Saturday, March 16, 2019

Shooting struggles doom Kansas in loss to Iowa State during Big 12 title game

Kansas guard Charlie Moore (2) waits out a couple of free throws as Iowa State guard Lindell Wigginton (5) and Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton (22) celebrate with less than a minute to play in the game, Saturday, March 16, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Charlie Moore (2) waits out a couple of free throws as Iowa State guard Lindell Wigginton (5) and Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton (22) celebrate with less than a minute to play in the game, Saturday, March 16, 2019 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.


Kansas City, Mo. — If you’re looking for black-and-white examples of how Iowa State handed Kansas its latest loss in the Big 12 tournament title game on Saturday night at Sprint Center, look no further than the 78-66 final score and the fact that the Cyclones led for more than 36 minutes of the 40-minute game.

But if you’re in search of something more poetic, perhaps a signature moment that perfectly summed up the way the day went for the 3rd-seeded Jayhawks, the easiest place to look came with 1:21 to play and Kansas trailing by nine, when KU junior Dedric Lawson was whistled for a technical foul after slamming the ball down in frustration following yet another positive play for Iowa State.

The game was over long before that. But after competing all night and hoping against hope that something would change for their struggling offense, Lawson’s technical was the equivalent of the Jayhawks waving the white flag and finally giving in to an evening full of frustration.

“Dedric getting that technical late, I thought that was great, too, because frustration,” an upbeat KU coach Bill Self said after the loss. “That’s not a good thing to have happen, but I think it’s OK. You’ve got to show poise at all times, but the game was over. … That was just some frustration of having some guys laying on you all night.”

After a season in which he led both Kansas (25-9) and the Big 12 in scoring and dropped more double-doubles than all but six players in the entire country, Lawson finally had one of those off nights that tend to keep players awake at night.

Layups, jump hooks, jumpers in the lane, one-on-one efforts or shots into double teams, Lawson missed them all during Saturday’s first half. And by the break, he sat at 2-of-11 from the floor with his team trailing Iowa State by 10.

“It was nothing they did,” said Lawson after finishing 8-of-21 for the game for 18 points and 8 rebounds in 37 minutes. “I was just missing shots. They played the same way they did at Iowa State and Allen Fieldhouse, I was just missing shots tonight.”

He wasn’t the only one. As a team, Kansas opened the game 10-of-31 from the floor and finished only slightly better than that, at 28-of-71 for the game. That included a 3-of-18 clip from 3-point range, where the Jayhawks did not see their first shot from behind the arc fall through until Devon Dotson (17 points in 34 minutes) drained a triple with 11:25 to play in the game.

“Once I started missing, the hole got smaller and smaller for everyone else and it just was contagious for everyone to miss shots,” a disappointed Lawson said after the game.

Added Self of his team’s off shooting night: “We’re streaky. We know we’re streaky. We’ve been streaky all year long. We just need to be streaky on the right nights. But we weren’t tonight. It was almost comical to start the game. How many layups did we miss and how many 3s did we miss — open 3s — and how many free throws did we miss, but we look up and (we’re only) down six.”

Once the Cyclones (23-11) pushed past that point, the closest Kansas came the rest of the way was an eight-point deficit, which came on the opening possession of the second half.

Iowa State, which allowed Kansas to hang around by missing a few shots of its own in the first half — 13-of-31 for 41.9 percent — shot 56.5 percent in the second half, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, and seemed to have an answer every time the Jayhawks threatened to make a game of it.

Many of those answers came with exclamation marks at the end, either via a Kansas foul or a back-breaking bounce off the rim that propelled the ball to fall through.

“It’s definitely deflating,” said freshman guard Ochai Agbaji, who finished the three-day tournament 7-of-21 for 16 points, including a 2-of-7 mark on Saturday night. “We were really working on defense, so to see those go in, it was kind of like, ‘What else?’”

