Arizona State defeats Kansas, 95-85

  • 1 p.m., Dec. 10, 2017
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Sunday, December 10, 2017

More Miscues: Jayhawks struggle defensively, fall at home to Arizona State

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) and Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) make their way off of the court as the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrate their 95-85 win over the Jayhawks on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) and Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) make their way off of the court as the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrate their 95-85 win over the Jayhawks on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Back-to-back men's basketball losses don't happen all that often at Kansas, so when they do the aftermath often includes some harsh words and serious reality checks.

Such was the scene on Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, where the second-ranked Jayhawks fell, 95-85, to No. 16 Arizona State in a game that featured a fantastic first four minutes for the home team and almost the polar opposite the rest of the way.

“This is the softest team that Kansas has had since I've been here,” a disappointed Bill Self said after Sunday's loss, which came just four days after a Sprint Center setback to Washington. “A lot of that is experience, a lot of that is youth, a lot of it is just the way that we're physically built and the way that our skill set is. But the bottom line is, we have got to become tougher on that end.

“When I say soft, I throw that term around a lot, but I don't know how else you could describe the last four halves we've played if you don't say that.”

After roaring out to a 15-2 lead to open the game, Kansas saw its advantage dip to just three points by halftime, as ASU (9-0) outscored the Jayhawks 35-25 for the final 16:39 of the first half and then rode a terrific trio of lightning-quick guards to a monster second-half run that blew the game open for the visitors.

It was not so much that the Jayhawks (7-2) shot poorly or struggled to keep up with high-scoring ASU, as it was that they simply could not stop the Sun Devils.

“I thought we just played horrendous defensively the last 12 or 14 minutes of the second half,” Self said.

The Jayhawks, who dropped back-to-back games for the first time since losing at Colorado and at Florida during the 2013-14 season, opened the second half with a 7-2 run that pushed their lead back to eight and seemed to put control of the game firmly back on the home sideline.

But just as it did early on, Arizona State kept coming and did not stop.

One crucial stretch that seemed to fully flip the confidence came when ASU's Romello White hit a layup to pull the Sun Devils within four at 48-44. From there, an inbounds violation on KU sophomore Mitch Lightfoot led to a 3-pointer from ASU guard Tra Holder and that sparked the massive Arizona State run that sucked the life out of the Jayhawks and the building.

From down 48-42 to up 68-54, that 26-6 ASU run included a little bit of everything that went wrong for Kansas in this one.

Red-hot shooting from Holder (29 points), Shannon Evans (22) and Remy Martin (21), who helped ASU knock in 14 of 28 3-pointers, kept the pressure on Kansas, which made shots of its own to the tune of 48 percent but also turned it over 16 times. And some of those turnovers came at the absolute worst times.

Take the full-court flier thrown by Malik Newman that immediately erased a golden opportunity for KU to climb within three or four points with nearly five minutes remaining. Instead of slicing into the ASU lead and suffocating the Sun Devils even more, Newman's pass for Devonte' Graham nearly sailed out of bounds along the base line in front of the KU bench and immediately led to an easy bucket for ASU on the other end.

Self called the pass both terrible and boneheaded and alluded to the fact that, even despite their sub-par defense, the Jayhawks had their chances on Sunday.

“It wasn't our offense,” said Self, whose team lost by double digits at home for the first time since falling to Texas 74-63 in 2011. “Hey, if you score 85 at home, you're supposed to win. Giving up 58 at home in a half (as KU did in the second half on Sunday), I don't know if that's happened in the last 15 (years).”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self says Jayhawks need more mental toughness, better defense after loss to Arizona State

Following a 95-85 loss to Arizona State on Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self talked about his team's defensive problems, the need for stronger mental toughness from players and what the Sun Devils did to cause problems for KU's guards.

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It hasn't. In fact, according to the KU media relations staff, Sunday's second-half meltdown marked the most points ever surrendered in a single half by a Bill Self-coached team at Kansas.

The fact that it came at home — loss No. 11 all-time for Self at Allen Fieldhouse — merely made the moment sting a little more.

“I don't like losing, period,” said senior guard Graham, who scored 19 points and dished eight assists in the loss. “And coach Self (doesn't either). Especially not here. Back-to-back losses is something we don't do here. It's all right, we just have to man up to it, look at ourselves in the mirror, each and every one of us, and just get better.”

In order to do that, Self said his team both needed to improve its defense, immensely, and alter its mindset, immediately.

