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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

No knockout here: Fort Hays State coach pleased with team’s fight

Kansas center Joel Embiid yanks a rebound away from Fort Hays State forward Marty Wendel during the first half of an exhibition game on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013.

Kansas center Joel Embiid yanks a rebound away from Fort Hays State forward Marty Wendel during the first half of an exhibition game on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Frank Mason, Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor react to KU's win over Fort Hays State

Frank Mason, Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor react to KU's win over Fort Hays State

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU men's basketball coach Bill Self says team needs to turn up the energy more

Following Tuesday's 92-75 exhibition victory over Fort Hays State, KU men's basketball coach Bill Self said his team needs to turn up the energy more and he expects it will during Friday's regular season opener.

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Every time he comes to Allen Fieldhouse, Fort Hays State coach Mark Johnson has the same fear in the back of his mind.

It goes something like this: His team comes in, has a few early turnovers, misses a handful of shots and suddenly is in a huge hole shortly after stepping on the court.

That’s why Johnson was so proud of his guys following their 92-75 exhibition loss to Kansas University on Tuesday, when the Tigers avoided that early knockout blow.

“We never really hit the panic button,” Johnson said. “I think we hit the ‘tired’ button each half, but I don’t think we ever hit the panic button.”

The Tigers actually were the aggressors early, jumping out to a 12-7 lead five minutes in following a three-pointer from James Fleming from the left wing. That forced a timeout from KU coach Bill Self.

“It’s just a nice feeling for your team to be able to get off to a good start,” Johnson said. “I think it relaxes you.”

FHSU — the preseason pick to win the MIAA conference — couldn’t keep up the momentum, falling behind 56-36 at the break while battling foul issues. The Tigers had 31 total fouls, which resulted in 39 KU free throws.

“I thought when we had our main group out there and pre-foul trouble, we were competing at a high level,” Johnson said, “and I just was really proud of our guys to be able to do that.”

Johnson also was grading his players on a curve, knowing just how talented he believes this KU team will be by year’s end.

“This is the tip of the iceberg for them,” Johnson said of KU. “They’re all just probably trying to figure it out. From my perspective … the improvement from a week, I think you could see already. That’s just going to continue to happen for them next week, the week after.”

Fort Hays State's Dwayne Brunson, who put in a team-high 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, left most impressed by KU’s interior depth.

“They can just go and sub about every three minutes,” Brunson said. “They’re pretty big. They’re going to be good this year."

Johnson believes part of the reason the score remained close was the strength of his team — jump-shooting. The Tigers made 49 percent of their field goals (27 of 55), an especially high number against a Self-coached defense.

The game also was a reunion of sorts for FHSU sophomore guard Craig Nicholson, a Wichita native who played on KU forward Perry Ellis’ grade-school team growing up.

KU freshman guard Conner Frankamp also is originally from Wichita.

“I enjoyed being on the court with them again,” said Nicholson, who added 14 points. “It’s always good seeing them.”

Comments

Erich Hartmann 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice classy comments by FHSU coach and players...they came to play, and played well...I hope they have a good season and win their league. In the meantime, Self is busy grilling frosh buns right about now regarding defensive intensity, and the consistency thereof.

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John Randall 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice, classy game played by the preseason MIAA favorites. These could be two of the teams still playing in late March (in different venues).

I still have Harold Randall's 1938 letter sweater with the gold K on the chest. He was a co-captain of the last undefeated FHSTC football team the year they beat the Big6 champions (from Manhattan) in a 3-0 game on brand new Lewis Field, ankle deep in the muddy sod he and Rudy Skuball had laid that summer (and again the next).

History and tradition exist wherever you look deep enough to find them.

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Robert Robinson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I couldnt figure out if we werent playing well or Fort Hays was playing really good. I dont know if I should be mad we let them put up 75 or be happy for them This team is stressing me out and the new foul rule is killing me.

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