Kansas defeats Baylor, 69-52

  • 6 p.m., Feb. 4, 2014
  • The Ferrell Center, Waco, TX

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Reinvigorated Naadir Tharpe punishes Baylor

Kansas wins, 69-52, behind point guard's big shots

Naadir Tharpe drives the lane to the basket for two first-half points in a KU win over the Baylor Bears, 69-52, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. Tharpe led the team with 22 points.

Naadir Tharpe drives the lane to the basket for two first-half points in a KU win over the Baylor Bears, 69-52, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. Tharpe led the team with 22 points.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self talks Tharpe, Wiggins, defense after 69-52 victory at Baylor.

Bill Self talks Tharpe, Wiggins, defense after 69-52 victory at Baylor.

Download podcast


Box score

— Baylor basketball coach Scott Drew had a big smile on his face as he passed Kansas University’s Bill Self in a hallway after the Jayhawks’ 69-52 victory over the Bears on Tuesday night in Ferrell Center.

“Hey, Bill, thanks for getting on Tharpe today,” Drew cracked. “He said you got on him good today.”

“He played well,” Self responded before wishing Drew and his Bears good luck the rest of the season.

KU junior point guard Naadir Tharpe, who had a nice chat with Drew in the post-game handshake line, exploded for 22 points off 9-of-13 shooting (4-of-6 from three) with four assists against two turnovers, plus five rebounds, just a few hours after receiving an earful from his head coach at shoot-around.

“Yes, coach was getting onto me at practice,” Tharpe said, confirming Drew’s revelation. “I knew I was going to have to come out today and have a good game.”

What did Self say to Tharpe, who scored just three points in Saturday’s loss at Texas and was benched the last 10 minutes of that game?

“He just gets onto me at practice sometimes,” Tharpe said. “When he gets onto me at practice, tells me I’m not leading, I know I have to pick it up.”

Tharpe exploded for 14 points the first half, while Perry Ellis added 10 as the (17-5, 8-1) Jayhawks raced to a 35-27 halftime lead. Tharpe hit six of nine shots while playing 19 minutes the initial half and 38 minutes for the game.

“I just felt there were opportunities for me to score the ball. I was trying to stay aggressive the whole game,” the 5-foot-11 Worcester, Mass., native stated. “Certain times we couldn’t find anything. I was just trying to make a shot to help the team.”

Tharpe, who had taken just 13 shots the last four games — scoring three versus Texas, 12 against Iowa State, none versus TCU and six against Baylor in Lawrence — had a pivotal three in Tuesday’s victory.

His straight-on shot upped a 45-42 lead to 48-42 with 12:31 left. That opened an 11-2 run that stretched the three-point lead to 12 (56-44) at 7:51.

“We ran bad offense the whole possession,” Self said, adding, “that may have been the biggest basket of the game. They had momentum. I thought that was a big shot. It was crap offense and we scored on that shot.”

Tharpe said he was just trying to make a play.

“The play died down, didn’t work out,” Tharpe said. “Usually if that’s happening we get a high ball screen or run flat. I decided to run flat and make a play and I did.”

He said he was determined to have a better game after being benched late in the Texas contest.

“I knew that last game we played in Texas ... that wasn’t Kansas basketball at all,” Tharpe said. “Me being point guard and leading the team ... I was down on myself. I didn’t do anything to help the team. I knew we had a quick turnaround coming in Waco and I had to play better.

“We have to be aggressive. Against Texas, even though Texas played a tremendous game, we kind of beat ourselves. After they made a play, we had nothing to come back with. Today in Waco, we had to come out with some fire,” Tharpe noted.

His teammates were impressed.

“Naadir was unbelievable ... stepping up to the plate,” said senior center Tarik Black, who had six points and nine boards on a night Embiid (five points, seven boards) was in foul trouble. Ellis had 14 points and 10 boards.

“He’s our point guard ... our leader,” Black added.

Tharpe’s coach was equally impressed while also applauding guards Frank Mason and Wayne Selden for slowing down Brady Heslip, who hit four threes the first half and none the second. Heslip was 4-for-10 form three, good for 12 points.

“Naa was great. He didn’t take a lot of shots, well he took 13,” Self said. “I thought all were good. I thought he played even better than his stat line. He needed that. We needed him to be good tonight, especially when playing against a zone.”

Tharpe is hoping to become a bit more consistent in coming games.

“That’s what I’ve got to do,” he said of the way he played on Tuesday.

KU will next meet West Virginia at 3 p.m., Saturday, in Allen.


