Friday, March 11, 2016

Bill Self’s halftime message to Jayhawks short and blunt

Kansas head coach Bill Self scratches his head during the second half, Friday, March 11, 2016 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas head coach Bill Self scratches his head during the second half, Friday, March 11, 2016 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.


— Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self didn’t tear into his team at halftime of Friday’s Big 12 Tournament semifinal against Baylor.

He calmly addressed the Jayhawks’ two-point deficit off his team’s lowest scoring output (21) in any half this season.

“I said, ‘Hey, if we don’t want to be here, fine. We’re tired and we can go home and rest. That’s OK. If we’re going to play with this energy and be pouty and be babies, that’s fine. We’ll just regroup and rest an extra day (before NCAA Tournament),’” Self said after the Jayhawks rallied to a 70-66 victory, courtesy of a 49-point second half. “That’s all I said. That was those guys (Jayhawks) coming out and playing better the second half. It had nothing to do with what I said at halftime,” he added.

In an interesting twist, the Jayhawks actually saw a 16-point lead (with 1:51 left) dip to three points (at :05.4).

Self with 0:18.9 to play had to replace four reserves (Brannen Greene, Hunter Mickelson, Cheick Diallo, Lagerald Vick) with Jamari Traylor, Frank Mason III, Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden, Jr., Devonté Graham remaining in the game.

“The worst nightmare would be if we lost, so this was just a bad dream, OK?” Self said to media laughter. “I wanted to play the other guys. It looks so easy from the bench, to say, ‘Well, I could do this and I could do that. I could do better than that.’ Those guys got a chance to play and didn’t do better. That’ll be humbling to them. They’ll grow from it. I think it’s fine.”

Self added: “I said coming into the tournament if we won the first game, I promise you I was going to let these young kids play in crucial situations in the second game and we didn’t really get a chance to do that, but the last two minutes we did. It didn’t turn out very well, but in Baylor also, the law of averages start prevailing. They made a couple shots they’d been missing earlier, but that doesn’t take away anything from us being excited about playing tomorrow.”

Of seeing the lead dip, KU senior Traylor said: “Things happen sometimes. Those guys were in there doing their best. I’m just happy we won the game.”

— See what people were saying about KU's semifinal victory during's live coverage

More news and notes from KU’s Big 12 semifinal victory

By the Numbers: Kansas 70, Baylor 66

By the Numbers: Kansas 70, Baylor 66


Danny Hernandez 6 years, 5 months ago

I felt Drew should have replaced his starters whenSelf did; oh let's see, let's see if our first team can beat Kansas's second team! Some guys will take a win anyway they can. NOT

Joshua Hann 6 years, 5 months ago think Baylor should have rolled over and played dead because KU took the starters out? And I'm fairly certain at this time of a year, a win is a win, much like any time, really. I hope the sarcasm was lost on me because that might be one of the most simple-minded things I've read on here. Maybe KU should have stopped playing in the '08 championship game when things looked over.....?

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 4 months ago

Calm down, Joshua. I'm certain that Danny was being mostly facetious. The fact is that Baylor's first team can apparently beat KU's second team, but that doesn't mean that I believe Baylor should have thrown in the towel. KU wouldn't do that either because Bill Self never wants to be perceived as "giving up". He preaches toughness to his players, so he sure as "hell" is going to have their back.

What happened to the second team is rare, so I don't see a need to overreact. However, rest assured that, in the rest of tournament play, the starters won't be pulled until the game is either so far out of reach or the other team accepts the defeat and starts emptying their bench.

Tournaments are special and most coaches want to give every player on the team a chance to play if possible. The guys at the end of the bench work just as hard as the regulars in practice, and they deserve to be rewarded.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 4 months ago

I was disappointed the bench could not close out the game. It was an amazing display of sloppiness. I can only assume that with a 15 point lead complacency set in.

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