Kansas defeats Oklahoma State, 80-78

  • 3 p.m., Jan. 18, 2014
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Family guy: Tharpe excels with mother, brothers watching KU’s home victory

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe holds his hand up to his ear to better hear the roar of the fieldhouse as he leaves the floor following the Jayhawks' 80-78 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe holds his hand up to his ear to better hear the roar of the fieldhouse as he leaves the floor following the Jayhawks' 80-78 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self calls KU's 80-78 victory over Oklahoma State "a relief"

KU coach Bill Self calls KU's 80-78 victory over Oklahoma State "a relief."

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jamari Traylor, Naadir Tharpe and Joel Embiid following KU's 80-78 victory over Oklahoma State

Jamari Traylor, Naadir Tharpe and Joel Embiid following KU's 80-78 victory over Oklahoma State

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The Keegan Ratings

Tharpe tops ratings (again)

Kansas 80, Oklahoma State 78

Box score

Naadir Tharpe cupped his right hand next to his right ear, then his left hand next to his left ear, imploring 16,300 fans to make some noise as he and his Kansas University basketball teammates raced off the court following Saturday’s 80-78 victory over Oklahoma State in Allen Fieldhouse.

“That’s Naadir feeling good about Naadir. That’s all,” Tharpe’s mom, Lori, told the Journal-World after watching her son interact with the spectators after No. 15-ranked KU avenged last year’s home loss to the No. 9-ranked Cowboys and took a two-game lead over Pokes in the league standings.

Lori Tharpe — who sat in the lower level, southwest bleachers with Naadir’s brothers Abdullah and Tishaun, Naadir’s uncle, Tony, plus some cousins and family friends — was beaming with pride after watching Naadir play so well during her first game in the fieldhouse stands.

“You know how sometimes you come into a situation you are really not prepared for? You get there and it’s better than you expected? This is better than expected,” Lori said, smiling.

“Not because it was so loud,” she added of fans’ wild response to her son’s hitting a three to stretch a 54-50 lead to 57-50; another three to up a 59-56 lead to 62-56 and a two at the end of the shot clock to stretch a 77-73 lead to 79-73 with 0:34 left. Those shots were pivotal in preventing (15-3, 3-2) Oklahoma State from overcoming a whopping 19-point first-half deficit and pulling out a shocking win.

“We’ve been to about two or three restaurants (since arriving from Worcester, Mass., on Friday). We stopped into a couple stores. Kansas ... these people are serious. They are committed. That’s what it’s all about,” Lori added.

It turns out Naadir turned to his mom and brothers for some support during an early-season stretch in which he wasn’t playing well. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder lost his starting point guard job for two games (early December losses at Colorado and Florida) and regained it after a meeting with coach Bill Self. 

He’s been outstanding in helping (13-4) KU cruise to a 4-0 opening in Big 12 play.

“The last two weeks, he’ll call me an hour or two before the game. I say, ‘Naadir are you calling because you need me to give you some advice?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, mom.’’’

Her advice? 

“I tell him, ‘You guys, for the whole time you are out there, you have to play tough, because the other team is hungry like you. Guess what? You have to be a little bit more hungry every time. It’s a job. Go out there and do your job,’’’ Lori Tharpe related.

“He’s at a point now he’s feeling confident about himself. He’s going out there and doing what he needs to do. All this stuff he’s doing now, he did it back there (at Brewster Academy). It’s good to see him getting back to being himself again.

“It’s about getting to know who you are once again,” mom went on, “keeping your feet on the ground. He’s always been a balanced person. When you are balanced, sometimes you can lean to the left and lean to the right, but when you are ready to come back, you are coming back.”

Tharpe, who also had six assists against six turnovers in 39 minutes, was glad to play well in front of his relatives, who will remain in town for Monday’s 8 p.m., clash against Baylor.

“Having her in the stands with a couple of my brothers and other family members ... that was just a blessing,” Naadir said. “I loved having my mom be able to come out here and watch me play for the first time.”