Ethan Berger 7 years ago

I had this feeling before the season, and some game have reaffirmed it. Tharpe is a guy who can score from any place on the court. This is how we need Tharpe to play every game. Be the go to guy, he can score with ease. Rather it's a 3, off the dribble mid range, runner or layup. I saw last year that he is also a great passer but we haven't really seen that much this year. I think this has to do with chemistry. If Embiid comes back and we only lose Wiggins, I think Tharpe has a very good chance of leading this team to a title. I was watching highlights of the 07/08 team and the thing I realized was how good their chemistry was. They had so many alley oops and communicated so well on defense. If we can get that chemistry up much more, Tharpes passing will come out more. Not only that, but others guys scoring will go up also. Tharpe can be so good, he just has to mentally be in it. Tonight he was and he played just amazing.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

He had 12 A vs 0 TO's 2 or 3 games ago, and we won going away. This team does not need Naa to score 20+ pts. There are plenty of people to score. We do need him to be a leader. Sometimes, that will mean scoring points.

Suzi Marshall 7 years ago

Against the zone tonight it was really important for Tharpe to score.

Ethan Berger 7 years ago

You're right, we don't need him to score 20. But we need him to be assertive. Take open shots when they are there, when the team is struggling find shots to help boost moral. Texas took him serious as a scorer and because of that he didn't really try to find shots. Tonight he found shots and it ended up rubbing off on other guys.

Steve Zimmerman 7 years ago

I'm with you on Tharpe being sharp-shooter, Ethan. We can't depend on the posts, wings, they are very inconsistent. They can be as good as 07/08 team, come to think of how they settle on individuals hook shots, jumpers, one-n-done type of offense. Sure, sometimes they hit high FG% (against smaller teams?)... but these past two games, I saw so many opportunities that they can throw lob (or even simple pass) between bigs that would result in dunks. I've seen Black + Jamari passing to each other - that's beautiful. Perhaps like Ethan mentioned, it's chemistry.

Anyway.. The most memorable play from today was that half-court pass from Tharpe to Wiggins! that was really sick!

Suzi Marshall 7 years ago

Hurrah!! now that is more like it. I'm sure glad to not be a BU basketball fan, What a differcne when Tharpe was on his game runnning the O. He through some real 3 ball daggers at BU. .20 assist on 25 baskets! Not bad guys, not bad.

Best of all....we played some team D, led by Wiggins and the great D played by Selden on Haslip in the second half. Once again Wiggins reminded me alot of MJ. When MJ had off shooting nights, he'd always play lights out D and then late in the game he'd clip in 11 or 14 points like AW did tonight. I'm not too concerned about Wiggins low percentage shooting because he's got the stroke. If he gets some good practice time, he's going to perfect the release, which is always solid from the line.

Poor Mason, he tried his best in the first half to cover Haslip but made some mistakes to allow himself to get screeened...and was scorched with 4 Haslip 3s against him. I think this was the first really good D game Selden had.

Having a healthy Black is huge. That guy can flat out plan. With Black having our back, I personally, I don't mind off nights by Embiid because they may help him to decide to stay another year.

Mike Riches 7 years ago

Fantastic game! We were fortunate to attend this one in Waco. It is interesting, just a few short years ago, the Ferrell Center would have been about 50/50 KU/BU fans, that certainly is not the case any more. Perhaps it's because their program has had more success in recent years, perhaps it's because the DFW fans decide to go to TCU and skip the Waco trip, maybe other reasons, but there was a whole lot more green than blue tonight.

I don't know if it was because I was screaming so loud, or maybe because we were in a nice little nest of Jayhawk fans, but when Wiggins hit the half court shot, it sounded as loud as any time Baylor fans were cheering. Rock Chalk!

Asad Zoberi 7 years ago

It is obvious that Joel E is not the same player. One can tell from his facial expressions. He is playing scared. He is lacking the aggressiveness. He is not being able to finish. His control is not good.

Is he too consumed in the 1st overall pick hype or is this the result of playing with a bad knee. If yes he should be given some rest, let him sit in the next couple of games and let Black and Lucas handle the duties because I really believe that he is the key for our title hopes this year.

Luca Rossi 7 years ago

RockkChalkk Thoughts:

1) Very nice game by Tharpe. Everyone talks about his offense which was great but I'd like to compliment his defense. This was the first game in a while where there was actually full court defensive pressure on the ball handler. Tharpe was picking up his man on full court most of the game which was great. It wasn't slowing them down too much but you can tell that the Baylor offense wasn't running smoothly and it could just be the point guard having to worry about the defense more than normal and struggling to call the plays. I actually saw one point where he was pushing to get a 5 second call, almost got it too. Still none on the year but they are getting closer. Note that even though the defensive pressure was increased and they played up closer to their guys, there weren't many times where they got burned because of it. Nobody was getting driven by. If these guys see that they can play closer to their man and not get beat then they are likely to do it more often.

2) Transition game: Traditionally, KU is a team that runs like gazelles up and down the court and scores a ton of points in transition. Even after made baskets the other team struggled to get back down the court fast enough to stop KU from a lightning fast strike back. This trend seems to have stopped with this year's team. This game was the first in a while where there were several transition buckets. The team this year is one of the most athletic we've ever had and is built for that type of a game. We're beating teams with a half-court offense but could make it so much easier if the transition game was finely tuned.

3) WVU: Be careful Saturday against WVU. They have been competing in the big 12 this year and shouldn't be taken lightly.