That question quickly gave way to thoughts and sounds of “what’s next?” following Saturday’s loss. But Self and the Jayhawks left Sprint Center feeling a lot better about the game and the state of their team than the final score and preceding 40 minutes of basketball might have led the casual observer to believe.

“This is the best I’ve felt about my team all year long,” Self said in the hallway outside the KU locker room, where the sounds of the Iowa State celebration a few doors down soon drowned out the KU coach’s words. “They competed and tried real hard and (couldn’t) get any baskets to go down. They made the shots we missed and their players were just better at getting the ball in the basket. That’s frustrating, but they’ve got good players. So that happens sometimes.”

If it happens again, the 2018-19 Kansas basketball season will be over. But Self said the things he saw from his team during the past three days in Kansas City gave him enough hope that the upcoming NCAA Tournament could be a fun ride.

“I feel good,” Self said. “I feel good about them. This was a good weekend for us. We had to grind out a win Thursday. We had to show some toughness (Friday) night. … The bottom line is, we had a good week. Did we win (it all)? No. Are we pissed that we lost? Yes. But I thought we got better and I thought we had some individuals have a better understanding of what it takes to win in March.”

Added Dotson, speaking for a locker room full of Jayhawks who wanted to bring home Saturday’s Big 12 title as a way to ease the pain of ending the program’s regular-season title streak earlier this season: “This is a bad taste in our mouths. We really wanted this one. But it’s on to the NCAA Tournament now.”


Bryce Landon 3 years, 5 months ago

I am sick and tired of losing to Iowa State.

I am sick and tired of losing to Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament.

I am sick and tired of ISU racking up Big 12 Tournament titles after putting up a mediocre regular season.

I am sick and tired of seeing Cyclones fans take over our home away from home the way they've been doing in this decade.

I am sick and tired of baggy ISU fans claiming that they are the "real" Big 12 champions as if the regular season title doesn't exist.

I am sick and tired of the ESPN commentators practically rooting for ISU to beat us.

And I am sick and tired of being ISU's bitch in the Big 12 Tournament.

In short... I HATE IOWA STATE!!!!!!!

Bee Bee 3 years, 5 months ago

They play like the Globetrotters VS KU and lay down and die VS everyone else. K U has made more All Americans of average players than any school in history. It s a joke.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 5 months ago

IDK why you hate Iowa State fans so much. I would find it easy to combat whatever argument they have because Kansas basketball is infinitely more prolific than Iowa State basketball. Their biggest claim to fame is 5 conference tournament titles. BFD, we have 11. Did they win 14 consecutive regular season titles and 61 overall? No they have 6 all time plus we own their ass in the all time series. How many final fours do they have? Have they ever won a national title?

You have an arsenal to crush them. If they give you any s###, take no mercy and leave no prisoners. And while you’re at it, remind them that Hoiberg left his alma mater for a better gig.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

  1. Because Bryce is a Hawkeye as much or more than he is a Jayhawk.

  2. Because Bryce's nature is to be negative.

Jack Hoover 3 years, 5 months ago

Nobody gives a sh!t about your history. What have you done for me lately? I and you will not be alive long enough for ISU to try and catch you using pastr history, But the last 10 years we have been nipping at your heels more than any other Big 12 team. Good GOD, you people are so self absorbed in what your forefathers did. Concentrate on whats happening lately. Pompas people. WoW!!!

Jack Hoover 3 years, 5 months ago

Soon Bill Self will leave for a better gig in the pro's. Roy Williams left for a better gig in his opinion in North Carolina. You live in a glass house. Don't throw stones.

Lee Sears 3 years, 5 months ago

I tend to agree Bryce. I hate losing to Iowa State more than K State. I am sick of everyone calling the Sprint Center "Hilton South" . I am sick of the river of Red and Gold in the stands and the Power and Light area. Couldn't we trade them for another team in one of the other conferences ?

Dane Pratt 3 years, 5 months ago

Competition is a good thing. We need teams to push us.

