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Notebook: Elijah Johnson quiet after loss; Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore named Wooden finalists

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson (15) lays in a basket past Rico Gathers (2) in KU's game against the Baylor Bears on Saturday in Waco, Texas.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson (15) lays in a basket past Rico Gathers (2) in KU's game against the Baylor Bears on Saturday in Waco, Texas.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after loss to Baylor

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 81-58 loss to Baylor on March 9, 2013.

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Box score

KU-BU

— Kansas University senior point guard Elijah Johnson was a man of precious few words after Saturday’s 81-58 loss to Baylor in Ferrell Center.

“Went braindead” is how he described what took place after KU cut a 17-point deficit to six during crunch time, only to have the Bears outscore KU, 20-3, the rest of the way en route a 23-point victory.

“Unexpected. Not Pierre, unexpected from Jefferson,” Johnson added of the explosive scoring of forward Cory Jefferson, who had 25 points off 11-of-13 shooting. Point guard Pierre Jackson, the Big 12’s leading scorer, had 28 off identical 11-of-13 marksmanship.

Johnson merely shook his head from side to side as his response to three other questions from media members after his Jayhawks fell to 26-5 overall, 14-4 in league play. Obviously he and the Jayhawks were not happy campers as they excited Ferrell Center, despite winning a piece of the Big 12 title (with Kansas State).

“I mean, it was pretty quiet (in locker room),” said freshman Perry Ellis, who scored 12 points off 5-of-7 shooting. “There’s nothing we can do now. We’ve got to go to the Big 12 tournament and just play.”

Ellis said he “was trying to be aggressive and help my team,” when he entered early for Kevin Young, who picked up two quick fouls. Ellis played 22 minutes; Young 15.

Wooden finalists: KU’s Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey have been named two of 15 finalists for the 2013 John R. Wooden Award, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced on ESPN College GameDay Saturday.

Other finalists: Anthony Bennett, UNLV; Trey Burke, Michigan; Erick Green, Virginia Tech; Shane Larkin, Miami (Fla.); Doug McDermott, Creighton; Victor Oladipo, Indiana; Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga; Mason Plumlee, Duke; Otto Porter, Georgetown; Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State; Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State; Nate Wolters, South Dakota State; Cody Zeller, Indiana.

The 10-player Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wooden Player of the Year will be announced on ESPN during the Final Four Weekend in Atlanta.

The 2013 Wooden Award Gala will take place April 11-13, 2013, at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. KU’s Bill Self will receive the Legends of Coaching Award at the banquet.

Gear available: KU’s 2013 Big 12 championship hats and T-shirts were on sale at kuathletics.com and kustore.com moments after Oklahoma State wrapped up a 76-70 victory over Kansas State about 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

Next: KU, as the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, will play at 2 p.m. Thursday against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Texas Tech and West Virginia. If KU wins, it would play in the 6:30 p.m., semifinals Friday against either Oklahoma or Iowa State. The finals are 5 p.m. Saturday.

This, that: KU was led in scoring by Ben McLemore, who matched his jersey number with 23 points — his highest total in a road game this season — and passed Danny Manning (496) to become the all-time leading freshman scorer in Kansas history with 517 points during the regular season. ... KU leads the all-time series with BU, 19-4, with wins in four of the last six meetings. BU beat KU in Waco for the first time since 2001. .. Despite the loss, KU clinched a share of its 13th Big 12 regular season title and 56th overall conference regular season title — the most in NCAA Division I history. KU’s streak of nine straight is the longest active streak in the country and ties for fifth most in NCAA Division I history. Ohio State, Belmont and Murray State entered the season having won three league crowns in a row.

Comments

Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 9 months ago

Man, that sucked, plain & simple. We knew that BU would be hungry and scrapping for a win, and didn't rise to the level they brought. And they sure didn't have an answer for Jefferson.

Would it have made a difference if the game was BEFORE Ksu played? I'd like to think so, but hard to know. Glad we have a part of the 9th championship, but NOT a good way to win it.

Never mind, it's just one game, and I think the coaches will get the crew all rowing in the same direction ASAP.

ROCK CHALK!!!

SaltLakeHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

As much as that game sucked, we didn't win or lose (a piece of) the Big 12 championship playing just 1 game against Baylor. We won it through a much larger body of work, over the course of 16 games. A conference championship reflects sustained success. 9 straight conference championships is mind-blowing. That's a 9asty.

Therefore, congrats, 'hawks on yet another successful conference season!!! This was a memorable one, with no shortage of drama along the way. I can't remember another KU team that had so many nail-biters in one conference season. I think the KU fanbase aged 3 conference championships during this one.

Bad way to end it, but I'm still very proud of these hawks, and I still really like this team's chances going into both tournaments ahead of us.

Here's hoping we get the opportunity to pound both Baylor and K-State in the conference tourney.

George Powell 1 year, 9 months ago

Coach needs to shoulder some of the blame. Sometimes you really need to change up the defense, especially if your getting man-handled at the guard position on man2man. Also, Young seemed out of sorts, never saw him smile at all, even at the beginning of the game.

jhox 1 year, 9 months ago

You're right. Just a horrible defensive effort. I doubt not knowing the KSU score would have made a difference. We just flat stunk up the place. I never thought I'd live to see the day when Scott Drew would out coach anyone. His offense absolutely picked us apart.

