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Texas Tech defeats Kansas, 75-67

  • 3 p.m., Jan. 8, 2022
  • United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, TX

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Offensive defensive effort sinks No. 6 Kansas in 75-67 loss at Texas Tech

Texas Tech's Daniel Batcho (4) dunks the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)

Texas Tech's Daniel Batcho (4) dunks the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)

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As sixth-ranked Kansas prepared to take on No. 25 Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas on Saturday, the Jayhawks’ focus was on the Red Raiders’ defense.

But it was the Jayhawks’ defense, or lack thereof, that had the biggest impact in Texas Tech’s 75-67 victory at United Supermarkets Arena.

In addition to allowing Texas Tech to shoot 51% from the field — including a mark of 56% in the second half — the KU defense was bullied and brutalized for 44 points in the paint, providing very little resistance any time the Red Raiders got to the rim.

“It’s not their fault we lost, by any stretch,” said Kansas coach Bill Self when asked after the loss about KU’s frontcourt. “I’m not going to put that on any position or any one guy or anything like that. We don’t protect the rim, they score at will inside, we don’t score inside and we don’t rebound. That’s not a great combination.”

Starting at the 5 for the second game in a row, super-senior Mitch Lightfoot finished with zero points and zero rebounds in 10 foul-plagued minutes. He fouled three times and turned it over once.

Regular starting forward David McCormack didn’t fare much better. He finished with four points and six rebounds in 14 minutes. Freshmen KJ Adams and Zach Clemence also played some at the 5, as the Jayhawks searched for anything that would work against Texas Tech’s attack-happy offense.

The fact that Texas Tech (11-3 overall, 1-1 Big 12) played without its top two leading scorers only made the loss sting more for Kansas (12-2, 1-1).

“It’s pretty obvious we got outworked today,” KU sophomore Jalen Wilson said after the loss. “They brought the aggressiveness and brought it to us. They punked us.”

Asked about the 44-18 edge for Tech in points in the paint, Wilson was less diplomatic than his head coach.

“That’s horrible. Horrible,” Wilson said. “With our length and our speed, stuff like that should never happen. That’s just not going to be acceptable, especially with the goals that we have.”

Starting in place of senior guard Remy Martin, Wilson got the Jayhawks off to a solid start on the offensive end. He scored the team’s first seven points and finished with 20 points for the night.

Senior leading scorer Ochai Agbaji added 24 points while battling through foul trouble. Both had plenty of moments on offense that looked as though they might help KU pull this one out.

But every time the Jayhawks needed a big stop on the defensive end, they not only didn’t get it, but they almost always gave up a layup or a momentum-changing three-point play that allowed Texas Tech to maintain control.

The Red Raiders led for more than 33 minutes in Saturday’s game compared to just 1:29 with the lead for Kansas. That included a 33-25 lead at halftime, which Self said should’ve been four points instead of eight, and made Texas Tech the first team this season to take a lead into the half against the Jayhawks.

“We obviously didn’t have them prepared to go against a team that really, really tried hard,” Self said.

Added Agbaji: “They were more the aggressor.”

The gap in effort and intensity was a huge factor in Saturday’s game, and Self explained it by using the final numbers following the loss.

“If you’d have told me before the game that we would shoot 45% from the field, 38% from 3 and 83% from the (free throw) line and score 67 points, I’d say that’d be enough, the way they play,” Self said. “But it wasn’t. Obviously.”

The only thing that resembled consistent defensive success for Kansas on Saturday surfaced early in the second half, when the Jayhawks went to a 2-3 zone to try to frustrate the Red Raiders. It worked for a handful of possessions, allowing KU to cut a 14-point deficit (51-37) down to five (56-51) with 7:35 to play. But the Red Raiders responded to that with back-to-back buckets at the rim, including a vicious dunk by Bryson Williams over Lightfoot, to keep KU from dreaming too big about a comeback victory.

As anyone who has followed his coaching career would have guessed, Self was not happy about the effectiveness of the zone either. He twice called it “crappy” in the postgame press conference and has made it clear throughout his 30-plus years in coaching that he would rather do just about anything than resort to a zone defense.

Despite being out of sync almost everywhere, Kansas kept charging and again cut the Texas Tech lead down to five at the 3:08 mark and four (71-67) with 1:09 to play, but the Jayhawks could never get over the hump.

Agbaji called the defeat part of the “learning process.” And Wilson said the setback provided the Jayhawks with a clear picture of what they still need to improve.

“We have to focus on playing hard before anything else,” Wilson said. “We’ve just got to focus on our defense and we’ll be good. Offense is always going to be there for us, but defense is what we’ve got to (improve).”

For years, it was the Jayhawks’ play on the road that set them apart from the rest of the Big 12 Conference at the top of the standings. But Self acknowledged after Saturday’s loss that this particular team needs to take a different approach to games away from home moving forward, saying that

“I think we thought we could show up and think we play hard and that would be good enough. It’s not,” Self said. “We were not going to go 18-0 in our league. We were not going to go 17-1. That’s not the type of league that we play in. Maybe Baylor’s good enough to do that, but we’re a team that has to grind it out away from home and we just didn’t do that.”

Comments

Steve Zimmerman 1 week, 5 days ago

Get used to it, folks. Against a team with that height and length and athleticism, we won't stand a chance. Defense wise, maybe we can prevent from being beaten worse. Offense wise, a different story, it's hopeless at this point. Players dont' show playing with bball IQ, they follow strict offense rules, devised by coach BS. I'm afraid, they're not enough to win many B12 games. Those plays are very predictable. Too many passes. Just look at how many charges resulted from those running passes. Not enough jumpers, screens (well, a basic play that 4-5 years KU players can't even do), cutters. Just keep on running and passing and passing.