Jack Hoover 3 years, 5 months ago

So we are more loyal fans than you are? We sell out Hilton with good teams and you sell out Allen with great teams. Yet, our girl's BB team averages 9,000 per game and you stuff what 2,500 to 3,000 for the women's games? So we actually have more REAL BB fans than you do in a town of 30,000 without the college? Perhaps you could learn a thing or two from us called REAL LOYALTY.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 5 months ago

I have absolutely never seen a team hand out so many "career bests" to players from other teams.

Jack Hoover 3 years, 5 months ago

Really? Wow! I don't hate you. You get the best players in the Country and we are just trying to hang with you. Yes, we have beaten you 7 out of the last 12 games, and yes, I love to hang it on you when we can, but I don't hate you. Perhaps you need to step back, take a breath and say that Iowa State just played better than you when it counted and be a gracious loser this time around. Hating us will just make us that much stronger. Bulletin board material as one would say. Chill out, I love the Big 12, cheer for all the teams and appreciate the fact that Kansas is for the most part out flag bearer against the Dukes and NC '2 of the world. We will do our part to hold up our end of this deal, hating us doesn't breed goodwill or better friendship. Grow up. be a Sport, or is that beyond you?

Max Ledom 3 years, 5 months ago

I totally understand these kids have been through so much. Everything that could have gone wrong did. But, the rumor is Vick was voted off the team. If that has any truth, this is the most pitiful team I’ve ever seen have wear a KU uniform.

If you vote the second leading scorer off the team for ANY reason and proceed to suck as much as you did, you have to get it together.

What a disgrace of a squad. No pride. No honor. No passion. No love. Lifeless. I’m not going to make excuses for this team anymore. Today was a result of zero effort and no love. What a hard, difficult year. I hope you guys get it together next year and understand the importance of the name Kansas on the jersey.


Henry Joseph Hofmeister 3 years, 5 months ago

don't spread rumors without truth. you aren't the karen or the chad. then you put down the entire team for a rumor you heard? you know what a theory is? it's an idea someone puts into other people's heads. vax, climate change, flat earth. all bar or internet people who have childish ideas.

Max Ledom 3 years, 5 months ago

If you’re going to take a random rumor that I already discredited by saying “IF it is true” and think it’s wise to go about talking about it like it’s fact then I can’t help you.

Max Ledom 3 years, 5 months ago

It’s a bad comment I admit it. Obvious frustration. I would delete the comment if I could but it seems like that is not possible lol I’ll have to live with it. Beer and the internet isn’t a good combo.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 5 months ago

Disagree. Beer and the internet is a great combo. Not as good as beer and pizza but still up there.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Max - To the lower left of your comment is a link - "Suggest Removal". If you click it, it will take you to a page where you can comment on why you think a comment, any comment should be removed. Generally, I think you have to violate some term of usage, but you might be able to get a self-requested removal with an "I was a drunk idiot" comment. Not sure. I just fall asleep on the couch when I get to that point.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 5 months ago

Max, what pitiful is a fan like you. A disgrace to the Jayhawk Nation.

Max Ledom 3 years, 5 months ago

What? What type of a joke comment is that? What I just said is a hard criticism of this years team. I gave them the benefit of the doubt in the start of my comment. I’m talking about a rumor and I said “IF it’s true” meaning you can decide to believe it or not and my comment only applies IF it is true.

Chill out before you come at me saying I am some disgrace when I’ve seen you comment similar frustrations many many times before, Steve.

Max Ledom 3 years, 5 months ago

To be fair, it isn’t a good comment and I was out late last night having a few beers to forget the game, and having the internet at your fingertips + frustration + beer is never a good combo. I’ll take that on the chin and think twice next time LOL. Thanks, Steve.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 5 months ago

Max, my apology. We're all on the same side. I was trying to put myself in Vick's shoes reading that kind of comment. But who am I to judge. My bad.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 5 months ago

I post while inebriated all the time so I don't have an issue with that but can a team vote a player off the roster? Is that even a thing? Seems like that should be the exclusive right of the coaching staff.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 3 years, 5 months ago

I like Iowa St fans a lot better than ksuk or misery. They have been the best possible rival for the last few years and are cordial about it. I'm glad it was them and nobody else.

