Saturday, February 10, 2018

KU offense crashes in road loss at Baylor

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) heads to the bucket between several Baylor players during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) heads to the bucket between several Baylor players during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.


A lackluster first half put the Kansas basketball team in a troublesome spot Saturday afternoon at Baylor, so much so that a second-half surge couldn’t save the Jayhawks in an 80-64 road loss.

The Bears ended an 11-game losing streak versus KU by shooting 57 percent from the floor and turning the Jayhawks’ offense into a shell of itself most of the first half.

The defeat moved KU (19-6 overall, 8-4 Big 12) to a game behind Texas Tech in the loss column, hours ahead of the Red Raiders’ Saturday night matchup at Kansas State.

KU headed into the locker room at halftime, in Waco, Texas, having played its least productive half of the season.

The Jayhawks scored just once in the final six and a half minutes of the first half. After KU took an 18-17 lead on a Devonte’ Graham jumper, an already staggering offense completely crashed.

Other than another Graham (23 points) jumper at the 3:31 mark, the Jayhawks came away with empty possession after empty possession.

Svi Mykhailiuk, playing with a black eye suffered during pre-game warmups, missed a pair of 3-pointers and turned the ball over during the brutal stretch, which also included a pair of Malik Newman misses in the final minute, and a miss apiece by Graham and Lagerald Vick, as KU went 1-for-7 in the minutes leading into intermission.

Baylor, in the meantime, rode Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (19 points), who scored seven of his 11 first-half points in the same span, and scored on six of its final eight possessions to take a 30-20 lead into the second half.

The Jayhawks shot 7 for 26 from the floor (26.9 percent) from the floor and only made 2 of 13 3-pointers (15.4 percent) in the first half, with the offense lacking rhythm.

The chances of a second-half recovery took a significant blow when 7-foot sophomore Udoka Azubuike picked up his third and fourth fouls just more than two minutes in.

Kansas trimmed BU’s lead to as low as two points in the second half, but the final minutes of the first proved critical for the Bears’ chances.

Malik Newman (14 points) helped KU rediscover its offensive mojo for a bit down the stretch.

The sophomore guard got rolling just in time, with teammate Azubuike spending a huge chunk of the second half on the bench with foul trouble.

Not only did Newman knock down an early 3-pointer after the break, he began attacking to set up teammates, too, dishing for five second-half assists.

The Jayhawks really began believing the game was salvageable when Newman scored six straight points. His free throws trimmed the deficit to five points for the first time in the second half, with 13:09 left. And a downhill drive for a layup seemed to invigorate the offense even more.

Azubuike checked back into the game with 4 fouls with more than 11 minutes to play, and quickly impacted KU’s brief resurgence, as well, with a pair of powerful dunks in less than one minute.

But Kansas couldn’t keep up after rallying, and BU out-scored the 10th-ranked Jayhawks, 50-40, in the second half.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: Manu Lecomte (18 points) caught fire late in the second half.

The Jayhawks had cut what was once a 13-point, second-half lead down to two when LeComte began firing daggers.

The standout BU guard had been scoreless in the second half before a jumper ignited him with 6:50 to play.

Each of the next two trips down the floor, LeComte came through from deeper out, burying back-to-back 3-pointers that pushed Baylor’s lead back up to 10 just like that.

• Offensive highlight: In a first half almost completely devoid of timing and execution for KU’s offense, one sequence looked flawless.

Against Baylor’s 2-3 zone, Mykhailiuk skipped a pass from the left wing over to Graham on the right.

The senior point guard instantly moved the ball to Vick in the high post. As the junior pivoted to survey the court, he spotted Tristan Clark stepping up in the paint in his direction.

Without hesitation, Vick lofted a pass toward the rim, enabling Mitch Lightfoot to explode from the left block for an uncontested, two-handed alley-oop.

It was one of just two successful shots at the rim in the first half for Kansas.

• Defensive highlight: With KU’s offense sluggish in the first half, the visitors really needed a boost on defense.

Sophomore big Lightfoot came through with one as a help defender when the Jayhawks’ defense broke down on the perimeter. Terry Maston attacked off the dribble and took off for the hoop for what looked to be an easy two points.

Instead, Lightfoot quickly slid over from the weak side and exploded upward to smack the shot off the backboard with emphasis.

With KU missing 11 of its first 13 shots from the floor every defensive stop was a must.

• Key stat: Three-point shooting. The long-range jumpers failed KU on this afternoon. Kansas made just 6 of 31 from long range, destroying its chances.

Baylor, on just 15 attempts, knocked down eight 3-pointers.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will be on the road again, this time at Iowa State. The Cyclones already have defeated West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma at Hilton Coliseum this season. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, on ESPN2.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU

By the Numbers: Baylor 80, Kansas 64.