The man who started those two December games in place of Tharpe — Frank Mason — also was involved in some big plays during crunch time. First 5-11 freshman guard Mason missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation with 23.1 seconds left and KU up, 79-75. 

OSU’s Phil Forte (23 points, 7-10 from three) drained a three at 5.7 seconds left to slice the gap to 79-78. Next, Mason was fouled with 5.4 seconds remaining. He hit the front end of the one-and-one, then missed the second and KU led by just two, 80-78, with OSU charging down court for a final shot.

Mason was able to get a hand on the ball as Le’Bryan Nash (10 points, 5-11 shooting) went up to shoot from inside the arc. Nash was able to regroup and launch a shot that would not have counted had it dropped.

“Yes,” Mason said, honestly, when asked if he was nervous stepping to the line. “I was nervous because I didn’t want to lose. I knew all the pressure was on me. I had to make a good defensive play after missing those two free throws.”

Asked how he was able to get a hand on the ball on Nash’s shot, Mason said: “My hands are very fast and active. I saw him going up for a jump shot. I just reached down and stripped it. I was close to the ball when he released for a jump shot.”

The Jayhawks were victimized by combined 8-of-13 three-point shooting by Forte and Markel Brown (16 points) the final half as OSU battled back from a 17-point halftime deficit (47-30).

The OSU scare begged the question: Was there a sense of accomplishment or relief in the locker room following a victory attained despite an ineffective Andrew Wiggins (three points) and Perry Ellis (six points) playing just 12 and five minutes the final half?

Wiggins left with nine minutes to play and didn’t return until a little more than a minute remained.

“It was accomplishment definitely more than relief,” Tharpe said. “They’ve been talking about Oklahoma State and Kansas for a while. Since the beginning of the year, that’s all we’ve been hearing. It’s all we’ve been hearing even before conference play started, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma State. It’s more an accomplishment we went out there and played our game more than anything.”

The coach’s perspective was a bit different after an ultra-competitive game in which there were six technical fouls and a double foul.

“It’s a sense of relief,” Self countered. “We didn’t play a lick the second half. We played well the first half with a free mind. It flip-flopped (second half). They shot it well the second half behind the arc. We didn’t guard them well. We played ridiculous on offense to start the second half and gave them an opportunity to get back in the game.

“We did make plays late. Naadir made three plays that were terrific. Frank was good enough to miss a couple free throws (then come back) and get the deflection to end the game. We did enough to win, but obviously are not leaving out of here giddy by any stretch.”

Speaking more about Naadir Tharpe, Self added: “He played extremely well. He made big shots. Every time they got real close he had an answer, but the ball stuck a lot, too. We didn’t get the ball inside and do some things in large part because we watched Naadir hold the ball the majority of the possession. I am thrilled to death with him. He’s doing great. I do think he can do more things to put us in position to have a better chance to look good as a unit.”

Mom is thrilled, too.

“I’m staying for Monday ... you better know it,” she said with a big smile.


Dirk Medema 8 years, 10 months ago

Hopefully, she can inspire another 20+ pt game. Haven't there been a couple other times this year when players have gone off for family visiting? Jo's dad was here, tho I don't recall his stats specifically. At least the first game was good if IIRC. Seems there was at least one other player with family in town.

Bryce Landon 8 years, 10 months ago

There was that 1972 game against Missouri when Bud Stallworth's mom was in the stands in Allen for the first time ever...:)

Bruce Beckum 8 years, 10 months ago

Wasn't Embiid's dad at the Georgetown game and then another game within a couple of days?

Jeremy Paul 8 years, 10 months ago

They're a better team with Tharpe and Mason in the game and Wiggins on the bench.

Ashwin Rao 8 years, 10 months ago

Not a good statement to make. We need Wiggins if we have any chance to win the championship.

Jeremy Wilhelm 8 years, 10 months ago

This is the most myopic thing I have read on this site in ten years.

