Texas defeats Kansas, 75-72

  • 8 p.m., Feb. 23, 2021
  • Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

No. 14 Texas climbs back to defeat 17th-ranked Kansas, 75-72 in OT

Jayhawks' winning streak ends at 5

Texas forward Jericho Sims blocks a shot by Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas forward Jericho Sims blocks a shot by Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


Kansas coach Bill Self has said repeatedly in the past couple of weeks that in order to win the Jayhawks were going to have to play games in the 60s.

On Tuesday night in Austin, Texas, No. 14 Texas needed overtime to climb above the 70-point mark and that was enough for the Longhorns to knock off 17th-ranked Kansas 75-72 at Frank Erwin Center.

The loss snapped KU’s five-game winning streak and made Shaka Smart’s Longhorns just the second team in Bill Self’s 18 seasons at Kansas to sweep a home-and-home regular season series with the Jayhawks.

"It's tough," Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji said after the setback. "We got it to overtime and had momentum going into overtime, but it's tough falling short."

It also came after Kansas (17-8 overall, 11-6 Big 12) built a lead of as big as 14 points in the first half, looking like a completely different team than the one that was rocked by Texas by 25 points at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 2.

The plan for the Jayhawks entering the rematch was to keep Texas from torching the nets like they did in that one.

That part of the game plan was a success.

But what the Longhorns missed from behind the arc while going 5-of-26 from 3-point range, including 1-of-13 in the first half, they got at the rim, dropping in 14 dunks while using their size, speed and athleticism to put serious pressure on the Jayhawks.

Even with that, Kansas had plenty of opportunities to win this one.

But KU shot just 29% in the second half (8-of-27) and finished just 12-of-21 at the free throw line.

"That was the difference," Kansas coach Bill Self said of KU's 57% showing at the line, compared to 77% (24 of 31) by Texas.

Agbaji led the Jayhawks with 17 points, after hitting a career-high 5-of-11 shots from 3-point range, but he was just 1-of-5 from the floor in the second half.

After a sloppy start that saw David McCormack pick up two fouls in the first three minutes of the game, the junior big man finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including the final two KU buckets of regulation, the second of which tied the game at 66 with less than 10 seconds to play to force overtime.

Jalen Wilson, who picked up his sixth double-double in the past seven games — and his ninth of the season — finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds but lost the ball out of bounds while flying in for what would’ve been a game-tying layup late in overtime.

That miscue, one of 12 KU turnovers (compared to 17 by Texas) allowed the Longhorns to ice the game at the free throw line.

"God, we were turned up," Self said of the Jayhawks' effort and intensity in the first half. "We certainly had the opportunity to close it out but just didn't make enough plays."

The Jayhawks got off to the exact start they wanted, opening up leads of 7-1 and 9-3 in the game’s first few minutes.

But the dream start quickly turned south when big man McCormack picked up his second foul on a Jericho Sims bucket inside with 16:48 to play in the first half.

That sent McCormack to the bench and was merely a glimpse at the success the Longhorns found inside throughout Tuesday’s game.

Ten of the Longhorns’ first 11 points came on uncontested layups, and UT ripped off an 8-3 run to take its first lead at 12-11 six minutes into the game.

Texas continued to pressure the Jayhawks inside throughout the first half, which inspired Self to go with a five-guard lineup out of the under-12 timeout. The move quickly paid off. After trailing 16-11 following a 13-2 Texas run, the Jayhawks went on an 15-2 run of their own to claim a 26-18 lead.

Agbaji scored five of the eight, hitting a 3-pointer from the corner and hitting two of three free throws after being fouled a couple of possessions later on a shot from the same corner.

It wasn’t just the Jayhawks’ ability to put points on the board that sparked the run. Kansas also looked like a much more confident team during the middle portion of the first half.

Never was that more evident than on the breakaway dunk by Bryce Thompson that forced Texas to call a timeout with 5:01 to play in the half.

Thompson’s dunk pushed KU’s run to 17-2 and gave the freshman nine points in nine minutes. Out of the timeout, Thompson buttered his own bread, scoring another breakaway dunk to give him 11 points and push Kansas’ lead to 34-20.

"The first half, we got anything we wanted," Self said. "In the second half, we reverted to the way we run offense when we're not very good."

While Kansas found its flow in transition and picked up some easy points off of its defense, the Longhorns continued to throw up bricks on shots outside of two feet.

After hitting 46% of their 3-point tries in a 25-point win in Lawrence in January, Texas missed their first TEN 3-point attempts on Tuesday night, and Kansas limited the Longhorns to one shot and out on most of those misses.