It's going to be a looong learning process, Ochai. We'll be lucky if we end up #3/4 in B12.

Robert Brock 1 week, 5 days ago

Anybody can drive the ball into the paint on KU. The Jayhawk guards and wings flat-out can’t stop it.

Self has lost this team when it comes to defense. If Tech had played Shannon and McCullar, the Raiders would have scored over 100 points easily.

Doug Horn 1 week, 5 days ago

There are going to be games where this happens. Everyone must remember that there are 10 new players on this team. There are 4 returning starters from last years team, but David has gotten off to another slow start this season and Jalen until yesterday had the same issue. We have to get a rim protector, rebounder or someone that makes players pay for driving the ball into the paint. That is what Bill was trying to do putting KJ & Zach in. Between those two we have 10 additional fouls to hand out when someone drives the lane. And if we are going to foul someone driving the lane we should not let them get a shot up. I do have to say that the refs swallowed their whistle in the closing minutes of that game. There should have been a foul called on Texas Tech when Braun dunked the ball late in the game. The TT defender was all over him. There is no doubt if he had missed the shot a foul would have been called. Check on the view from the basket camera, looks like the TT players elbow is in Braun face. That should have been an and one.

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=33021230

Andy Godwin 1 week, 4 days ago

KU is more athletic in some positions from last year, but clearly the players that Self replaced with the individuals he ran off last year plus the returners have not figured out how to play his style of team defense. Historically, during the break between semesters, the team comes together better defensively, but I guess not yet(?). Their center play has been spotty nearly all year and their guards struggle to stop dribble-drive penetration by the offense. A Bill Self team got outscored 44 to 18 in the paint! I believe it was with 9 minutes remaining in the first half with the score at 19 all that I turned to my wife and said KU will lose. At that moment all of TTU’s points were easy baskets in the paint (or free throw line). Clearly no rim protector and clearly poor on ball defense. Hard to win when the other team is practicing layup drills during the game. Did I read correctly in the box score that the point differential was minus 12 (-12) when McCormack was on the floor, followed by Braun at minus 8 (-8) and plus 10 (+10) with Clemence (no other KU players had a positive number)? Is that a typo? Hopefully the coaches can do significantly better because it is their jobs to have the players prepared and they were not.

Jeff Kallmeyer 1 week, 4 days ago

Pretty easy formula on how to beat KU... play a physical & aggressive game and we'll fold.

Matt Gauntt 1 week, 4 days ago

Always interesting to see the comments after a loss. "Fans" come out and say how we are the worst KU team ever, we will hardly win another game, Bill Self sucks, etc., etc.

With all of these great basketball minds, it is amazing that some of them don't end up on the bench as assistant coaches - LMAO.

For whatever reason, David is not playing to his potential, Mitch has never been a dominant player and Zach is still learning. We will get there. It's clear that Self is on top of the matter and is trying to solve the issue. I trust HCBS. I trust our Jayhawks.

Rodney Crain 1 week, 4 days ago

You are right. We all know that to be an assistant coach at KU you have to be a video coordinator first.

Matt its just fans blowing off steam after a poor effort. I will take "Fans" talking about basketball on here everytime, rather then arm chair "Experts" talking about Covid, Masks, or the 12 days of Christmas song.

James Miller 1 week, 4 days ago

Man, i agree with that. Especially since we all know cloth masks don't work.

Rodney Crain 1 week, 4 days ago

James -- lol, you just put yourself in the armchair expert group, and did not even mention basketball? ding ding - here is your sign.

Classic.

I just scared my dog by laughing.

I love the posters on here.

Bj Cassady 1 week, 4 days ago

It is obvious we are a donut team with a HUGE hole in the middle. Also when we play against a physical team we are at a disadvantage. I do not know where we will end up in the B12 but not first second or third.

Matt Lindaman 1 week, 4 days ago

If I see any gap, it is that KU has been missing the Thomas Robinson/Darnell Jackson type player for a number of years. The center spot can be a bit off if there is a strong defender/rebounder at the four spot. KU has many of the same type of players-long wings such as Och, Braun, Wilson (had Thompson and Enaruna). These are all great players but kind of duplicate needs. They can also use their strength area vs: another team which they do most of the time. Still could have come out of TT with a win, but for some bad breaks. Thought JCL was fouled on a three at a point where some charities would have been nice. He also has a three go most of the way down the basket before it bounced out. I forget who was hacked on a dunk, but no "and one" given. On the other side, there were about three times where KU played great D and TT threw up something with the clock expiring, only to get a good bounce on the rebound (or jump ball). Another time, KU had great D and I think forced the ball out to the wing where it was lost but scooped at the top of the key and the guy runs straight in and I believe was fouled. Sandwiched in between these fortunate plays they did have some nice cuts to the basket--but it certainly was not every time, but just seems like it when the fortunate (or hustle) plays fill in between.

Glen Miller 1 week, 3 days ago

Let's just be honest with one another on here........ outside of Doke and Joel, what big man has done anything since Danny manning left? We just don't develop bigs like we used to anymore. Part of that is the way the game is going. Part of that is the recruiting issues we've had. Part of it is that kids don't stick around anymore. There are a lot of variables, but the biggest is losing Manning. We can heap the crap on this team all we want, but the reality is that this team is going to be inconsistent and when Big Dave is struggling we will struggle. I love Mitch, but please tell me what other top 10 team he would be the starting 5 on? I'll wait. Honestly, I'd put KJ in there and let him learn this year. He gives maximum effort and has that junkyard dog you need in the paint. I also think that we're finding out that coach was right when Remy was coming out of high school. He didn't fit our system........ love the kid, but he's too ball dominant and because he's not playing his game, he is out of rhythm. All that being said, we are still a pretty darn good team and if we catch fire who know's where this season leads! RCJH!!

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