Bruce Beckum 8 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Jeremy's photo is actually a photo of Jeremy?

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Good lord, and who +1'd Jeremy Paul for that statement? Wiggins leads the team for the season so far, with his ppg avg.

And, because of this off-nite for Wiggins, I dont think even the gods can help poor Baylor about 28hrs from now...

Vince Brown 8 years, 10 months ago

I'd like someone to bluntly ask HCBS and Andrew Wiggins why there is such a gap between what we saw and heard of Wiggins prior to his arrival and what we've seen so far this season. Yes, the hype was overboard and unfair comparisons were made. The flashes we've seen tell us there is so much more for him to show KU fans and opponents. What's holding him back? Playing a new position, the caliber of competition? Maybe so. Where's the "Alpha dog" Coach Self spoke of? His point totals and rebounding often show fans the possibilities. Is the answer that we, some of us, still exppect too much?

Phil Leister 8 years, 10 months ago

The answer is that yes, we expect too much. 17 and 19 is something he is obviously capable, but performing at that level consistently is a lot to ask of an 18 year old kid. He's a phenomenal player and leads KU in scoring this year. Guys are allowed to have an off game.

Jeremy Wilhelm 8 years, 10 months ago

Yes. Recall Newell blogging about whether it was likely for Wiggins to average 16 for the season? His conclusion was that it was probably not reasonable. Wiggins is hanging in at around 15.5 a game, which is pretty remarkable... Further, he has been one of the best defenders I have seen at KU is years... Maybe just shy of Releford in his fifth year senior season. Wiggins draws so much attention that it opens things up for his team. I suggest you watch the player and ignore the stat sheet (even though it, too is pretty impressive).

Bruce Beckum 8 years, 10 months ago

Agreed about Wiggins' defensive abilities. Made a point of watching him on D several times and he is very solid. Even with the new rules, his man rarely gets past him and if he does, Wiggins' athleticism often gets him back in the play.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Vince, you could also say Marcus Smart had an off nite. What's holding him back? Seriously, my good man, Andrew Wiggins is currently leading his team with his ppg average. GO check KU stats from the last 8+ years of Self's recruits: Andrew Wiggins is the best freshman we have ever had under Bill Self. His D is legit. He slashes well. He rebounds well. His 3ball is average. BRush, for comparison did not slash well, but was a better 3shooter. Maybe OSU gameplanned him well? Kind of like KU gameplanned Marcus Smart & neutralized him. Frankly, we made Smart look bad, and maybe OSU focused on Wiggybaby?

Ron Franklin 8 years, 10 months ago

Where can we find the 26 million megapixel panoramic photo from the game yesterday?

Ethan Berger 8 years, 10 months ago

Tharpe can hit everyshot. He also is great at opening up the offense. However his issues are TOs right now. I think a nice chunk of that still has to due with chemistry. He wants the guy to go to one spot but they go to another. However, I think he also picks up the ball to quick. Team can still do more to help. Lot of lead feet out there, but no doubt without Tharpe we would be UK last year.

Rob Byrd 8 years, 10 months ago

While I do think that the majority of Wiggin's problems lie within the massive expectations of us as KU fans, I must say that if we were perfectly honest, he would have shown the college basketball world the "whole package" if he had gone to North Carolina. Even though I just threw up a little in my mouth to say that, I think Roys' offensive mindset of getting out and running and trying to win games in the 90's would really open up the floor for Andrew. Regardless, I am glad he is here. We will never see the COLLEGE player he should be though. He needs to stay another year, but awful hard to turn down the money.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Disagree with this longing-for-Royball post. If it werent for that 2nd foul in the Duke 1st half, Wiggins likely would have had Parker-like 28pts instead of his actual 23. Did you see a PTP'er outshine Parker at the end, on the biggest stage (Madison Square Garden), and basically win us that game. National game, royalty-opponent, and Wiggins shined.