The Longhorns did not hit their first 3-pointer of the night until 34 seconds remained in the first half. A triple by Donovan Williams cut KU’s double-digit lead to 41-32, but two free throws by Wilson and one more defensive stop by the Jayhawks sent Kansas into the locker room at halftime with a 43-32 lead.

It took the Longhorns just 9:25 into the second half to erase that deficit.

After shooting 49% from the floor in the first half, KU opened the second half by hitting just four of its first 16 attempts and UT tied the game at 52 on a pair of free throws by Andrew Jones with 10:35 to play.

After another miss by Kansas on the next possession, Texas claimed its first lead since 18-15 on a 3-point rope by Jones with 9:10 to play.

Timeout Kansas.

The Jayhawks responded by tying the game at 57 on a Wilson 3-pointer and that set the stage for a back-and-forth rumble to the finish.

One of the best illustrations of the biggest philosophical change this team has undergone in the past few weeks came midway through the second half, when Wilson got hammered on a drive to the rim. As he slid and sprawled out below the baseline, all four Jayhawks on the floor sprinted to help him up.

“You’ve got quite a few guys on their team that are playing really well,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “And you've got a group that understands that they need each other.”

Both teams went cold in the game’s final few minutes, which set up a dramatic finish. 

Texas had equaled its first-half point output with five minutes still to play, but managed just two points the rest of the regulation, which allowed Kansas to overcome its sluggish second half to force overtime. 

McCormack’s rebound and put-back of a Marcus Garrett miss in the final 10 seconds gave KU life and tied the game at 66 at the end of 40 minutes. 

Next up, the Jayhawks will return to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday to take on No. 2 Baylor at 7 p.m. The Bears, after three weeks off, resumed play with a hard-fought home win over Iowa State on Tuesday. 

"I don't know that (Tuesday's loss) is anything that we need to hang our head on," Self said. "We don't need to be depressed about this. We need to be pissed that we didn't close. All we've got to do is come back, keep working and grinding and put ourselves in a position to beat Baylor on Saturday."


Fred Lucky 9 months, 2 weeks ago

David McCormick played the worse 20 minutes of basketball in the history of KU. Pathetic!

Blake Brown 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I yelled and screamed for him to get it together and he just didn't`t hear me while missing a wide open dunk and the uncontested rebound, touch fouls away from the basket, missed FTs, especially the front end late, the sped up pass to no one at the end, on and on.
David, can't you hear me from Santa Barbara?

Steve Zimmerman 9 months, 2 weeks ago

We had 'em. I'm very excited for next season. This season, it's probably too late. Bryce is killing it. Braun has the highest bball IQ of all the starters. You can tell how Ochai, Marcus, Wilson - they all force their ways to the basket without bball IQ. Most of them are contested layups, against UT bigs, without fake, without hesitation moves, just straight to the basket in a predictable manner. SMH.

Defensively, our team is just so superior. But our offense... let's take a deep breath.. I keep saying this over and over, in basketball, if you don't make baskets, don't expect to win. Missing bunnies, FTs, they all count. Forget about hitting 3s. We never see consistency in that department. Had we just hit 3 more FTs, it's a different story.

But overall, we look so much better - we're not going to beat Michigan or OhioState, but we could compete against BU. We can win if we have shooters. A real 3pt shooter. Next year will be a better year for KU, for sure.

Dan Leftwich 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The limitations for this team are baked in the cake, so to speak. David has a high motor that seemingly cannot be regulated. The 5th foul was awful, but the first 2 were the problem. KU has to have a threat in the middle against most teams to open up the 3 point line, but the 5 guard lineup was scrambling on defense, which led to easy offense. Texas looked shell shocked at that point. Self had a "pick your poison" decision at the start of the second half (stay small or start like the opening) and it didn't pay off. You just can't miss wide open dunks, have your small forward be your leading rebounder, and keep driving the lane to shoot against that kind of length. It reminded me of a Kentucky game a few years ago with all the wild circus attempts at the rim against 7 footers. Still, they had the opportunities down the stretch and fought like hell. That's what they have to take with them against Baylor.

Justin Kruse 9 months, 2 weeks ago

They looked great for a stretch in the first half, but terrible execution down the stretch cost them this one. McCormack's 5th foul was horrible and Christian's foul late way past the arc was just as bad. Jalen, who I thought looked pretty good attacking the rim, losing the ball on the layup, oh, and the missed free throws!

Bryce Landon 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Terrible coaching in the second half and overtime by Bill Self. Why did he wait until after Texas reclaimed the lead in the second half to call timeout and get his players to pull their heads out of their asses? Why doesn't he practice the 2-3 zone more frequently so that, when he did implement the zone late in the second half, it was better prepared to stop the UT big men? Why didn't he switch to the zone sooner than he did? The blame for a fall-from-ahead loss like this one lies squarely at Coach Self's feet. But, as usual, he blames everyone else but himself for this failure.

