Thursday, November 16, 2006
Kansas University's basketball players stared straight ahead, not knowing quite what to say after the No. 3 Jayhawks' shocking 78-71 home loss to Oral Roberts on Wednesday night.
"The locker room is completely silent," junior guard Russell Robinson said. "It shows everybody felt it. This is not like our loss in Maui last year. This one hurt a lot more."
More than a 69-61 first-round Maui Invitational loss to Arizona in paradise.
"Everybody is a little more experienced, older," Robinson said, noting why the ORU setback stings more. "Coach (Bill Self) warned us they were capable of beating us. Coach has been stressing it, but believe it or not we didn't believe it. For some reason, we couldn't lock down defensively in practice, and it carried over to the game. That's why it hurts."
Sophomore Brandon Rush noted: "I see this as a different kind of loss. There's more experienced guys. Everybody is expecting so much more from us. We're more confident, comfortable in the system (and still lost)."
While disappointed with KU's first loss of the year in two games, Self didn't get in the face of his players and interrupt the stillness in the somber locker room.
"I didn't chew them out," Self said. "I want to let them sit and think about this."
There will be time before Sunday's game against Towson (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse) to reflect on poor shooting (43.3 percent), defending (ORU hit 11 of 19 threes) and free throwing (11-of-21 to ORU's 13-of-19), as well as sloppy ballhandling (19 turnovers).
What will not happen is
finger-pointing : not this early in the season with so many games left to play.
"We'll respond to this," Robinson said. "This game will not determine whether we do anything late in the season. More than anything I think it'll help our young guys. They'll know how serious it is to play college basketball."