My biggest problem with your theory, Rob, is that you think Roy would have Wiggins attacking & slashing (like Langford, etc...)...but you ignore from the get go all the intense consistent effort by Self to make Wiggins "drive it", "slash", and "penetrate". Self has given the biggest of green lights I have ever seen him give to a freshman. And fittingly so. Wiggins leading the Jayhawks in ppg, yet seeing an off nite for him makes you wish he went to Roy?..(wow, really?) ? Well, what do you think of Marcus Smart's "off nite" in AFH?

And just to illustrate my general point that 'good players can have off nights', let me share I still can recall Marv Albert's voice calling a Bulls game in the MJ-era: "...Michael Jordan now 4-for-19 from the field...". (Bad games happen, maybe we judge the trends or the season's body of work?).

I'm just going to continue to enjoy watching this wonderful, nice kid Wiggins do what he can do for us in his remaining 2.5mos in a Jayhawk uniform.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 10 months ago


1] THE GOOD - we won the game, THE BAD - we almost lost the game, THE UGLY - the refereeing....they lost control of the game early and never really got it totally back.

2] Cobbins healthy, we most likely lose that game.

3] Jo Jo needs to keep developing but please refrain from becoming a punk with the retaliation moves.

4] The Academy of Motion Picture Sciences has added a new category, Best Acting on a Basketball Court and have named it the Marcus Smart Diving Award.

5] Amazing...Andrew and Perry simultaneously have maybe their worst games of the year and KU still beats the Number 9 team in the country.

6] With all the losses between ranking 3 to 14 last week, look to KU to maybe crack the Top Ten, having beat 2 Top Ten teams with one of them on the road.

7] If it was me, I might have put Tarik in for a little while in the second half just to re-ignite the court chemistry.

8] The Blue and Red shirts looked great on TV...I was sad however...seeing the Green Bay QB was nice but he's no Olivia Wilde!!!

9] Baylor next...a real "trap" game....the Hawks need to maintain focus and intesity. [ I gues you could have said that about the second half!! }

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Oakville, regarding Baylor: I think because of Wiggins sub-par stats vs OSU, Baylor's biggest nightmare is about to happen: play KU in AFH with a pissed-off, energized Andrew Wiggins!

Baylor's other problem is we are much better at breaking zones now than a few weeks ago, and we have NO weakness in positions 1 thru 5, and there is a starter quality backup for each and every position. Self has been going 10-deep, even in conf. play now. That itself is a wow-fact...

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

So happy for Tharpe's resurgence and recent dominance!

Rob Byrd 8 years, 10 months ago

Erich, you got the wrong idea from my post. I am not unhappy with Andrew Wiggins' choice of schools, nor do I desire for Roy Williams to replace HCBS. I was merely pointing out that a "run and gun" type offense would showcase Wiggs' incredible athleticism to a greater extent than our 1/2 court offensive sets tend to do. If he was out on the break more often, I think we would see him explode for ridiculous numbers since there would be less chance that he would pass up the dunk to allow a teammate to shoot a jumper. And certainly less chance of him disappearing from the offense for stretches of time. Of course, ol' Roy wouldn't be worried about his defense, which would have been a shame, considering his outstanding ability on that side of the ball, as well. So Erich, I think we are probably on the same page, considering that I am totally happy with HCBS, (NEVER suggesting a preference for RW), the fact that Andrew is a Jayhawk,(NEVER indicating that I wished he had gone to UNC), and never made ANY reference to him having an "off night". I, personally, feel that considering the immense pressure put upon him with unrealistic expectations for an 18 year old kid, he has done a fantastic job of showing what he can be in the future, while blending his talents in with other future stars together as a TEAM! Honestly, how many kids have the ability to score 40 or 50 points in a game, or gather in 19 to ? rebounds, be a defensive STOPPER, etc...? I guess I didn't do a good job of making my point that Andrew would be an absolute monster if he were running in the open floor more often. Bottom line is that he is ours for this year and I am thrilled that he is a Jayhawk! RCJH!

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