And, according to Self, there's not a single KU player who can escape the blame. Not the newcomers. Not the freshmen. Not veterans Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk or Lagerald Vick.

“Those are the only three players that have ever been in a war before, a fight before, a real fight,” Self said of his trio of upperclassmen. “But I don't think they reacted very well (on Sunday). I think everyone is part of that issue, not being as tough and (understanding) what really wins when things aren't going well. …There's not that dog or competitive juice that guys need to have when the game's on the line. Most of it's mental toughness. I just don't feel it right now.”

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Arizona State

By the Numbers: Arizona State 95, Kansas 85.

By the Numbers: Arizona State 95, Kansas 85.


Michael Sillman 4 years, 11 months ago

I guess we should start looking forward to football season.

Jack Hoff 4 years, 11 months ago

They will be just very just fine! Rock chalk!

Bill Corrigan 4 years, 11 months ago

I felt the same way after the upset by Washington on Wednesday evening -- with the Huskies hitting consistently from long range in the second half, I didn't think the presence of Billy Preston would have changed the final result. Similarly, in today's game, Arizona State made 50% of their 3-point shots during the contest compared to the Jayhawks' 36%, and that's a torrid pace to overcome, even in AFH. Once again, I don't think the availability of Billy Preston would have significantly altered the outcome. KU's problems are attributable to a woeful lack of team defense, particularly on the perimeter.

Craig Carson 4 years, 11 months ago

Preston would have made a big difference..if you are being out shot from 3 and you have no other way to score, then its a problem..KU won games last season when the other team out shot them from 3 because they could score in other ways...with Preston, KU could have focused more on scoring in the paint as well as possibly getting a few offensive rebounds which would have offset the 3pt %

J.L. Forge 4 years, 11 months ago

In addition to being dominate over our guards on the perimeter, they drove to the lane (especially in the second half) almost at will with our guards constantly lagging behind. Has to be a combination of a lack of effort, drive and slow feet cause the ASU guards looks lightning fast compared to ours. While Preston may not have been the difference maker, he would have helped to provide a bit more resistance and shot blocking ability that may have helped to deter their constant penetration. Either way, we have no swagger and definitely no big or even little dog on defense. With our thin roster, this is going to prove to be a very challenging year of ups and downs but I think they will round into form and be right there for the Big 12 title again this year. I will be shocked if we actually see Preston in a KU uniform this year, but I am holding out hope for a positive break with De Sousa gaining eligibility. RCJH!

Oh.....and I gotta put in a plug for some zone defense. Especially against guard heavy competition that we seem to struggle with!

Bryce Landon 4 years, 11 months ago

Hell yes. I'd trade Bill Self for Bobby Hurley right about now. Hurley has a fire in his belly that Self seems to have lost the last few years, and it shows in the way his teams have played defense since the 2013-14 season.

Craig Carson 4 years, 11 months ago are either high, drunk or an idiot..Hurley has 2 good wins and a nice start to a season and you think HE is the better coach and are willing to trade a HOF coach for him?? are you f*g serious dude? tell ya what, next year when ASU losses a few of its seniors and they go back to being a middle of the pack team and Self has KU back on top, then come back and talk to anyone of your desire to trade Self away

Justin Kruse 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree, Jack, they'll be just fine. We didn't look this bad earlier in the season and we won't for the rest of the season. I guess that's what's so frustrating- knowing they can play better. The defense was horrendous, but our offense isn't anything to brag about either these past two or three games. It's shoot a three or take your guy one on one. Get the ball inside! And stop leaving guys open for 3 in your transition defense, please.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 11 months ago

Our guards simply do not guard well and have a very difficult time staying in front of their man. Two games in a row we've allowed the opponent to shoot over 50%. We normally win when we keep that at 40%. Svi just had a pretty bad game today, shot terribly, turned it over so many times I lost count. Newman needs to be forbidden from taking layups. He can drive, but he must be instructed to pass at the last second. He gets stuffed more than a thanksgiving day turkey. If our guards can't move their feet well enough to stay in front of their man, a zone may be our only option.

Layne Pierce 4 years, 11 months ago

Both teams played almost the entire game. So depth should not have been a problem. Actually, they shot 50% 3, 50% fg,. That is not going to cut it. We will not be able to beat many people who shoot 50/50.

Don't be surpised, if Self doesn't go away from 4 guards, if d doesn't improve. The fact is we are not tough, we are soft. How many charges did we take today, or even try. How many dives to the floor. Not many.