By the Numbers: Baylor 80, Kansas 64.


Tony Bandle 4 years, 6 months ago

For some reason I wasn't that surprised by the loss. Odds were against us to start based on how close BU came to beating us in Allen. Just ask Oklahoma how hard it is to win on the road in the Big 12 today.

Maybe the Kitty Kats will do us a favor and catch TT off guard this evening......that wouldn't surprise me either.

Drew Doerfler 4 years, 6 months ago

i think it's time to just admit that this team is below average when it's not hitting 3 pointers or shooting really well......KU can get beaten by anybody on any given night this year. and i think that for having juniors and seniors, our fundamentals are pretty poor. they are always out of position, don't know how to recover defensively or get out to defend players....Graham is having a great year, but he just doesn't have the supporting cast this year....this team just has too many weaknesses. if they aren't totally focused and giving 110%, they just aren't that good. I'm kind of glad we won't be getting a number 1 seed in the tournament this year because i can really see this team coming out and getting beaten by a 16. The only way we win conference this year is by other teams also continuing to lose to help us out because this team is going to lose a couple more times this year. My guess is a sweet 16 with a second or first round loss not being too surprising. Is it just me, or are about half of Azubuike's fouls really stupid and easily avoided? The good news : we are finally going to be loaded and deep at both frontcourt and backcourt positions next year..should be a great team. side note.....i think Self should start recruiting bigs that have actual basketball skills and not just highly ranked 'potential' players like cheick....De sousa doesn't look to have very many actual basketball skills right now. but i also think he will be at least a 3 year player that gets better and better after a couple years coming off the bench. or this team could get hot like connecticut in the tournament and string 5 great shooting nights together and surprise everyone...dreaming ;)

Bryce Landon 4 years, 6 months ago

Remember when we started the season 7-0 and were hitting three-pointers left and right? That 7-0 start might have been the worst thing that could have happened to us. It gave the players and the fans a false sense of security that we would be just fine without Billy Preston. Well, that hasn't been the case. Nearly every victory we've had since then has been a struggle, and we've looked god-awful in every loss we've had.

Austin Lopez 4 years, 6 months ago

I get Dok was in foul trouble the first half, didn't watch the second half but can someone explain to me why the ball isn't going to Dok every single play while he is on the floor? Dok is a beast down low he needs to be touching the ball every single play, instead our guards rather settle for the 3 ball. SMH. We have a monster down low but we rather shoot, shoot, shoot. I wouldn't be surprised if this team got bounced in the first round. Shame on Bill Self for not putting more of the offense on Dok.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

Because he had 4 fouls with about 15 minutes left in the game.

Why is it "shame on Bill Self" if Dok doesn't learn how to play at both ends of the court without fouling? Most of his fouls come from being out of position on defense and silly hand checking.

If Dok wants to be a bigger part on offense that he needs to stay in the game for more than 19 minutes.

Austin Lopez 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm talking about more in general rather than just this one game.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

Fair enough, I thought you were referring to the 2nd half of this game but either way, Dok needs to be on the court to score.

Allan Olson 4 years, 6 months ago

Dok's first foul was on offense, by elbowing his defender on his bull rush toward a dunk. He typically gets 2 fouls early, then sits through to halftime. How many times does this have to happen to him before there is a glimmer of understanding? This guy may be uncoachable; seems pretty obvious to me after 25 games.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 6 months ago

It's really difficult to win any games without a killer instinct on offense. A couple times Lightfoot got the ball in the middle, he looks to pass outside each time, instead of facing the basket - taking a shot or taking 1 or 2 dribbles slamming the ball hard. Garrett could've helped by cutting the lane more. He made 2 out of 3 shot attempts total.. could really take some of Newman's shootings instead. Svi needs to go back to the gymn and practice his shooting more. DeSousa, hopefully he'll stick around - I really don't like coach benching this kid for a flopper - no room for learning at all. He won't develop that much with this kind of treatment.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

I would like to think that Coach Self has sat down with Silvio and has him motivated to play next year's team.

This year is a transition team. Next year's team will form the nucleus for the next 2 to 3 years. Silvio can be a large part of that nucleus along with one of Coach Self's best recruiting class +3 highly rated transfers.

I'll be happy with whatever we get from this year's team. We will keep our streaks of winning 20+ more games plus consecutive years in the NCAA.

I would even be happy with a Sweet Sixteen finish.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 6 months ago

Marius, do you actually think this team will make the Sweet Sixteen? KU has had much better teams fall short of this goal. I see us a a second round casualty.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

If the over/under was the 2nd round, I would bet on the over.

