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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

We didn’t deserve to win’: No. 6 Jayhawks disappointed following loss at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State's Bryce Williams, right rear, and Kansas' Christian Braun scramble for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. A jump ball was called. (AP Photo/Mitch Alcala)

Oklahoma State's Bryce Williams, right rear, and Kansas' Christian Braun scramble for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. A jump ball was called. (AP Photo/Mitch Alcala)

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A ferocious second-half rally that brought the Jayhawks back from 16 points down in the final 9:15 ended in fitting fashion, with an Oklahoma State dunk putting an exclamation point on a 75-70 Cowboys victory in Stillwater.

Trailing 65-49 with 9:15 to play, No. 6 Kansas ripped off a 21-2 run to take a three-point lead into the final 1:20 of the game.

But from there, Oklahoma State regrouped, and the Cowboys outplayed the Jayhawks in the final 80 seconds the way they had during the game’s first 30 minutes, outscoring Kansas 8-0 to come away with the victory.

“I thought we played a pretty competitive 10 minutes,” KU coach Bill Self said after the loss. “But other than that, I didn't think we were very competitive. I thought they controlled everything with their speed and quickness.

“We didn't deserve to win,” Self added. “But certainly we put ourselves in a position where we could have won.”

Junior David McCormack (24 points, 12 rebounds) and senior Marcus Garrett (12 points on 6-of-12 shooting) were monsters during KU’s run.

McCormack, who gave Kansas someone it could throw the ball inside to all night, hit a shot similar to the one he hit late against Oklahoma last weekend to put the Jayhawks up three with 1:20 to play.

After that, Self said the Jayhawks executed the exact defense they wanted on Oklahoma State’s next possession, but OSU guard Isaac Likekele drilled a game-tying 3-pointer from the corner with a minute to play that breathed new life into the Cowboys.

“If Likekele doesn’t make that shot, we win the game,” Self said. “But he did make the shot.”

And Kansas never scored again.

For all of the ways OSU freshman Cade Cunningham (18 points, seven rebounds, three assists in 39 minutes) impacted Tuesday’s game — his particularly strong first half gave the Cowboys an 11-point lead at the break — it was a sequence on KU’s possession after Likekele’s 3-pointer that best illustrated why the OSU star is regarded as one of the top players in college basketball and a likely top-two or three NBA draft pick this summer.

With Kansas (10-3 overall, 4-2 Big 12) looking for the lead late, Garrett drove to the rim off of his right hand the way he had done three times during the run that put Kansas in front.

This time, however, Cunningham was waiting. Not only did he block Garrett’s shot straight down with two hands, but he also scurried after the ball and saved it with one hand before landing.

That immediately kickstarted another OSU fastbreak and freshman guard Rondel Walker’s bucket, with the foul, put OSU up three heading into the final 38 seconds.

Garrett got a chance to tie the score on KU’s next possession, but his 3-pointer from the left wing missed. KU quickly fouled OSU guard Bryce Williams, who missed the front end of a one-and-one trip to the free throw line, giving KU one more opportunity to tie the game.

The Jayhawks actually got three cracks at it. Ochai Agbaji missed two triples from the top of the key off of KU’s sideline out-of-bounds play. And Garrett’s pass intended for Christian Braun with 4.2 seconds to play was intercepted, setting up the Cowboys for one final sprint in transition.

“Marc underthrew him by 10 feet,” Self said. “He didn’t put anything on it. CB had to catch the ball in order for us to get to the second and third option, but he underthrew him. That was disappointing. It’s not a great percentage play to think that you’d make that shot. But it’s one where you’re disappointed that you didn’t at least give yourself a chance.”

While the Jayhawks’ struggles to execute in the final minute erased the chance for victory, it was their play for much of the game leading up to that that delivered what Self described as a second half that left Kansas “no margin for error.”

The Cowboys shot 56% from the floor in the first half — 58% from 3-point range — and finished the game with 37 fastbreak points. That’s nine more than No. 1 Gonzaga got against KU in the season opener. And 24 of those came during the first half, when OSU (9-3, 3-3) built a lead of as many as 16 points late.

Kansas crawled back into it on the strength of a combination zone defense it used throughout much of the second half.

“That slowed their pace and game play a lot,” Agbaji said.

Added McCormack: “We took some pride in defense.”

Outside of Agbaji, who combined for 20 first-half points on 7-of-15 shooting, the rest of the team shot just 6-for-19 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, making the discrepancy between OSU’s easy baskets and KU’s tough shots even more glaring.

“Of the 37 points they got in transition, I would bet 20 of them were off of terrible shot selection or us just throwing it to them for layup,” Self said. “You can't allow people to do that, and it's frustrating to me because their best offense was our offense there in the first half.”

