After his stellar Kansas basketball career ended in the Elite Eight, with a loss to Oregon in Kansas City, Mo., senior point guard Frank Mason III said the top-seeded Jayhawks didn’t give up after trailing by 18 in the second half, but couldn’t complete a comeback to get to the Final Four.
At times, Mason admitted, KU’s players felt a bit unlucky with Oregon’s shots falling and Kansas making only 35 percent of its attempts from the field and five of 25 3-pointers. Still, the veteran said the Jayhawks mostly had themselves to blame for those percentages.
“I think we had a few good looks,” Mason said, “but some of them was rushed shots and we didn’t give the defense a chance to break down and get a better look.”
Kansas City, Mo. — After two quick fouls in the first half kept him on the bench early in what became an Elite Eight loss to Oregon Saturday night, Kansas star freshman Josh Jackson addressed in the locker room his thoughts on the whistles.
“I feel like my first foul, yeah, I fouled him,” Jackson said. “My second foul? No. I don’t feel like I fouled him at all. Maybe he did travel. I didn’t look at his feet. It’s just an opinion. Refs, they’re all just people out there. They make mistakes, too.”
Jackson, who only played 10 minutes in the first half, said his early foul issues “screwed up” his rhythm and made it difficult for him once he returned to the floor.
The likely top-three pick in this June’s NBA Draft also opted not to discuss his immediate plans.
Kansas City, Mo. — After rolling through the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Kansas finally had an off night offensively in the Elite Eight versus Oregon.
After the Ducks moved on to the Final Four Saturday night at Sprint Center, KU coach Bill Self said his Jayhawks played tight at times and often settled for what he considered less-than-desirable shots, instead of finding opportunities within the rhythm of the offense.
“I thought we took a lot of marginal shots,” Self said after Kansas lost, 74-60. “Step-back threes. Corner threes that led to numbers for them. It’s one thing if you’re a terrific offensive rebounding team to shoot the ball as impatiently as we did. But we didn’t do much on the offensive glass.”
Kansas City, Mo. — After three straight double-digit wins in the NCAA Tournament, Kansas junior guard Devonte Graham discussed why the team's playing so well and what the keys are against Oregon in Saturday's Elite Eight showdown (7:49 p.m., TBS) at Sprint Center.
"I actually think we are defending way better. I think that would have to be it," Graham said of KU's blowout wins. "We've just been locked in so, so much defensively, holding each other accountable."
Kansas City, Mo. — One day before facing Oregon in the Elite Eight, Kansas guards Frank Mason III and Svi Mykhailiuk discussed using last year's Elite Eight loss to Villanova as motivation for this season.
The Jayhawks will play Oregon for a spot in the Final Four at 7:49 p.m. Saturday at Sprint Center.
"Just ending the season that we did last year is something that we thought about for a while," Mason said. "We just want to come out this year ad try to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen this year."
Kansas City, Mo. — The Jayhawks have been enjoying themselves on the floor thus far in the NCAA Tournament, blowing teams out on the way to an Elite Eight meeting with Oregon at Sprint Center.
But fun-loving sophomore Carlton Bragg Jr., said KU’s game preparation away from the court is serious business this time of year.
“Sometimes it can be fun, but coming into March, no. Nothing is fun,” Bragg said. “We try to make the game fun, try to let it go and all of that but we just have one focus, and that’s winning.”
Kansas City, Mo. — Growing up with a father who played center at Oregon, Kansas senior big man Landen Lucas has seen a lot of Ducks games in his time.
The Portland, Ore., native said it will be strange to battle against a program he has long admired with a spot in the Final Four on the line Saturday night at Sprint Center.
“I mean, just seeing the Oregon colors and the O and everything that was such a big part of my childhood and growing up,” Lucas said, “and now to be going out there with so much on the line — my college career on the line, a Final Four on the line — against that team, it’s exciting for me and I’m sure that it’ll be exciting.”
Kansas City, Mo. — About 24 hours prior to Saturday's Elite Eight showdown (7:49 p.m, TBS) against Kansas, Oregon basketball players discussed the similarities between teams and what makes KU freshman Josh Jackson so difficult to guard.
"Everyone on that team knows their role," Oregon forward Dillon Brooks said. "Once a team knows their role, they are hard to stop, especially with a player of the year like Frank Mason. You have to come out there and really change it up on them."
Kansas City, Mo. — Sitting in the locker room after a one-point Sweet 16 victory over Michigan, Oregon basketball players heard the pro-Kansas crowd at Sprint Center when the Jayhawks tipped off against Purdue on Thursday.
It was loud and definitely felt like a home game for the Jayhawks, but the Ducks are confident that it won't be too much of a factor when the two schools meet in the Elite Eight at 7:49 p.m. Saturday (TBS).
"It's going to be a fun atmosphere," Oregon freshman guard Payton Pritchard said. "We don't want it any way different — playing in Kansas' backyard with all those fans there. That's going to make it fun."
Kansas City, Mo. — One season after a 12-point loss in the Elite Eight to Oklahoma, Oregon basketball players want to use that experience to their advantage when they face Kansas on Saturday at Sprint Center (7:49 p.m., TBS).
The Ducks advanced to the Elite Eight with wins over Iona, Rhode Island and Michigan.
"We know what to expect," Oregon guard Dylan Ennis said. "It's not these bright lights where it blinds us. We know what we have to do to win. We know what feeling we had when we lost, watching Oklahoma play in the Final Four."