Texas defeats Kansas, 84-59

  • 11 a.m., Jan. 2, 2021
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, January 2, 2021

No. 3 Kansas suffers lopsided 84-59 loss to No. 8 Texas, snaps 8-game win streak

The Kansas bench sits quietly during the remaining minutes of their 84-59 loss to Texas, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Kansas bench sits quietly during the remaining minutes of their 84-59 loss to Texas, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.


What third-ranked Kansas lacked in the way of energy and emotion during its first game of 2021, No. 8 Texas more than made up for in rolling over the Jayhawks with style and a smile, 84-59 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Saturday’s loss to the Longhorns snapped KU’s eight-game winning streak and ended a streak of 17 consecutive Big 12 victories for KU and 13 consecutive home victories.

It also was just the 15th loss in the Jayhawks’ home building for KU coach Bill Self and the worst home loss of the Self era.

In fact, the only real drama of the day came on KU’s final possession, when the Jayhawks had two cracks at cutting the Texas lead under 25, which would have prevented the Jayhawks from tying for the worst Allen Fieldhouse loss in school history. Kansas also lost to Missouri by 25 points at Allen Fieldhouse back in 1989.

Instead of avoiding the same fate, Tristan Enaruna and Tyon Grant-Foster both missed, putting Saturday’s setback in the record books for good.

Not that Self needed that distinction to remember it.

“Lose by three or you lose by 25, I told myself it didn't make any difference this game,” Self said. “How do we learn a lesson that’s going to help us move forward?”

That approach, and not some kind of tongue-lashing, was the focus of the Jayhawks’ postgame chat in the locker room, which lasted a little longer than normal and featured Self asking his guys what kind of team they wanted to be.

“We already got our ass kicked once today,” Self said after the loss. “We didn't need to have it kicked again in the locker room. But we’ve got to regroup. We’ve got to decide if we want to be a team that makes other people play bad and if that’s what we take the most pride in. Because it certainly didn't look like that today.”

Texas jumped on the Jayhawks (8-2 overall, 2-1 Big 12) from the start, ripping off a 10-2 run to open the game and leading by eight at halftime.

Kansas missed its first eight shots of the game and was flat with its outside jumpers all afternoon. Ochai Agbaji scored 11 first-half points to keep Kansas close, but the Jayhawks got little else from their offense en route to shooting 32.4% during the first 20 minutes.

That changed in the second half, when Jalen Wilson got on an early roll. The powerful guard scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the Jayhawks’ first 16 points of the second half, including a 3-pointer that cut the Texas lead that had ballooned to 10 down to four with 17:23 to play.

Texas responded with 3-pointers on its next three possessions — from three different players — to push the lead back to double digits. The surge sparked a 29-10 UT run that buried the Jayhawks and sent some of the 2,500 fans inside Allen Fieldhouse for the exits as early as the 8-minute mark of the second half.

Texas’ turning a four-point lead into 12 with those triples, also marked the moment that Self thought his guys unofficially surrendered.

“We shouldn't have been, but we were basically done after that I think, emotionally,” Self said.

How did he know?

“There was a blank stare in the huddles after (UT) started that second-half barrage with about 15 (minutes) left,” Self said. “We’ve got to become much tougher mentally and we’ve got to be able to grind through bad things. And today we didn't do that. But give them credit. They weren’t going to let us do that.”

The Longhorns (8-1, 2-0) controlled this one from the start and they did it on both ends of the floor. Five UT players reached double figures. Seven Longhorns made at least one 3-pointer. And Texas outscored Kansas in the paint, in transition and off the bench.

In delivering the program’s second ever win inside Allen Fieldhouse, including the first for head coach Shaka Smart, who improved to 2-10 against Kansas at Texas, UT out-rebounded KU 46-37, out-shot KU 49% to 31% and dominated the 3-point element of this one, knocking in 12 of 26 3-pointers compared to just three of 23 for Kansas.

With their outside shots not falling, the Jayhawks looked to drive more in the second half. It worked initially, especially for Wilson.

“But at that point it was too late,” Agbaji noted.

Saturday’s game was the first in 11 days for the Jayhawks, many of whom took some time off to be with their families over the holidays. But no one in the home locker room was using that or the early start as the reason for KU’s lack of energy and sluggish play.

“We just weren’t ready to play today,” Agbaji said. “Plain and simple.”