For all of the rough moments, sloppy play and subpar performances put forth by Kansas in this one, the Jayhawks left Stillwater pleased with how hard they competed and fought to give themselves a chance but frustrated that that’s what it took for them to play that way.

“I'm not leaving out of here disappointed or mad because we lost to an Oklahoma State team,” Self said. “I'm leaving out of here (upset) because of the reasons why we lost.”

Comments

Steve Zimmerman 1 week, 6 days ago

I'm surprised, we actually could compete. OSU wasn't as good. We made them look good. But, we saw from our team good offense moves, nice cuttings, great blocks, even though they're not enough. They won because of Cade, FTs, plus fastbreaks, thanks to our TOs.

Okay, David is a beast, but can't do it alone. Keep throwing him low-post won't win many games, especially against more athletic teams. Definitely excited for his transition so far. Yeah, kudos to coaching staff for his development!!! He reacts faster, quicker spins, moving closer to the basket; more consistent jumper is icing on the cake!!

Bryce, love his guts. But he's too slow, too weak. Give him 1-2 years. Others should've helped him when he was trapped by the sideline, I saw Ochai was just standing ready to launch 3 pt? Wilson decided to just watch. Mitch and Garrett were defended.

Marcus effectiveness in defense is excellent, but his offense is anybody's guess. One on one, great, love those quick layups. But he needs to assess the court well, can't go against 2-3 defenders. That's what happens when you dribble without assessing the surrounding. He's done that multiple times. There's always 2-3 other guys open. His passing neesd to improve, a lot. 3-4 assists a game is not good.

Enaruna needs to play more. He can compensate Wilson's bad day. Our 3s definitely sucks big time, but if we can execute more cuttings, screens, no doubt we'll see better results. Rock Chalk!!

Micky Baker 1 week, 5 days ago

Wilson is going to continue to have bad days until he decides that transition defense is important. He wasn't the only one last night. But I can say that most of the time the other 3 guards were hustling all night, but you can't do it just 3 when all 5 of OSU's guys were beating us down the floor at times. Get back on defense. Wilson trailed the fast breaks more times than not, and when he did get back he fouled because he didn't get back in time.

Steve Zimmerman 1 week, 6 days ago

“Marc underthrew him by 10 feet,” Self said. “He didn’t put anything on it. CB had to catch the ball in order for us to get to the second and third option, but he underthrew him....

Aside from Garrett can't throw a jack, coach, the real question is why did Braun go around just to be back at the crowded area instead of settling in the middle/top of key or take the ball to the other side....? Wouldn't we had a better chance?

Brett McCabe 1 week, 6 days ago

Plenty of talent. They desperately need coaching. Hers hoping someone from the NBA calls and relieves of this albatross.

We need a reset and a clean start in this program. And get rid of that idiotic dorm.

David Robinett 1 week, 5 days ago

We don’t guard the 3. Period

Need to CROWD the shooters rather than lay off them 3-4 feet as we do. What’s the worst that can happen? They drive around and meet help defense.

Wilson was way off Likele on the winning shot, so I don’t know how that’s the defense we wanted.

Barry Weiss 1 week, 5 days ago

Well, the bright spot is the emergence of DMac over the last 3 games to the big we so desperately need. The second bright spot was learning we can come back from a big hole to compete for a win. Our effort for the first 3/4's of the game just sunk us as did the FT line. It seemed like we were always a step behind chasing one of their players to the hoop, only to foul.

Bryce Landon 1 week, 5 days ago

Why the hell is it so hard for Coach Self to get his guys ready to play his alma mater in Stillwater? He keeps finding new ways to lose down there and piss us off, and then blames his players for not playing well. Hey Coach, maybe if you did your job and had your guys adequately prepared, you wouldn't leave there frustrated all the time!

Benjamin Shear 1 week, 5 days ago

It's the one monkey that seems to live on his back. Kinda like how North Carolina was for Roy Williams, he could never win against them when he was at KU. I don't get it either.

Edward Daub 1 week, 5 days ago

I "stopped the stream" with 10 minutes to go. Foolish decision on my part.

I should have recalled WVU rallied back from 19 down at OSU. I dislike ESPN+.

Micky Baker 1 week, 5 days ago

Our guys did not hustle in the first half, or for the first half of the second half. We didn't deserve to win. They beat us down the floor time after time, and we still jogged down the floor. Really all you had to do is stop 3 of the fast breaks, but you didn't hustle. You could have stopped half of them if you hustled. Then you would have won by 15 or 20.