Mike Bratisax 1 year, 9 months ago

Withey showed why he has no chance for the Wooden Award. A great shot blocker but not much of an offensive game and too soft against athletic big men.

Christopher Hauser 1 year, 9 months ago

Our perimeter players did not get Withey the ball, he only had three shot attempts the whole game. Our lack of rotation on the defensive end also led to his foul trouble. Withey needs to touch the ball on the majority of posessions so we can play inside out which did not happen. Of course Withey has no offensive game when he rarely touches the ball.

Kevin Jenkins 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, yes another loss to Tcu. Oops, it was Baylor. Okay, Ej man up and say you forgot the car keys, you always say you drive this team. Where were the Seniors last night? No guards were guarding, no leadership, no help from the big men and just step to the side and let them make a score. But atleast let the freshman came to play. Why didn't Self just bench the starters and let someone who wanted win play. Could have put all the coaches sons in, I'm sure they wanted to win the title out right.

joshuamc914 1 year, 9 months ago

Let the overreaction begin. We willies in the first round of the big XII tourney and we will lose in the first round of the big dance. This team is terrible wont won again blah blah blah..... Stop overreacting losing on the road when you're a top team that doesn't happen this year smh. Fans stop acting like this team is Teflon c'mon baylor was hot Jefferson hit three 3's and haa a career night it wasn't om he cards. I don't mind this loss we came out flat and got beat it happens this team will be fine, but stop with the world is falling blaming people for the loss it was a group effort and this loss will make the team better. Mark it down this team will win the big 12 title tournament mark it down!!!

Ron Franklin 1 year, 9 months ago

Sounds like we had the wrong scouting report and It hurt badly.

ccarp 1 year, 9 months ago

Wish we could have got the win, but really nice to see Perry get hot and for Ben to have a solid road performance. Hope everyone firing on all cylinders from here out. Rock Chalk!

George Powell 1 year, 9 months ago

I too, liked Perry's effort. I really hope he plays like that in the tournaments.

Beate Williams 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't know what happened after we cut the 17 point lead down to 6 but that demonstrated we didn't need to change what we were doing, we simply needed to continue it but for whatever reason we went brain dead again.

I think we simply took them to lightly and paid for it but it is not the end of the world and I can't see how Drew's coaching had anything to do with this win. Jefferson had a career night, has never played with that much gumption and will probably not do it again...so maybe we helped them to get into the tournament, that's good for the Big 12 and that is about the only good thing, Perry and Mc's performance aside, about yesterday's game.

Steve Reigle 1 year, 9 months ago

I have never liked the term "a good loss," but this loss will hopefully serve as a reminder the rest of the way. I'd still rather we'd won this one but I sure hope something good comes out of this loss. Ellis was a big plus and I, too, hope this is the beginning of big things for him. He's a classy young man, too.

fansincewilt 1 year, 9 months ago

It is going to be an interesting tourney. I hope the Jayhawks win but I think it will be the one team of maybe at least six that is on a roll that will win this one. It is good to see Ellis really coming on. He just could be the difference.

KEITHMILES05 1 year, 9 months ago

Agree seniors were basically non-existent. Hope this lights a fire under them.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 9 months ago

THE GLASS HALF FULL.

1] 9th straight conference title.

2] High NCAA seed

3] Chance to get back on the tracks in the Big 12 Tourney.

4] Perry starting to emerge.

5] BenMac America's top freshman and NBA lottery pick.

THE GLASS HALF EMPTY.

1] Another bad loss to an inferior team.

2] Maybe there is a reason we have four seniors...just not good enough for the next level.

3] Disturbing disappearance of senior leadership.

4] We lost to Scott Drew.

5] WE LOST TO FRIGGIN" SCOTT DREW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dehawk 1 year, 9 months ago

The worst is the #5 on your list for half empty. And I'm excited about #4 on half full. Who knows what CS will need to do to get "all" of his players' minds in the game. But we will be playing against players who can shot outside or bigs who will be very physical, so they need to expect both.

SaltLakeHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

You're right, Scott Drew was on fire from three. Scott Drew's stroke looked pure.

Kevin Jenkins 1 year, 9 months ago

Okay, maybe we did when 26 games. And our freshmen played well. If you look at previous games and compare them to this one. We all want to figure out what happened? Look at our team at Iowa state and tell me this was the same team at Baylor. I love KU basketball and I remember some teams that weren't suppose to win, but they did. 1988 and even last years runners up. The key to them was motivation and pride. Some say it's okay to lose, but I feel you are still KU, show them who really deserves the big 12 title outright. And we do have the talent. We all have seen it before.

monkeehawkSL8 1 year, 9 months ago

Let's see, 39pt performance= blackout. Not showing up to play= brain dead. OK, I never believed I would want anyone to be in a blackout. (I have some ugly history with them) As long as there is a designated driver..... wait a minute, we have a problem. Did EJ say he starts the car or drive's the car?

This team maybe suffering from a confidence problem. Senior night @ home they played with poise and confidence. On the road Jeff passed up a 12ft shot and instead attempted to pass to Kevin who was already boxing out for the shot he would have taken at home. Jayhawks you have it, use it. Get hungry or you'll be going home early. RCJH KAAAAAAAUOOOOOOOOOO

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