We have got to get physical. We can't play in a tux. I for one, am just hoping for a chance that we might win the conference. As configured now, and with our mediocre defense, and ball movement, let alone softness, I will be happy if we win the conference and finish in the top 20.

We have such a small margin to work with. Nebraska on the road will not be easy either.

Craig Carson 4 years, 11 months ago

"Don't be surpised, if Self doesn't go away from 4 guards"...what other options does he have??? KU went from having 5 front court players before the season to 1 now...Self has literally no choice but to play the 4 guard lineup..Lightfoot is not a front court player

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 11 months ago

I thought our guard play was supposed to be one of our strengths.

Allin Herring 4 years, 11 months ago

This is maybe the worst and softness KU team in decades. They can not play defense , the bench is too thin thanks to Bills lack of recruiting players for this year, continuing our string of signing players with issues, and when we play real college teams our offense is not the 3 point giant they think they are. If you compare this years team to any of Bill's previous teams you can find at least 6 players at each of our positions that are better than our current team. Graham is not taking charge of the team like Mason, Dok can play no more than 22 minutes against top 5 conferences, Svi still can not play defense and is not a go to player even though he is a Senior, Newman can not score on a fast break, Vick has improved but is not a go to guy, and our bench is just to thin.

Craig Carson 4 years, 11 months ago

im so tired of people putting the lack of front line players off on Self..before the season started KU was slated to have 5 front court players......FIVE!!!!..they had a full roster..Self recruited as needed..its not his fault that Bragg, Coleby and Whitman all transferred out weeks before the season started and its not his fault Preston is in his current situation

Tom Jones 4 years, 11 months ago

"This is maybe the worst and softness KU team in decades."


Steve Johnson 4 years, 11 months ago

worse team I have seen in over 10 years. At least it wasn't one person, they all are part of the disaster, Good recruiting class next year. Hopefully Self checked on their eligibility

Doug Clark 4 years, 11 months ago

I have seen quite a few of the other big 12 teams play and I think the streak could very well end this year, our guards are getting dominated, if Svi isn't hitting his shots early it really affects the rest of his game, Vick was pretty good but he doesn't show the mentality to take charge, for a senior Devonte seems to panic and starts jacking up long 3's to try and get us back, Udoka is not really effective offensively or defensively unless he is catching long passes, Garret should not be the one shooting 3's, they left him open for a reason, newman is hard to figure out and we have zero bench production. We have seen the last 2 teams come up with game plans to beat us and did it fairly easy, that's not good. I said to myself before the season that this might be a long season because we have no alpha dogs and no depth, it's starting to look like I might be right, let's hope not.

Craig Carson 4 years, 11 months ago

to be fair, KU had depth..then people transferred and our prized freshmen got himself in trouble...I dont look for this team to do much this year..hate to say that...10 losses, a 3 or 4th place Big 12 finish, a 5th or 6th seed and a 1st weekend exit is expected..unless they can pull off a 2016 Villinova type of shooting performance in the NCAA, they wont beat anyone decent...the game plan to beat them is now out there and its been proven to not be a fluke

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 11 months ago

Why don't we look at it from different perspective? ASU is a better team. I expected a loss anyway.

They beat us to the basket: our guards need to train how to slide quicker. Or some suggest, draw a charge. They can shoot 3s. We all know that. We just need to counter attack with 3 as well. Our guards need to get better in shooting 3s guarded or non-contested. Go practice harder. We did see lobs and dunks perfectly executed. Well.. do some more!! Feed Dok and Vick! They got steals here and there.. well, any coaches by now should know HCBS offense style: keep weaving and weaving and weaving in the perimeter. Against quick and long guards, nothing spectacular about swiping ball from our guards' hands. The direction is PREDICTABLE. There's no screening, it's just handing the ball to another guard in one direction. They seem to do the same thing (plus penetration), but with different results. Go watch the tape again and again. Nothing can be done at this point. That's up to HCBS.

