Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Notebook: Bill Self on Cyclones: ‘Hey, they’re good’

Kansas guard Travis Releford comes away with a steal from Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford comes away with a steal from Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Iowa State

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 97-89 overtime victory over Iowa State on Jan. 9, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Ben McLemore, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey

Kansas players Ben McLemore, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey talk after the Jayhawks' 97-89 overtime victory over Iowa State on Jan. 9, 2013.

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Box score


For a long time Wednesday, it looked as if Kansas University’s basketball team would drop its first Big 12 opener in 22 years.

“We had the formula to lose that game,” KU senior center Jeff Withey said after the Jayhawks rallied from six points down with seven minutes left and four down with :26 seconds to play in a 97-89 overtime win over Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse.

ISU hit 14 threes in 38 tries on a night the Cyclones preferred firing away than testing 7-footer Withey, who had three blocked shots.

The Cyclones were four off the record number of threes hit against KU (18 by Nebraska in 2002). Kentucky put up a record 40 trey attempts vs. the Jayhawks in 1989.

“Hey, they’re good,” KU coach Bill Self said of ISU. “I can’t believe they have lost three games, well four games now (against 10 wins). They are good. They play with so much freedom offensively and they always play great in this building. Every time Iowa State comes here, it seems like they give us all we want.

“It’s a tough matchup for us because they can all shoot. We actually defended the three pretty well and they still got 38 up. It's hard for Jeff (Withey). The guy out there who can really shoot it (Iowa State’s Georges Niang), Jeff guards him, and he just gets out behind the arc and we have a couple of screw-ups and he has eight points (to open the game). He’s ahead of us, 8-3, before the game starts.

“How we finished the first half was deplorable,” added Self, whose squad allowed a Chris Babb three at the buzzer to slice a late nine-point deficit to 42-38. “We were up nine playing two-for-one (in possessions) and you go in up four. That is as bad as you can possibly play and as dumb. They out played us in the second half until the last several minutes.

“That was a man’s game. There were some men out there playing down the stretch,” Self added, noting he was “proud” KU gutted out the win.

Take the two: Self on Elijah Johnson’s decision to go for a quick two instead of a three when Kansas was down, 77-74, late in regulation. Johnson converted with :14.5 left to make it a one-point game.

"I think there was 24 or 23 (seconds) left and we could have run a three point play, but we said, ‘Go get a quick two,’ and he did. He just went down and got a quick two and made some plays,” Self said.

Travis Releford on Ben McLemore banking in a three to tie the game and force overtime: “I set the screen and just turned my head. I don’t even know what I was thinking at the time. It hit the glass and I saw there was one second left. I knew we had a chance, because we were going to take it into overtime.”

Releford on his mindset going into the final play of regulation: “No panic. We are a team that is going to fight. All the teams I have been on in the past, we just remind each other, we have been down, we have been in this situation before. We just keep fighting. Coach gave us that message in the huddle, and we just came out and never felt like we couldn't win.”

Stats, facts: KU has won 22 straight Big 12 openers, dating to the 1991-92 season. ... KU has won eight in a row over ISU in Allen. ... KU has won five overtime games in a row since an 89-81 loss to Syracuse on Nov. 25, 2008. ... KU scored 14 straight points from the final seconds of regulation to the 2:12 mark of overtime. ... KU scored 18 points during OT, the most in OT since KU scored 18 against Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 21, 2004. ... ISU’s 89 points were most by a KU opponent since Syracuse scored 89 on Nov. 25, 2008. It was the most points scored by a visiting team in Allen Fieldhouse since Baylor scored 90 in a 100-90 loss on Feb. 9, 2008. ... Ben McLemore scored a career-high 33 points, which were the most by a Jayhawk since Marcus Morris tallied 33 against Iowa State on Jan. 12, 2011. His 33 points were the most by a Kansas freshman since Danny Manning scored 35 points against Oklahoma State on March 2, 1985. It was also the second-most points scored by a player in the Big 12 this season. ... McLemore also hit 7-for-7 free throws, the most free throws without a miss since Tyshawn Taylor went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe against Texas on March 3 of last season. ... Elijah Johnson's 10 assists were a career high .... Johnson's six rebounds were the most since he tallied 10 boards against Ohio State in last year's NCAA semifinals. His three steals matched a season high.


chriz 9 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, let's not do that again, Hawks. Particularly at home.

Ben, you're a stud, but if you call bank after it leaves your hands, that's not calling bank.

Josh Becker 9 years, 7 months ago

oh that is calling bank. rainmaker style. always good in KU's book

jhox 9 years, 7 months ago

I correctly called bank more often than not, after a poor release and, you're right. It only means something when you call it before the release. However, the only thing that really matters is that it ended up on the scoreboard. Besides, I believe ISU had at least one banked 3 themselves last night, so I don't feel sorry for them.

arvadajayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

One edit to the note about it being the most assists since Tyshawn's game last season. Naadir had 12 just a few days back against American.

Phil Leister 9 years, 7 months ago

Has the article been edited since you posted this? Because it says nothing about the most assists since Tyshawn last season.

Al Martin 9 years, 7 months ago

Yep. Edited. I noticed the same mistake earlier, but didn't bother to point it out.