Even one of KU’s few bright spots on Saturday surfaced because of disappointment elsewhere.

The Jayhawks got a nice lift from senior forward Mitch Lightfoot midway through the first half, when junior forward McCormack was on the bench after a rough start.

In 5:19, Lightfoot blocked two shots and helped KU’s offense with his spacing and ball screens.

Lightfoot’s effectiveness did not go unnoticed and he was rewarded with a starting nod to open the second half. In the first couple of minutes of the half, Lightfoot was involved in a trap that forced a Texas turnover.

“I just wanted some energy,” Self said of the reason for going with Lightfoot in the second half. “Mitch obviously has more energy than just about anybody on our team, and I didn’t think David really produced at all the first half. So I just wanted to give Mitch a chance. He certainly deserves a chance.”

Neither player was much of a factor in the second half, when Lightfoot played a little more than nine minutes compared to just under three minutes for McCormack.

Self even elected to go with his five-guard lineup for portions of the second half, with Tyon Grant-Foster playing in that spot. But that failed to produce the desired result against a bigger, faster, more athletic and more experienced Texas team that played like it could smell blood and seemed to relish the look of shock on the faces of the Jayhawks.

“In order for us to be a good team that competes against athletes and skilled people like that, we’ve got to be turned all the way up,” Self said. “And we weren’t turned up. I think our energy level was poor. I think we looked slow.”

Added Wilson: “This doesn’t happen in the fieldhouse. This (type of loss) hasn’t happened in 18 years (of the Self era). This is very embarrassing. Just take this game and move on. We can’t hold our heads (down) on this. We’ve got a road game coming up on Tuesday.”

That’s when Kansas will hook up with TCU for a 9 p.m. tipoff on ESPN from Fort Worth, Texas.


Robert Brock 3 months, 1 week ago

The cardboard cutouts need to bring more energy. Maybe add a laugh track and some Benny Hill music.

Bryce Landon 3 months, 1 week ago

I had to work today, and boy am I glad I did, because I missed out on a historically bad loss. A program with KU's pedigree has NO BUSINESS losing at home by 25 to anyone, even when fan attendance is restricted because of a pandemic. James Naismith and Phog Allen would turn in their graves if they knew how poorly KU played today! Some of the players ought to have their scholarships ripped, and Bill Self should take a pay cut after a showing like this!

Also, the article mentions that the 25-point margin ties for the worst KU loss in Allen Fieldhouse, tied with a 25-point loss suffered to Missouri in 1989. At least the KU team that got thumped by Mizzou back then had the excuse of being hamstrung by NCAA probation. What excuse do this year's Jayhawks have for such a piss-poor showing?

Steve Zimmerman 3 months, 1 week ago

Watch the game first, then make more comments. There's no excuses, we don't have the kind of players that can match up against good team backed with athleticism and coaching (yes, whether you agree or not, Shaka is legit) like UT. We beat UK. They've got similar players, difference is experience and team cohesiveness.

Bryce Landon 3 months, 1 week ago

"Watch the game"? What sort of masochist do you think I am?

Shannon Gustafson 3 months, 1 week ago

Shaka is not legit. He's "OK" and he's a pretty good recruiter but his Texas teams have underachieved EVERY year he's been there. This team my finally break that streak but historically, he's not legit by any stretch of the imagination. He's been on the hot seat for years because he's not legit.

Layne Pierce 3 months, 1 week ago

Let's be honest, we all knew we were not the 3rd best team in the nation, we are probably the 3rd best in the Big 12, and that is if we improve, and play hard every game on defense.

This looked a lot like Arizona St, a couple of years ago, except Texas has a front line.

We would actually have been better off making them drive to the basket. They would probably get a layup, but so many threes were a killer.


Shannon Gustafson 3 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, we were #3 because there was no one else to make a case for and it's hard to move teams down the rankings if they don't lose. Ultimately it doesn't matter though, the score is the same regardless of the rankings.

Steve Zimmerman 3 months, 1 week ago

More bigs, with the same kind of offense hi-low or more bigs as in UT bigs, who can handle ball, plus athleticism? We need length, with athleticism plus scoring ability. Not bigs like Lawson (luckily he can score), or Enaruna (has yet to prove his productivity), or Silvio/David/Mitch/Gethro (can't handle ball, can't score reliably). Not just bigs, we need scorers, too. How can we recruit like those '06-08' players caliber again?