Bj Cassady 1 week, 5 days ago

We have to face it, we are not a great team, a decent team but not near enough to compete for the top tier in this league or in many leagues. We turn the ball over too much, are not consistent with our shots. I think we will finish about 4th or 5th in the league and be a 7th seed. Coach needs to recruit much better than he has, coach better else we will be slipping further.

Keith Gellar 1 week, 5 days ago

The scariest part is OSU isn't even that good and we made them look good. Really telling of where this team stands.

Benjamin Shear 1 week, 5 days ago

Obiter Dictum:

1) What did Mike Boynton have on his shoulder all night? It looked like a towel or t-shirt with someone's face on it. Was it a social justice thing or something? Genuinely asking.

2) DMack and Agbaji are the only two KU players that had a decent game. Watching Enaruna and Braun try and guard Cade was kinda funny.

3) The camera angle took some getting used to. It was so high up I felt like I was watching it from the rafters. It made depth perception of the ball very difficult.

4) I loved how KU contested all shots. That's a great mindset. But I don't love how we didn't attack the basket. OSU attacked and pushed and we looked slow. It looked like they had 6 men on the floor when we had the ball.

5) This is the first game we lost where Agbaji made 3 or more 3 pointers in a game this year.

6) KU is now 6-8 in road games against OSU under HCBS. The only other place we have a losing record on the road is against WVU.

7) I'm proud of the team for fighting back and not giving up. But where was that intensity and focus the rest of the game? We were careless with the ball and it looked like the players just expected OSU to let them win.

8) DMack looked like a man among boys last night. One thing I really like about him is that he makes free throws, and he has great range when posting up. He doesn't have to dunk every bucket. I believe that gives him a lot of options.

Glen Miller 1 week, 5 days ago

Our margin for error this year is not what it has been. We are a good team, but not a great one. On an off shooting night, we can't rely on our defense to help stem the tide and that's really what hurt us last night. We couldn't make shots and we couldn't stop them from making theirs. The triangle and 2 that we ran seemed to work well, maybe we're going to have to run some more zone this year than Self likes to to hit our ceiling. I think this team tries hard, I really do...... but we aren't as athletic and physical as some of these other teams and like Self has said a few times lately, we don't make teams "feel" us. We allow them to run their stuff without much resistance. Our transition defense is attrocious at times and we turn the ball over too much for a guard dominant team. All that being said, if we get on a roll shooting and improve defensively we could still make the Final Four..... I just wouldn't be surprised if we got bounced first weekend either. Regardless, I still love my Jayhawks and I'll support them no matter what RCJH!!

Carolyn Hunzicker 1 week, 5 days ago

Garretts not the answer...Dribbles wayyyy too much...this is taking the other players out of the game. Kansas desperately needs a leader.

Bench either Wilson or Braun and put Harris in at point...Let Garrett return to doing his thing

or at least...When going with 5 guards doit

Armen Kurdian 1 week, 5 days ago

Not getting back on defense fast enough killed us. CB threw away a pass which gave OSU their only points during our big run. Lazy pass there, w/o that turnover, we probably still win the game. Hard way to lose. Have to stop digging holes early on that we need to dig out of.

Team will get better...RCJH.

Allin Herring 1 week, 5 days ago

Can someone tell Self thar Garrett is not the point guard we need nor is he the leader and go to guy we so badly need. He dribbles way to much and his drives are blocked way to often. I am over watching drivble all around at the end of 1st haves or games only to have his drivbles stolen or his shot blocked.

Chad Smith 1 week, 4 days ago

Our team defense is poor overall right now and that's what Self is referring to. We don't make other teams play poorly or take enough tough shots. A lot of times the opponent gets good clean looks and that just won't cut it. need more mental toughness on that end and stop the turnovers for goodness sake. Garrett needs to approach this PG thing way differently. I agree the ball is sticking to his hands WAY too much. Move the ball around, facilitate, and take the drives when they are there but stop lollygagging. Disappointing for him as a Senior, though I understand he's never played PG as his true position on this team until this season.

Steve Zimmerman 1 week, 3 days ago

Coach feels our offense is good enough with him on the court, he needs him more on the defense side. Who's better than the rest 4 starters? That's the question.

David McNickle 1 week, 4 days ago

This is a 12-6 conference team. Missing two things. A rim protector and a combo PG. Self has always had those on his best teams. Some people were outraged when there was talk of being a 4th place team back in the spring. Looks about right to me.

Dirk Medema 1 week, 4 days ago

Chad - Marcus started at the point the one game that Dot missed last year, otherwise it was Dot at the point for the last 2 years. My understanding is that he was the PH in HS. This was supposed to be his team the way Devonte took over after Frank graduated.

I want to put a big laugh emoji after some of the comments, B&B.

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