Ross Hartley 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Bottom line- KU missed too many open shots.

Edward Daub 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Why oh why do we all call free throws "free"?

Benton Smith "Smithology" should provide a definition.

A free throw is simply an uncontested 15 foot shot. You can shoot them any way you want, Rick Barry (underhand), Hal Greer (jump shot), etc.

Oh well, Gonzaga is Toast! Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx!

Baylor struggled to beat the Hawkeyes (oops Cyclones)!

DePaul (with Charlie Moore) at Creighton Tonight!

Tony Bandle 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Random Thoughts:

1] KU can be a good team that sometimes plays great but we are not a great team that can be good all the time.

2] After the Baylor game either 17-9 or 18-8 will be just about right for this team.

3] I'm with Stevie Z on this season's team with virtually everybody coming back and the new recruits should be pretty darn good.

4] The only catch is the elephant in the room.......the NCAA.

5] Hey, Edward D...I saw what you did there!! LOL!!!

6] Bryce, serious you have some suggestions for bright, upcoming coaching options to replace Bill Self? Sooner or later he is going to move on. Just curious.

Bryce Landon 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey Tony, no, I don't have any suggestions for a replacement for Coach Self. I don't want to see him leave. I don't want him fired (though there was a time when I did after we got humiliated by Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament). He has done an excellent job for most of his time at Kansas. All I'm saying is he did a terrible job after halftime last night.

Greg Bowles 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Bryce Landon, I hear you about coach Self. I don't want him to leave either, but I do remember a time when Jhawk nation wanted his head on a pike. His first two seasons at KU where he lost to the two B teams the first round of the NCAA tournament, Bucknell and Bradley. Everyone was screaming for his head then. He's to good of a coach to let go.

Kit Duncan 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Perhaps “Free Thow” should be called, “Uncontested Attempt to make a Basket from Fifteen feet.”

Kansas players often seem to fall short in making free throws compared to opposing teams. Last night was worse than normal.

A Tony B. “Random Thought”. How is it legal for the UT advertising billboard, which circles the arena, allowed to flash repetitively during an opposing player’s free throws? The band is not allowed to play, nor are fans allowed to use noisemakers other than handclapping. Arm waving and sign waving are OK, as well. Electronic signs, operated as they were last night, should be classed as an illegal visual distraction.

RJ King 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Was the sign flashing on the Texas FT's as well? I assume not ... just wondering if you noticed.

Kit Duncan 9 months, 2 weeks ago

No, it wasn't. I'm sure the media operator is trying to distract opposing players while they are shooting free throws. You can see the banner's reflection on the court floor. It is motionless until just prior to when the player attempts his shot, then begins flashing wildly.

Go to 4:55 Ochai is fouled shooting a 3. Oddly enough, the banner isn't flashing when he misses the first. Then, it flashes repeatedly as he shoots and makes no. 2 & 3. There are other examples of it flashing when KU players are at the line, and motionless when UT players are at the line.

Jeff Kallmeyer 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I noticed this also. You'd think Self or one of the assistants would have the wherewithal to notice & have it stopped!

Blake Brown 9 months, 2 weeks ago

quote of the day: ""The first half, we got anything we wanted," Self said. "In the second half, we reverted to the way we run offense when we're not very good."

Ryan Michael 9 months, 2 weeks ago

"First half, Dmac was on the bench with 2 fouls... Second half, he played."

That's the game. We were incredibly worse as a team both offensively and defensively against Texas with DMac on the court.

RJ King 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Why does every dunk opportunity - especially those for dMac - have to be a monster jam? Is the goal to be on espn, or to score 2 points? I get an OCCASIONAL slam, but it seems McCormack misses more than he makes. Just put the ball through the friggin' hoop.

Barry Weiss 9 months, 2 weeks ago

We got killed on the boards. This small ball stuff is hard to watch.

Bob Zielinski 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I saw many good things going on for KU last night. We obviously have a very narrow margin in games like this where an untimely turnover, missed dunk, clanked free throws really add up quickly. The one thing that disappointed me was Braun hit a 3 to start overtime on the first possession and we only made one more field goal the rest of OT. You could be playing UNC Asheville and only putting up 6 points and two FG makes will get you beat. That was our time to be aggressive and make something happen on the offensive side of the ball and we came up short. Still a great game and lots to take from it going into post-season.

Benjamin Shear 9 months, 2 weeks ago

We beat Texas in the first half because we played small ball. Texas prepared to dominate the big man game, they did not prepare for small ball. Then, at halftime, they made adjustments. Small ball no longer worked, and DMack vs Sims was a +1 for Texas. End of story.

