Stanford coach Jerod Haase knew that Saturday would be an emotional day.
Returning to a city and an arena in which he was beloved as one of the most popular Jayhawks of the 1990s, Haase brought his strong-but-unspectacular Stanford squad to KU’s campus on Saturday afternoon and went home with something he never had experienced before — a loss in Allen Fieldhouse.
“It was certainly an emotional day,” Haase admitted after the 89-74 victory by No. 4 Kansas. “My emotions right now are more frustrated that we didn’t perform at a higher level, but I am also very proud of the way our guys performed.”
View a gallery of images from Saturday's game between the Jayhawks and Cardinal at Allen Fieldhouse.
After being introduced by the public address announcer as the head coach of Stanford, Haase received a hero’s welcome from the 16,300 fans in KU’s home gym. The ovation started much louder than any other visiting coach would get and proceeded to swell from there until Haase acknowledged it with a humble wave and smile.
“I think I will probably remember the first time at shoot-around today when I walked into the arena and saw what it looks like,” Haase recalled. “It looks phenomenal. It has a little bit of a different feel than when I played, to be honest. But they have done a great job keeping it up and making it pristine. And the sound on the scoreboard works pretty well, too. It was loud.”
KU coach Bill Self said he coached his guys up on the career of Haase so they would be prepared to appreciate Saturday’s moment. Haase certainly found some appreciation in it himself, particularly the pregame video that featured a couple of Haase highlights.
“I think Mike Lickert, who’s in charge of the video stuff, is a good friend of mine so he probably felt bad and wanted to put me in there,” Haase joked. “Coach Self said before the game it was a conscious decision for them to put me up there and I certainly appreciate it.”
Asked if he was surprised by the welcome his head coach received, Stanford junior Reid Travis laughed it off.
“No, not at all,” he said. “Right when we got off the plane, people were running to shake his hand. Like someone was telling me on the plane ride over here, he’s a legend. You definitely saw it with the ovation.”
KU’s 12-of-22 performance from three-point range on Saturday marked the third consecutive game that the Jayhawks had topped 50 percent from behind the arc.
Devonte’ Graham led the way with five triples, while Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (3), Frank Mason III (2) and Lagerald Vick (2) also each made multiple three-pointers.
The Jayhawks are 39-of-69 from three-point range in their last three games and above 40 percent (69-of-169) as a team for the season.
“Everyone can shoot,” Mykhailiuk said after the win. “Some days it is one guy, other days it can be another guy. We’re not worried about our shooting, we’re just worried about defense.”
Free throw woes continue
The Jayhawks shot just 13-of-22 from the free throw line on Saturday, good for 59.1 percent, which brought their season total below 60 percent.
Kansas now has made 104 of 174 free throw attempts this season (.598), which, Self admitted, was a concern but not one he would focus on too much.
“We haven’t shot free throws very well as a group, obviously,” Self said. “We didn’t get some of our better free throw shooters a lot of free throws today. But free throws, to me, is something you work on but it’s also something (that) the more you talk about it the more it becomes a mental thing so that doesn’t register with me on how well we played or how well we didn’t play.”
This and that...
Kansas now leads the all-time series with Stanford, 9-3, but Saturday’s KU victory snapped a two-game losing streak to the Cardinal... The Jayhawks are now 7-1 to start a season for the 10th time under Bill Self.... KU’s nation’s-best homecourt winning streak now sits at 46 games.... KU’s 29 bench points marked the highest total of the season, while the Jayhawks’ nine turnovers marked a season low.... Frank Mason’s 20-point outing moved him into 30th place on KU’s all-time scoring list, moving him past Eric Chenowith (1,281) and Jo Jo White (1,286) with 1,289 career points to date.
— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.