David Howell 3 months, 1 week ago

I taped the game, but my dad told me not to bother watching. When will this spoiled bunch wake up and realize that aren't as good as advertised and that teams are not going to lay down for them ......

Is HCBS going to have to sit the starting 5 to wake them up ? This game is not an anomaly. They have been barely winning games that they should have won by more. Quitting at home is unacceptable. At this point finishing in the top half of the Big12 will be difficult. Baylor is going to beat them like a little step brother !

Shannon Gustafson 3 months, 1 week ago

They are not going to blow out many teams this year, they aren't that sort of team. With that said, they did dominate a top 10 WV team in their last game so I wouldn't act like it's not happened all year.

There are games every year where one team shoots like garbage (well below their averages) and the other shoots lights out (well above their averages). This was one of those games. If both teams shot to their averages it wouldn't have been anywhere near the same outcome. It's not like KU is the only team who played bad today either. Baylor was losing to a historically bad Iowa St team with less than 9 minutes left in the game. At least our loss was against a top 10 team. If Baylor played like they did today against a top 10 team, they would have got blown out as well. Fortunately for them they were playing a crap team instead.

You're out of your mind if you think this means we'll not finish in the top half of the Big 12. Top 2 could be a challenge but I'll put 10k on them finishing in the top 5 if you're wanting to gamble on your fears.

Kevin Jenkins 3 months, 1 week ago

I think I am spoiled. I am used to ku point guards taking over the game for us. Granted, we have had the luxury of a big making his presence known.The game reminding me more of the TCU game a few years back. Nothing went right then as it did tonight.. Worse it was at the Phog.. I didn't see many positives....

Dirk Medema 3 months, 1 week ago

It’s always somewhere between interesting and hilarious to see the overreactions. 3rd in the Big 12 is still top 10 nationally. It was a 4 point game in the 2nd half. Virtually every year has a hairball game, including the infamous Topeka ymca game. One of the great qualities of Coach Self is it rarely defines the season. The team will learn from it and improve. I’m not sure if they’ll learn as much as past years, but I’m sure they’ll improve.

Even when the sky falls in Allen Fieldhouse, historically it doesn’t to land that hard.

Len Shaffer 3 months, 1 week ago

Thank you, Dirk! I'm glad that SOMEONE isn't acting like one game is an entire season.

Yes, it was a horrible game and a miserable experience to watch it, but as Dirk points out we have had games like that in the past (albeit usually on the road).

It's highly doubtful that this team will be as good as last year's team but I really thought we were going to win the title last year. I still think this team will end up being a top-10 team by season's end, with an outside shot at the Final Four. That wouldn't be too bad, given what we lost from last year.

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Benjamin Shear 3 months, 1 week ago

Good point. Let's also keep in mind that typically the first game back from Christmas break we play a non-conference mid-major. This is a hard game to play coming back from break. Our team came back flat and used up all their luck bowling the day before. Texas came back ready to go into hostile territory and compete. It's a good wake-up call for our team. No one is going to lay down at AF this year. Cardboard cutouts don't do much for atmosphere.

Bj Cassady 3 months, 1 week ago

Our poor recruiting (of bigs) has caught up to us. We cannot compete against talented teams that have athletic bigs and decent guards. The guys looked like deer caught in headlights. KU teams do not do that. You have to play hard, tough even when out-classed as we were. I worry about us facing any team with decent bigs and talented guards. We got to toughen up. Coach needs to coach better. McCormack is a nice D2 center but he just doesnt cut it not athletic enough.

Steve Zimmerman 3 months, 1 week ago

I'm not sure whether we were even looking the right bigs, we're missing out on kids like this one for sure:

Prospect Info: HIGH SCHOOL: Maret School HOME TOWN: Washington, DC CLASS: 2017

player rating: 4-star, #91, a 6-10, 250-pound Center (BK)

Tyson Travis 3 months, 1 week ago

At least HCBS reacted in a more mature and positive manner to this dog of a game than did former football HC Jack Mitchell after new Nebraska HC Bob Devaney gave KU a surprise 40-16 home whupping in 1962 that would begin a string of losses to the 'Huskers. Jack called it a disgrace to the entire state of Kansas or something like that, which was entirely unnecessary. We'll be back!

Dennis Gaskill 3 months, 1 week ago

It was Shaka's new hair ......It distracted .........everyone !

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