Shannon Gustafson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Part of the reason small ball worked is because Sims was also in foul trouble. That wasn't the case in the second half so there is no reason to expect the same results. If David was having one of his good games as opposed to one of his spastic ones, we'd have won.

Mallory Briggans 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Part of a coaches job is to make adjustments . For Self to say we got whatever we wanted in the first half then to go away from it in the second half is on him. When Self decided to put EDWARD SCISSORHANDS back in so went our momentum. Self also has decided to shorten his bench .Enaruna and Grant-Foster got 0 minutes .......Self himself has said time and time again that he would rest his starters more ...and unless they are in foul trouble they get a bulk of the minutes . Again Harris gives you nothing on the offensive end trying to tell me Enaruna or Grant-Foster cant give you anything ......either. If Self can sit Enaruna and Grant -Foster then Mccormack should have sat right beside them last night. Self ..if we reverted back to bad offense in the second half you're the coach watching your team run bad offense . Youre the coach.

Kit Duncan 9 months, 2 weeks ago

If you mean DMac, he was taken out when, looking tired, he was beaten on a drive as Texas closed to within 7 (51-44). He came back in (3 minutes later) when UT tied the score at 52. He scored 6 of KU's next 14 points, plus had an assist to Marcus, including the last 4 points to tie the game in regulation. If you watch Sims he did a pretty good job of mugging Mac. Sims got away with holding Mac's jersey at his chest and the refs never called it. They DID call him for hooking DMac once when he tried to move to the basket for a pass. Though he didn't defend the dribble drive as well as he should, (the rest of the team was equally bad), DMac did NOT lose the game for Kansas.

If anything, I felt when Self went small, he left Harris in too long. Harris was great in the first half, but got sped up the second. He got beat a couple times, shot a very poor three (though wide open) and telegraphed a pass to Christian that was intercepted by Jones for a fast break and a foul on Garrett. After Jones made the free throws to tie the score at 52, DMac came back in.

Shannon Gustafson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You can't expect the same results from the small ball lineup when Sims was no longer in foul trouble in the second half. Big Dave having a spastic game certainly hurt us tremendously but there is no reason to expect small ball to dominate in the second half with Sims in there.

Glen Miller 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I have one stat for you........ KU 12-21 57% vs. Texas 24-31 77%

Texas was +12 in just that one area and we lost by 3. Been a common theme for several years now. We can't shoot free throws. We also can't make bunnies or close shots, which tells me that we've gotten too focused on the 3 and not enough on the plays that will actually win the game.

Shannon Gustafson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

While they did make 12 more, they also shot 10 more. Had we shot 10 more and still shot the lousy %, we would have 6 more points. Looking at it the other way, had they shot 10 less, they'd have 7-8 less points. So the percentage cost us less points (3ish pts) than the number of FT's shot did by a wide margin (6-8pts).

Why did they shoot 33% more FT's? Was it because we weren't driving to the basket (we were), was it because we were playing more aggressive defense (we were), was it the home court advantage?

Glen Miller 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You're throwing out a bunch of what if's.... I presented facts and tangible evidence as to why we lost (outside of terrible turnovers at inopportune times). But let's go ahead and play the game. I have just one point to make here and that is that had we made just 1 singular more free throw in regulation (hypothetically) we win. That again shows that our poor free throw shooting cost us. Number of foul shots and excuses don't mean much to me. The final score does and we shouldn't have lost this game. Free throws are a fundamental thing you practice from little league and it shouldn't be such a weakness for high level college basketball players at an elite program. I couldn't care less if we made them against Who Cares University who we beat by 30 when we can't make them when it matters. No excuse for 57% free throw shooting when you shoot as many as we did.

Shannon Gustafson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Your scenario is full of what if's too. IF we make 1 more free throw then Texas may shoot a 3 instead of a two, both teams change their strategy for each possession because the score is different (foul or don't foul, go for 2 or go for 3, etc.). It's not that simple. Regardless, having a poor FT shooting night, and/or shooting way less FT's than your opponent is not a recipe for success.

Thomas Harrison 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I think we should stop criticising current players and blaming them for KU's mediocrity this year. Step back and look again at the BIG PICTURE

The Adidas/NCAA nightmare and the threat of significant probation for the team and coaches is killing our ability to recruit championship caliber players. The "fear cloud" has been around for at least 3 years. We cannot return to the top of the BIG 12 and compete for the NCAA Championship until we can recruit high level players again. KU's administration needs to get the NCAA issue resolved critically SOON! In my opinion, our current players have more than lived up to their expectations in 2020/2021

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