Mike Hart 4 years, 11 months ago

Alright, so I have a question regarding this whole Billy Preston incident. How is it possible that we don't know ANY details after one month as to what is going on with the Preston investigation? I certainly don't believe Bill Self knows as little as he acts like. When Billy Preston stayed back from going to Miami for the Syracuse game... Self said it was because Billy Preston's mom was coming into town and Self wanted Preston to be able to spend time with his mom... what?? I mean first of all: What was Billy Preston's mom doing coming to KU at a time when it was known well in advance that the team was traveling to Miami. Why come visit then? Seems to me she is being called to the University as part of the ongoing investigation surrounding Preston. Why else come when the team is out of town? Makes zero sense. I don't see people asking questions, demanding answers, or calling out Self for his "I don't know anything" attitude. Is it because Self wins? (At least until this past week anyway). Self is a great recruiter and a great coach, but for ALL the complaining about Beaty and his players refusing to handshake... people said he should have been fired on the spot for that one. Yet, Bill has his basketball players.. who repeatedly make this University look bad off the court with their issues. There are 500% as many football players as basketball players, but it is our basketball team the last 5 years that repeatedly has their dirty laundry aired. I haven't heard a peep from anyone.. beat writers, posters... about what the heck is going on with the basketball program.

This Billy Preston lack of news after one month is ridiculous. I don't believe for one second that Bill Self doesn't know what is going on. Maybe he is forbidden to speak about it, but don't insult our intelligence by acting like everyone is completely in the dark as this investigation runs it course. Selective outrage...

J.L. Forge 4 years, 11 months ago

Great post Mike. I would have to assume, that HCBS probably does know more than he is letting on (most likely due to legal restrictions). After this much time, it sure would seem as though there was more to it than driving his mom's vehicle. I certainly hope not, but I have come to my own conclusion that we will never see Mr. Preston play a single minute for our program. I am holding out hope that somehow I am wrong and since I am not privy to the investigation, fingers are crossed!

John Kelley 4 years, 11 months ago

Washington that just defeated KU by nine points lost their next game to GONZ by 27 points 97-70!

Rae Bricil 4 years, 11 months ago

saw that as well--i knew coming in UW was not a good basketball team (good teams are typically not +20pt underdogs) and that we made them look really good but didnt know for sure until seeing that game.

This team is a rudderless ship with know identity--or rather their identity is we when make threes we love playing basketball but when we dont we would rather not.

Graham appears by all reports a great human being and a super nice young man. Unfortunately not sure his niceness translates to being a leader and instilling toughness and defense.

Craig Carson 4 years, 11 months ago

Zags have something KU does not....front court depth..they also play better D..I fear this team might not get too much better than they are right might just be a personnel problem and not a scheme issue....the team is so reliant on making 3's that they are predictable...saying "they should drive more" is true,but what if they dont posses the players to get that done? they look to be a team of good shooters but not much else

Ed Noyes 4 years, 11 months ago

Really tired of Bill Walton. Obviously his memory about his first visit to AFH is Phogged by too much weed as last year was his first visit to

Chris DeWeese 4 years, 11 months ago

Even Coach K, Coach Williams, and Coach Calipari have off seasons.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 11 months ago

That doesn't make it any less painful when we have an off season.

Roger Ortega 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm not only concerned with the guard play but we truly don't have a rim protector. Even though ASU got past our guards Dok is supposed to be the last line of defense and he only got a couple of blocked shots. I didn't even see him altering shots yesterday. I could be wrong of course as I don't have the best memory. Anyway, I truly hope this changes because right now he's a one trick pony. Dunk. Listen I'll take dunks all day from Dok but if we can't get him that what else does he offer? He has no mid range game. You take him more than 3 feet from the hoop and it's a prayer that it goes in. If I were to see the silver lining in having a bad year (and it's WAY TOO EARLY to be looking for one) I'd say Dok comes back. I'm not putting this L on Dok. It's just my opinion after watching him play. I was hoping for more. That said Graham seems like a nice guy but he needs to not be so nice on the court. I hope he has it in him to be the dog HCBS needs. To me it seems Vick is the only one willing to get dirty. Every one else wants to rain three's.

Craig Carson 4 years, 11 months ago

ive noticed that as well..noone wants to drive and pressure the defense...this team rarely shoots far as Graham, comparing him to Mason is unfair..Mason was a slasher, Graham is more of a shooter..I fear the only way their D gets better is if they play A LOT of zone..seems to be the only way to prevent penetration and protect Dok from foul trouble..but I am looking forward to next year when KU will FINALLY have some size, talent and depth in the front court..Im tired of the Golden State Warrior offense LOL..I havent given up on them yet..they may still add Preston and DeSousa..but my expectations on this team isnt very high..a sweet 16 might be the best they can do

Pius Waldman 4 years, 11 months ago

How many of you guys and gals noticed Duke played zone the ENTIRE game against Michigan State. The problem might be Self is biased and thinks zone is crappy. In fact he stated that. Zone playing might not be the total solution but if practiced which he doesn't do but why not give it a try. Coach K at Duke did it and guess what it worked.

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