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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Self: Jayhawks showed poise late at Texas Tech

With three seconds left, Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins puts the winning bucket off the glass to defeat Texas Tech 64-63 on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

With three seconds left, Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins puts the winning bucket off the glass to defeat Texas Tech 64-63 on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

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Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self had a good feeling about what was about to transpire as he huddled with his players with 12 seconds left in Tuesday’s 64-63 victory at Texas Tech.

“The guys were fine. I think they are confident in those situations,” Self said, referring to needing to score on the game’s final possession to overcome a 63-62 deficit and pull out a huge road win.

“The demeanor was good. I think everyone felt comfortable with what we were trying to do. Certainly, we were fortunate, but it worked out well,” Self added.

What happened, of course, is forward Perry Ellis flipped a pass to center Joel Embiid, who drove the baseline, but had the ball poked away with four ticks left. Andrew Wiggins retrieved the ball in the lane and dropped in a one-footer with 1.7 seconds left for the winner.

“Very rarely do you ever choreograph a play where it works out perfectly in a situation like that,” Self said Wednesday on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show. “What you have to do is have your best players step up and make plays and that’s what happened.”

Self’s version of the play goes something like this: “Perry threw the ball to Jo. Jo did the right thing trying to score, but he fumbled it. Andrew was ‘Johnny on the Spot’ there,” Self said.

Wiggins after the game told Self, then related to reporters, that it was the first time since he’d started playing basketball that he’d hit a buzzer-beater for the win.

“I started thinking about that. The kid is a freshman. His high school team (Huntington Prep in West Virginia) was so talented and so good I bet they didn’t play three close games a year,” Self said. “When you stop and think, he hadn’t been put in any situations like that ever. I bet he hadn’t shot the ball at game point with a chance to win maybe but once or twice in his life. Even though it was not a long shot ... he said he’s made several to tie, but not win, so I thought that was pretty neat.”

Self likes the way Wiggins drove the ball to the basket all night en route to 19 points off 6-of-11 shooting. He hit six of eight free throws and played 35 minutes.

“When Perry had that great game against TCU (32 points last Saturday), he was by far the best player on the floor,” Self said. “It was his day. But when it’s ‘nobody’s day’ that’s when guys have got to step up and make plays. To me, last night was nobody’s day. Andrew just drove the ball and created opportunities for us through rotation rebounding, and things like that were very key.”

Lots of minutes: Embiid, who had been held out of a week of basketball because of knee and back aches and pains, scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds while playing 32 minutes at Tech. Self had been planning on using Embiid about 25 minutes.

“The game was so slow. There weren’t as many possessions,” Self said. “There were so many stoppages. It’s probably my fault we didn’t play our bench the second half. Nobody was tired. We weren’t playing out of foul trouble with the exception of Perry. There were so many stoppages, guys didn’t get winded near as much.”

The only two bench players used the second half were Jamari Traylor and Tarik Black at nine and five minutes respectively.

Clinching at home?: Wins against Texas on Saturday and Oklahoma on Monday would assure KU at least a tie for its 10th straight Big 12 title. KU, 11-2 in the league, will play Texas (9-4) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and Oklahoma (8-5) at 8 p.m. Monday, both in Allen Fieldhouse. Texas lost to Iowa State on Tuesday in Ames.

“I was hoping if we could get two games this week it would be a great week regardless of how anybody else did,” Self said. “That’s still the only way it’ll be a great week, if we play well Saturday. It certainly didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings from our standpoint that Iowa State was able to beat Texas. Texas played well.”

Comments

Scott MacWilliams 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think it is a very good sign that these (mostly) young guys felt confident late in such close game. Certainly they could have done some things better, largely on the defensive end, but Tech is playing some pretty good ball these days.

For Wigs and Jojo to lead the way, especially with Jojo being out of synch to a degree, is pretty encouraging. Keep growing and going Jayhawks, work it and learn. We are looking better all the time for March!!

Rock Chalk!!

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Jonathan Allison 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Congrats to the team for taking a 2 game lead into the rematch with Texas. It's unfortunate that we have to turn around after UT and play the Monday game with OU 48 hours later. But if I'm the coach I'm telling the troops to just focus on UT for now and forget about OU until Sunday.

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Dirk Medema 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Coach once said while the Saturday/Monday schedule that the Big12 regularly schedules for KU, it is great preparation for March. It means you are on TV, and the 1 day off sequence is the same as the Madness.

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Jonathan Allison 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Since I'm not the coach, I'll pose this question: If we beat UT will Bill Self have the league office ready to celebrate a conference title on Monday against OU?

I'm guessing not. If I'm Bill Self and we clinch a share of it on Monday, I'm not doing anything till we win it outright. If that happens, then the commish can bring the trophy to Stillwater and we'll be ready to celebrate in the locker room if we beat OSU. Then we can cut down the nets at Sr. night before Wesley and Black bid adieu to AFH.

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Titus Canby 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Will Black speak on senior night? Since he's our first senior transfer, I wonder what Self's policy is.

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Rich Hetherington 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I believe he will. Did Mario Little? I'm pretty sure being at KU for your senior year of eligibility makes you a lock to speak. Not only that, but our only other senior is Wesley, so the speeches will seem a little thin if Black doesn't get an opportunity.

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Aaron Paisley 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Little was a JuCo transfer who was at KU for 3 years so his situation wasn't the same as Black's is being a senior transfer. That said, Black has earned the right to speak on senior night, but that decision is ultimately up to Self.