Allan Olson 4 years, 6 months ago

So Coach Self says to him just get ready for next season. And, do it in less than one minute per game, two minutes if you don't screw up! Poor guy looks like the bear in the shooting gallery. Back and forth, and back and forth, bench to court, court to bench.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 6 months ago

Silvio must be wishing he had stayed at IMG Academy...

Michael Sillman 4 years, 6 months ago

Two games ago people started talking up Mykhailiuk for first team All Big 12 then crash. Wonder if the two are related. We got lucky to beat TCU with him as a no show. Wasn’t going to happen twice.

Steve Johnson 4 years, 6 months ago

Therapy time for me! Graham is a very good player and is worn out carrying this team. Svi is back to the Sophomore we all know and may be mentally done. He has not only lost his scoring touch and confidence he is back to being slow and out of position on defense. Vick disappears and knows this is probably his last year as a Jayhawk with a talented group coming in. Big Dok is his own worst enemy and could be the best big man in the country if he just plays smarter. Stupid fouls and I would argue he fouls every time he gets the ball. Lightfoot plays hard and just had an off night shooting. Newman just cant get a shot to fall but is playing better than he has. DeSousa, gave his horrible 10 seconds as usual before he was on the bench. He seems to have no skill or basketball intelligence maybe he should try to be a tight end. Sam bye bye will not have any time other than playing with the walk ons in blow outs. Garret got pulled early and was no worse than Vick but has a good future ahead. No chance for a Big 12 title or winning the Big 12 Tournament. This season will be a huge success if we get to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. There is no chemistry at all and Self seems to not have an answer to anything with this squad.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 6 months ago

DeSousa's issue is that he joined the team smack-dab in the middle of conference play. I guarantee he'd have more playing time had he had time to develop during non-conference action.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 6 months ago

well, when your opponent shoots 56% from the field and you shoot 39%, a blow out like this is what you get. It will take a lot of things to go in our favor for us to even get a share of the conference title this year. Texas Tech just looks too physical and too hungry to let this get away from them. I think one win in the dance is what we are looking at. Can't see us getting to the sweet sixteen.

Steve Johnson 4 years, 6 months ago

you are right. thanks to our weak defense and being a step slow, that allows teams to shoot well. This is by far the weakest most non chemistry team I have seen Self put on the floor!

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

I agree with both Barry and Steve. The chemistry isn't there but even so, 19–6 and 8–4.

It's a weird year for every true Blueblood program. I'm glad we have Self to guide us through it.

Jaston Archie 4 years, 6 months ago

I don’t understand why Devonte gets such a pass by KU coaches and fans, he is a small, unathletic very average player. I guess it’s bc he plays so many minutes that any time he messes up or shoots bricks it’s bc he’s tired and has to carry the team. In this game when it was just a 4 point game at the end, he attacks the rim and gets blocked obviously. Then he loses his man in the zone, 3 points, then he doesn’t look back for the outlet pass from Svi, turnover then 3 points (his man). That’s 8 points in a critical point of the game. He’s not built to carry a team, I can’t wait for next season

Rae Bricil 4 years, 6 months ago

Graham is a great kid but have to agree i just don't see him as a leader. He turns it over or does not execute in a lot of pivotal moments.

Also, so tired of the fatigue excuse these are 22 year old kids wanting to play in the NBA next year with more games and more minutes.

I have never seen a Bill Self team play so consistently to their floor. There are 3-5 project professionals on this team way more than any other team in the league but most of the nights it looks like the more talented team is not KU. I think most of it is desire and execution. This team does not rebound, does not play defense, does not win 50-50 balls and now they don't play offense. Not sure what this team is built to do--they have lost their identity.

Maybe they are collapsing under the weight of 14. I am sure it is a lot of pressure--no one want to be remembered as the team that lost it--much less being the leader of that team.

That said, at this rate, there will be ZERO expectations for this team come March. Wouldn't surprise me if they made a serious run--with the way they are capable of shooting they could easily win or lose to anyone. FF>Big 12 title

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

Devante gets a pass? If it wasn't for Devante, this team would have folded a long time ago. We will still finish the season with somewhere near 25 wins, most of it on the back of Devante Graham.

Even in today's crappy game, he finished with 23 points 4 assists and 3 rebounds.

You're trying to turn Devante into Frank Mason. That's not how it works.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 6 months ago

devonte is probably the only player on our team this year that seems to be giving 100% effort every game despite playing way more minutes than even Frank played last year. Frank was able to take a few possessions off last year and let Devonte run the offense, Devonte can't do that.