Michael Luby 9 years, 7 months ago

Looks like we got ourselves a team to replace Fizzou in terms of rivalry. Great game.
PS, Ben calls bank, its good. PSS, #1 draft pick

Rick Arnoldy 9 years, 7 months ago

Cyclones have always given us fits. Ask Danny Manning. I don't think he ever won in Ames.

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Lucky, lucky, lucky. Yesterday, I said if this team doesn't learn how to take care of the ball, it could be a long night for the Hawks. It was, but thanks to BM for saving the day. Come March, when KU has to play a top team, we won't be so lucky,

Hawkamania 9 years, 7 months ago

Most teams also won't be making 14 3's against us either though.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, the basketball gods smiled upon us last night.

Let's not make that our standard gameplan in the future.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 7 months ago

I am afraid the return match in Hilton Colloseum could be one of only a few Big XII losses this year. That was a smart. talented, fearless opponent last night and I am afraid that they are only going to get better as the year progresses.

That Niang kid is a game changer!! Thank God, our kid is the ultimate game changer!!

Alex Thiessen 9 years, 7 months ago

It's ok, Keegan already crowned us Big 12 Champions!

Thomas Michaud 9 years, 7 months ago

While ISU is a very talented team -- they remind me of VCU back in 2011 -- are they consistent enough come tournament time to make a serious run (or even in the Big XII). They will have nights when those three's just aren't falling -- look at the game they played against Iowa. What's the "Plan B" at that point? Go inside? Iowa held their leading scorer (their PF) scoreless. It just doesn't appear that their offense is set to be an inside-out type of team. All of their losses have come against quality opponents (Cincy, Iowa, and UNLV) -- how will that translate into league play?

In a way, I'm reminded of past KU offenses that couldn't create their own shot. If they couldn't do a quick transition basket or couldn't get their outside shots to drop, they had difficulty working into the post on a half court set ... It seems that teams would play zone against KU and make them shoot the ball from the outside by packing the interior.

This year KU has one of the most balanced attacks (double-double by two players on the post and three double-digit scorers from the perimeter in the game against ISU). If KU is down, they're not out -- as they keep working on both the post and perimeter. They just need to do a better job of reducing their turnovers -- EJ (while posting 10 assists) had 6 TOs and KU had 14 to ISU 11 (and look at the previous games where (more often than not) KU had more TOs than their opponents). If the team can keep the turnovers down (or reduce the ratio), this team is scary!

Mick Allen 9 years, 7 months ago

KU will often have more turnovers than their opponents, just as more often KU will have more assists than their opponents. Both of these stats must be considered together.HCBS strives to have assists on 66% of made baskets. His emphasis on the extra pass is the main reason each season that KU is always ranked very highly in field goal percentage. This often requires the extra pass that occasionally leads to a turnover. Obviously unforced turnovers are excluded in this equation, and we, admittedly have to many of those. I don't think HCBS is to dismayed when our assists outnumber our turnovers.A good example of this is the recent Temple game, when Temple had only 4 turnovers, but had only 8 assists. KU I believe had 11 or 12 turnovers, but 17 assists on 23 baskets. I don't believe Self has had a team here that ever has averaged 10 turnovers or less a game. More assists and a high percentage of made field goals lends itself to more turnovers.

STLJHawk86 9 years, 7 months ago

Interesting stat fact that wasn't mentioned above; 3 KU players had a double double and McLemore was NOT one of them. I don't recall seeing taht in a KU box score in the past few years.

Pat Bell 9 years, 7 months ago

Off topic, but in's Power Rankings they talked about Withey's blocking. KU has been gaining possession on 72.3 percent of his blocks. Last year UK gained possession on 54 to 56 percent of Davis's blocks.

easyfive 9 years, 7 months ago

Why wasn't KY shooting it at the top? They was giving it to him all night. He wasn't even looking at it. I was thinking he was the jell to take us over the top this year. And others not taking it when open. It worked the other day. This was a different team last night. I think it was Keegan saying, we got in the bag. The guys took it easy thinking, how good they was but, not living the Now. Eli is the weakest link on the team. He comes and goes... The best 6th man on the team. T R kind of went missing for the most of the game too. All teams come here thinking this is their biggest game of the season. Kansas has to be focus looking at the back end of the rim or the little square on the back broad every game to match the Want of the other team.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 7 months ago

KY did try a couple early shots out top that missed badly. I think Self told him to stop taking them because from then on out he wasn't even looking to shoot. I would love to see him drive and dish in those situations but I'm not sure he's a good enough ball-handler to do that.

Elijah is not the weakest link on this team though. He's been having turnover problems (he's not a natural PG), but he usually has more assists than turnovers (like last night). He hasn't played great yet but his knee has been hampering him this season.

kufaninmo 9 years, 7 months ago

it's probably a matter of time before a bigger and better school grabs him so they better make the most of it!!

Tim Orel 9 years, 7 months ago

Not so sure. He is the mayor of that town and it would take a huge deal to pry him out of there.

wildjayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

It will be a different game at Iowa ST. as they will be waiting to finish a job they didn't complete at the Phop. Iowa ST. wins 89-68.

Michael Ales 9 years, 7 months ago

!979 alum coming to town with brother flying in who is 1982 alum to see Baylor. What are good places to eat now day's in Lawrence?

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