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Jonathan Allison 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I'd imagine that Self will tell Black that he can speak at Senior night if he wants to. He's certainly worked hard and deserves to be recognized for earning his degree and giving his all to this team. I'm sure that Black will want to speak. Jayhawk nation has embraced Black as one of our own. He belongs at KU almost as if he's been here all along.

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Erich Hartmann 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Black isnt a senior, per se, he is a grad student. But he happens to be using his 4th year of eligibility...but I bet he is allowed to speak. It should be a treat, as Tarik is an eloquent, well-spoken young man. RCJH

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Aaron Paisley 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Athletic classification and and academic classification are two different things.

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Sean Doherty 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I just have to know, Jonathan Allison, what's with all the "we" business you speak of? Are you an assistant coach? Are you a bench reserve? Are you the athletic trainer or a member of the staff in an obscure fashion? Were you one of the guys who scheduled the grueling non-conference slate? Or one of the guys recording tape everyday for the players to view? You're acting like you had a hand in this season. Please, as a grateful fan of the University, the coach, and his players, what part did you play in earning the opportunity to cut down the nets, anywhere. Do we need to ask you for permission to cut down the nets where you see fit?
This is a serious question. I did nothing but cheer for the Jayhawks and send money towards the athletic department. I do not consider myself a "we did this" type of person. So in all seriousness, where do you come to play in this "We" business?

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Eric TheCapn 6 months, 3 weeks ago

We are all Jayhawks, settle down. I'd say most sports fans use "we" from time to time; it's only an issue when commentators/the media do it, which happens a lot, especially in the NFL. 'We' appreciate your highly moral standpoint of being a detached fan though. Stay strong.

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Jonathan Allison 6 months, 3 weeks ago

No Eric. Sean Doherty is right. I am not a student, faculty, or staff member of KU or KU Athletics. I have no stake in KU Basketball. No skin in the game. I am but a petty, third-party, independent spectator. Blessed beyond measure that such a great institution even accepted me as a student, let alone granted me a degree. A piece of paper hanging on my office wall by no means grants me the right to elevate myself to a position of camaraderie with anyone within KU Basketball. I was wrong for using the pronoun "we" and implying that I was a part. To Sean Doherty, and even more so to Bill Self and the KU Basketball organization, and the legends of KU basketball's historic past "please, forgive me". I didn't even know what I was doing.

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Tony Bandle 6 months, 3 weeks ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

1] The definition of "senior" is one who has used up all his eligibility, no matter how many years and can no longer play...of course he will be allowed to speak. Technically, it's not any different than a five year redshirt senior aka Travis Releford.

2] Bill would never do anything to jepardize the long term focus of the team.....like have a video of a victory over a hated rival in the bookstore the next day..huh Kitty Kats???!!

3] WILD TIME OF YEAR!!....#1 Syracuse loses to an unranked BC team..AT HOME, #8 KU edges unranked Texas Tech on buzzer beater, #10 SLU beats unranked George Mason in overtime, #4 Arizona goes to OT to beat unranked Utah, there's a good chance unranked North Carolina beats #5 Duke tonight...the point is we must keep our focus because it's dangerous out there!!!

4] No offense, but don't we have assistant coaches on the bench to help Bill handle the little details during the game like subs and rotation...this is where we miss Coach Joe Dooley..he was always thinking three or four plays ahead of the action.

5] WOW..Jo Jo played 32 minutes..welcome back, big guy!! :).

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Mick Allen 6 months, 3 weeks ago

With regard to your paragraph number 3, Auburn, perhaps the worst team in a weak SEC was 1 point down to Florida at Florida with the ball with 30 some seconds to go and turned it over. Florida ends up winning 71-67.No one with the possible exception of WSU, who plays in that ever so tough Missouri Valley Conference, is immune from playing poorly and getting upset by a lesser foe.

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Benz Junque 6 months, 3 weeks ago

4] It's not that Self forgot to sub, he just didn't need to because they weren't tired thanks to TT taking the air out of the ball and standing around for most of the entire shot clock and playing a slow, boring zone. That will be the easiest 32 minutes of play in Embiid's career.

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Dirk Medema 6 months, 3 weeks ago

5 Duke (or should we say #3 in the ACC and 1/2 game out of 4th) lost to UNCybil. This weekend sets up one of those hard to cheer for games 'fuse @ Duke.

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Aaron Paisley 6 months, 3 weeks ago

We're seeing the evolution of this team learning how to close out games when they don't play well. Villanova, Colorado, and Florida were all close games KU lost, KU tied KSU but couldn't quite put the game away in OT, and the Tech game was KU finally finishing a close game they didn't play well in. We know this team is capable of winning multiple games in a row against good teams on short rest so still believe this team is capable of winning a national title this year.

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Garrett Coleman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

We can definitely make a run at the title Perry and Tharpehad terrible nights and we still fought, scratched, clawed our way to a win. Now only if our players can keep their respective craniums out of their own anuses and stop getting suspended we'd be in great shape.

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Andrew Dunlap 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree. this is the best 6 loss team I've ever seen. At some point, everything could come together and they would be a scary team!

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Benz Junque 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I hope you're right. I am not terribly confident at all heading into the tourney. The only thing that is good is that virtually every good team in the nation seems to be hitting a bit of a lull right now.

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