Clara Westphal 4 years, 6 months ago

Svi got poked in the eye and could not see well. It is hard to shoot 3's with one eye shut.

J.L. Forge 4 years, 6 months ago

We just have to accept the ups and downs this team has had all year long. Some positives such as some good free throw shooting (I am looking for positives here somewhere), assist numbers usually outdo the opposition and pretty decent three point shooting squad (although definitely didn't show today!). The negatives just outweigh the positives unfortunately and that isn't going to change. Extremely poor perimeter and interior defensive play and rebounding just kill this team. As heavily reliant as we are on guards, they are a very poor defending and reacting bunch who consistently get beaten to the basket or by leaving shooters wide open. Even the poorest shooter, given enough wide open looks, will hit them as we have seen. Not sure why but our offense seems to be really lost over the past several games. Hopefully that changes and the staff makes some adjustments (not sure what other adjustments they can possibly make at this point). Remarkably, we are still in the thick of things and have a good chance to bring home another league banner!

Tom Horner 4 years, 6 months ago

The guys are exhausted and it shows. The push from the legs just isn't there. Maybe the best thing to do when the team is down 10 with 2 minutes left is put in the walk ons and let the starters rest. Nothing is to be gained bu exhausting them further.

John Brazelton 4 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self said that 5 losses would win or tie to win the Big 12 this year. It looks like he knew what he was talking about. The only problem is that KU may just have more than 5 losses.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 6 months ago

The biggest difference between this team and last years is Frank Mason.

It's not easy replacing the consensus Player of the Year. Devante is Devante. No way can he be both and no one has stepped forward on this team to help fill the void.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 6 months ago

Short in numbers,

Relatively short in stature.

Short in chemistry.

Short in basketball skills.

I am afraid this team is what it is and that translate that this team will come up short!

That's the short and the long of it.

David Howell 4 years, 6 months ago

I couldn't have said it much better.

Based on what we've seen no one can expect us to make a deep run in the tourney. They are worn out yet somehow we've stayed away from major injuries so far.

Best thing IMO is to hope the Hawks lose in the 1st round of Big 12, get rested up, receive a favorable draw and somehow win a couple of games ......... Beyond that Bill might have to make a deal with the devil !

Brian Shain 4 years, 6 months ago

Why is it every game we start off shooting a ton of 3's and when they fall it's great and when they don't we get down and then we start driving the ball. Why not attack the basket to open up the 3? Get to the line, get the other team in foul trouble for once. Put pressure on their defense. Devonte has gotten better at this throughout the season and so has Malik. Even Garrett has shown he can get to the rim, although the "most athletic" Vick can't seem to get passed anybody ever. Just seems to me that our offense is so predictable and easy to guard. Shoot a 3 or throw it to Dok. Defense wise I think the zone needs be implemented more and not just when we are down double digits. Not that I think our zone is that great but it seems to be effective whenever we use it.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 6 months ago

We shoot a ton of 3's regardless of the time of the game because that's the only thing this team is well above average at. They are one of the best 3 point shooting teams in the country so they are doing what they do best.

Robert Brock 4 years, 6 months ago

‘Buike was exposed as a clumsy buffoon with limited skills and little understanding of the game.

Allin Herring 4 years, 6 months ago

Why are we we giving BI'll a pass in this game? They had a big height advantage and scored at will in the paint and our only big guy has continuous foul problems yet Bill refuses to play zone until we are out of the game. It took him until deep into the 2nd half before he decides to play zone and we catch up to only two down. Maybe if we play a little more zone we would not wear our few players out and let Dok play more minutes before he fouls out. He refused to play zone until it was too late in the Oklahoma State game and his coaching in the Oklahoma game cost us the game. He is so darn inflexible. His ru`ing off several players in the off season and recruiting of this years team caused us to get DeSousa to come out early and has shown he is no where close to the player we hoped he would be. It is not fair to him and his career but if he continues to play the way his very short appearances have been he may be one of our biggest busts.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 6 months ago

Do you not understand that De Sousa didn't get the whole summer exhibition tour, preseason, and non-conference season to learn the system both offensively and defensively, build chemistry with his teammates, and play enough to get the game to "slow down" for him? What he's doing now has nothing to do with him being a bust, it has everything to do with him being in "July" mode while everyone else is in "February" mode. I guess you're under the impression that all of that time over the summer and through the year preparing for the season doesn't actually help improve skills? Give the kid a break. He didn't come here at semester for fans like you to expect him to be Shaq. He came here to be a Jayhawk, learn, get better, prepare for next year, and hopefully help out a thin roster this year. He's only a bust for people who expect the world out of a kid that's supposed to be playing in HS right now.

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