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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Keegan

Column: Jayhawks not yet road warriors

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) has his shot blocked by Oklahoma State forward Leyton Hammonds late in the second half on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Also pictured are Oklahoma State center Michael Cobbins (20) and Kansas guard Brannen Greene.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) has his shot blocked by Oklahoma State forward Leyton Hammonds late in the second half on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Also pictured are Oklahoma State center Michael Cobbins (20) and Kansas guard Brannen Greene.

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— The road to the Big 12 title runs through Lawrence, so many supporters of Kansas University basketball team are so proud of saying so frequently.

Think about it, though. It’s the toughness and talent required to win when the Jayhawks hit the road out of Lawrence that has been the key to winning 10 consecutive Big 12 titles.

So far, so-so in seven true road games for Kansas. After falling from 14 points ahead and losing to Oklahoma State, 67-62, in front of 10,399, many of whom stormed the Gallagher-Iba Arena floor in celebration of another so-called upset against Kansas.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self says sluggish start to 2nd half killed Kansas

KU coach Bill Self says sluggish start to 2nd half killed Kansas in 67-62 loss at Oklahoma State.

Download podcast

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis explain how OSU press bothered Kansas

Kansas University basketball players Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis explain how the Oklahoma State press bothered Kansas during Saturday's 67-62 loss in Stillwater.

Download podcast

OKLAHOMA STATE 67, KANSAS 62

Box score

Winning on the road requires having the toughness to finish shots through contact on plays that draw a whistle at home, but not on the road. It demands silencing the crowd with a string of aggressive plays when the home team’s on a roll. It means bouncing off the ropes when getting pummeled, moving the fight to the center of the ring and steadily backing the home team onto the ropes near another corner of the ring.

Kansas did none of that Saturday and its record in true road games dropped to 4-3 overall, 3-2 in the Big 12.

The seeds of trouble for Kansas were planted in a first half in which both teams attempted nine three-point shots. Kansas made seven, Oklahoma State none, a 21-point swing, yet Kansas led by 11, not 21, thanks largely to 11 turnovers on the way to 18 for the game. Inside the arc, where shots are contested, Kansas made just 11 field goals in the game and shot .333.

Really good road teams know how to take the venom of the enemy crowd and unfriendly whistles, even a phantom technical, and convert them to us-against-the-world fuel. Road warriors figure out how to scale all those hurdles. Consistently. That doesn’t mean they always win, nobody does. It means they find a way to play with what coach Bill Self called, “competitive attitude,” a word-combination he used to describe what disappointed him most.

This Kansas team, not as mature as many, doesn’t seem to fully realize that the word Kansas stripped across the chest does not make an opposing team or crowd wilt. Instead, it emboldens them.

Double-digit deficits don’t startle KU opponents. You play KU, chances are good that at some point you’re going to trail by double digits. The Cowboys seemed to look at it as getting the inevitable out of the way and then getting to work.

An emotional Allen Fieldhouse victory such as Monday’s vs. Iowa State can drive so much worship into the ears that it can make the critical lessons taught in practice during the week more difficult to hear.

Might Kansas coach Bill Self have seen this coming?

“I don’t know if I saw it coming, per se,” Self said. “They were good, so if I say we were really bad, it takes away from them being good, which I shouldn’t do that, so I’m not going to. But we certainly didn’t play the way we have played in prior games, with the energy or with the intellect or the paying attention to scouting report that we didn’t do today. We’ve been better than that.”

Including on another school’s home court. KU won at Georgetown, Baylor, Texas and TCU and the first three came against talented opponents. The combined margin of victory is 22 points in the four true road games. The combined margin of loss in the three true road games is 35 points, including a 25-point setback at Temple. Kansas is far better now than before Christmas, but it doesn’t yet have the road thing down.


More news and notes from Kansas at Oklahoma State

By the Numbers: Oklahoma State beats Kansas, 67-62

By the Numbers: Oklahoma State beats Kansas, 67-62

Comments

Reggie Flenory 4 years, 9 months ago

the fact that we were up 11 points and did not show up at all in the second half and turn the ball over 18 times just goes to show that this Kansas team will live and die by its frontcourt when our guards in our wing players can't generate offence the post players need to be able to produce ultimately the front court will determine how far Kansas goes this season

Ross Hartley 4 years, 9 months ago

Can Perry fly? I don't know, do you? What kind of hops does he have? He seems to get blocked a lot and in the picture above he is shooting already and barely above head level of defenders.

Walter Bridges 4 years, 9 months ago

It depends on your definition of flying or the venue... As a KU basketball player, my answer after 2 1/2 seasons is NO.

Mark Lindrud 4 years, 9 months ago

No other words needed Joe for a true stalwart and ambassador for college basketball. God bless.

JD Roth 4 years, 9 months ago

The legends have all gone away, Naismith, Allen, Rupp and now Smith. What a great testament to Kansas basketball. Kentucky and North Carolina built upon the foundation of KU, The University of Kansas.

Gregor Southard 4 years, 9 months ago

Didn't get to see the game because I was working but based on the stats, the big men didn't contribute anything, so KU was forced to shoot everything outside. It also appeared the 3 point shots in the first half masked how bad they really played (11 TOs). Anyway, just one game. Proud to be a graduate of Kansas University!

Clarence Haynes 4 years, 9 months ago

To use a recent quote from Aaron Rodgers......"RELAX"! Young pups will do this, but they have learned from this. All things given, this is still a very good "young" team!

Mark Lindrud 4 years, 9 months ago

This is still a young team that has flaws, but there is plenty of talent. We have won 10 straight Big 12 Titles, and we are hunted by the rest of the conference because they badly want someone else to win the conference title. Everyone gets up to play Kansas because they know the championship goes through Lawrence, Kansas.

On the road we will get everyone's best shot, and it is difficult to expect to be perfect on the road. I truly believe that if we lose no more than 2 games the rest of the way we will at least tie for the conference championship, which would be a 14-4 conference record. By the way, we went 14-4 last year to win the conference, by 2 games.

Walter Bridges 4 years, 9 months ago

Saying we "are not yet road warriors" implies that we will be.. That requires 40 min of solid basketball and that's been a rare occurrence.

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