Nancy Borst 7 years ago

Did the Texas game get into Embiid's head? He was just out of it last night after the beating he took at Austin.

Bryce Landon 7 years ago

Naadir Tharpe was the leading scorer and the best player on the court for Kansas last night, and he still isn't getting the credit he deserves b/c of Wiggins. Wiggins didn't have a great game (the halfcourt shot notwithstanding), but he got more attention last night than Naadir.

Shane Johnston 7 years ago

Wiggins had a great game last night. The most complete game of anyone on the court. His numbers were higher than Tharpe's in every category other than points: 4 FTs, 5 assts, 7 rebs, 3 stls, 2 blks, 0 TOs. When is the last time Naadir had three steals in game?

We don't need Naadir to score 20. In fact, ideally he doesn't shoot 13 times. We need Naadir to shoot a good percentage, consistently play defense, take care of the ball and get assists.

Tony Bandle 7 years ago


1] Regarding Jo Jo's performance or lack thereof, I chalk it up to more to a freshman who is only in his fourth year of basketball playing his 3rd game in 8 days with the last two on the road than any major psychological traumatic hangover from the Texas game.

2] No doubt, virtually every OAD would benefit from another "season of seasoning" before hopping to the League. I think Jo Jo's benefits in particular would be high on the improvement end.

3] Just think if Embiid came back with the addition of Cliff and Hunter plus Perry, Jamari and Landon....our front line could be nicknamed " The Bod Squad"!!

4] Bill Self should demand that KU's first offensive play of the game is Wiggins driving hard to the hole....hit a bucket, slam a dunk, take a foul, commit a charge, get blocked or stripped.....doesn't matter. JUST TURN HIS MOTOR ON!!!!!

5] Naadir needs to keep hitting the threes to draw out the defense so we can pound it into the hole.

6] I've put a call into the FBI, Missing Persons far no clue on AW III.

7] First half of conference schedule KU is 8-1 with away games at ISU, TX, OU, TCU and BU out of the way......not too shabby. Figure home victories against OU, TX, TCU, TT and WV plus a split of the remaining 4 road games [at worst] 2-2 that becomes 15-3 and almost surely Title Ten!!

Luca Rossi 7 years ago

4) Totally agree. When the buzzer beater shot went in before half there was absolutely no reaction or celebration to it going in. Its like he expected it to happen. After his basketball days are over he could have an equally bright future as a poker pro!

5) Sounds a little dirty.

7) It would appear that way but a lot can change, hope they just take one game at a time and the fans keep chanting as the games come to an end. RCJH!

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

22 games in, hopefully 18 more to go, (9 conf./3 B12 Tourn/6 NCAA's).

What do we know?

One thing we know is that almost every game it will be someone different needing to step up to win the game. Its not one guy, its 7 or 8 that can do it. There are plenty of choices, and they are all capable, but I have almost given up thinking this guy or that guy needs to play well for us to win. It just does not matter as long as one or two do, and we play decent defense. If we rebound and do not turn over the ball we can be extremely dominating while winning.

Another thing that stands out, Tharpe is the key, but he only needs to contribute; assists, 3's, points, and or leadership. He does not need to do everything for us to win. He needs to adjust to whoever is on their game, sometimes it will be him, recognize the solution to winning and push those buttons. He should not try to duplicate any game, they are all going to be different this year, someone will emerge. If not see Texas game...

One more thing we know, we should appreciate what they are, not that they are not a "typical" Bill Self Kansas team. Short comings in defense, or field goal %, or fouls, points-per-possession, or anything else should not be the concern. With the way that fouls are being called this year, all those stats are tainted somewhat anyway. What we should appreciate is that we are in great shape for another B12 Championship, clearly the class of the B12 "again", and in the discussion for a long run in the NCAA's. All of these are Kansas Basketball too. In fact at the end of the season it is how we typically measure success with our program anyway.

So we do know a lot about our team and I proud of them and our fans.

Let's enjoy the last 18 games this season and can someone pass the popcorn its going to be fun to watch!

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

Regarding AW3: A case of a 50th ranked player being replaced by a 30ish ranked player, who is a bit taller, and has a slightly better shot. Greene's 3form is pure! And you know Self likes that ornery/aggressive streak that Greene definitely possesses. Also, I think Greene's feet are naturally quicker & faster, thus he can set up for shots quicker, thus making his whole release quicker. It is now a proven fact in games. Greene IS a cold-off-bench deadeye shooter.

Honestly, if we didnt have Wiggins...Greene would be starting at the wing, backed up by AW3, with about a 28mpg (Greene) to 12mpg (AW3) split. And I think we would be just fine. But I do love seeing Wiggins play, and the D-intensity he a kid that good just has a nose for the ball.

Embarrassment of riches, to be sure, this season...RCJH

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

Lots of green color in the Ferrell Center: empty seats!! (their chair-backs are green). See headline photo...Anyone else notice how "dead" that arena was, even in the 1st half, when it was anybodys game?? Be thankful, Jayhawks, for the arena, tradition, coach, and players that we have!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.