Lawson brothers, I hope you two come back. As with everyone right now. People are saying we have a weak recruiting team but who thinks they can take a spot on this team? Our recruits are going to be insane if they want to fight their way to the floor. HUNGRY.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

I've suspected for a while that Matthew Hurt is waiting to see what Dedric does. If he returns, Matt will go elsewhere. If he leaves, Matt comes in to take his place.

At least that's my suspicion on the wait. Maybe for Precious as well, though that decision could be more up in the air. But who really knows.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 5 months ago

If only this KU team knows how to:

  • pass without getting intercepted
  • shoot pull-up jumpers
  • finish layups strong
  • run floaters
  • execute well pick and rolls - pass and cut

Shooting 3s too much will not win games, feeding bigs will not win games - especially against more athletic teams, playing solid defense will not guarantee a win either. Even with more offensive rebounds - without strong putbacks, they're useless. Too many dribble and drives will not work against more athletic teams. We fought and fought, unfortunately... ISU was a bit luckier they hit more shots, got more FTs, more athletic team. We had a chance.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 5 months ago

Oh, and benching Dave made it even harder to win. I still don't understand why HCBS did that.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Except against a team with a strong 4G lineup. It's along the same lines as when he benched Withey in the Regional finals against Purdue a few years ago. (Loved seeing Robbie Hummel commenting on the game instead of shooting 3 pt daggers at us.) He would have been able to defend their 5, but Thomas Robinson wasn't going to effectively chase Hummel around the arc, so TR switches to the 5, and a G comes in to chase Robbie. It worked then, but the majority of the shots weren't bouncing the wrong way that night.

Allin Herring 3 years, 5 months ago

If we had trouble,shooting the ball then why would,you let Garrett shoot the ball 13 times? Please wake up coach and let us know!q

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 5 months ago

We had not much options other than kept driving and driving. 3s are not falling. Pounding through post down low didn't produce that much. Who can do pull-up jumpers in this team? They're quicker than our pick and rock. what else could we do?

David Kemp 3 years, 5 months ago

Clearly our offensive struggles were exposed. Dotson and Lawson are our only options. If grimes isn’t hot look out. Garret doing all he knows what to do, and ochai is now showing why he was redshirted. Without pull up shooters getting far in the tournament impossible.

Ed Noyes 3 years, 5 months ago

The roster is depleted. The Hawks had as much intensity as it could muster. The problem was that our talent, size and numbers did not match that of ISU. Too bad. It happens.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 5 months ago

I agree with Steve, not sure why Big Mac did not play more. It seemed like Coach was going with the 4 guard offense a lot in the second half, and none of them could hit the broad side of a barn. Oh well its on the the NCAA. I think winning two games and getting out of the first week-end is our ceiling or at least would be a good accomplishment for these freshmen. They have been good this year, just up and down from game to game like freshmen usually are.

Brad Watson 3 years, 5 months ago

Lets look for the positives......another bitter lesson learned for this young people learn from the mistakes and set backs that happen and move forward wiser and better having experienced whatever failure it was...last night was bad....adversity lessons...toughness lessons...iron will lessons should be learned from it...effort was there...but it takes an iron will to overcome these things...Bill Self coached teams all have an iron Coach says...this team is learning what it takes to win games in March...I believe that this team can go deep in the game at a possession at a time...but you got to get stops and do not have careless fouls late in a shot clock...I liked the effort last night...but in March... it takes takes an iron will....YOU GOTTA REALLY WANT IT.....YOU GOTTA WANT IT BADLY!!!!!.

Max Ledom 3 years, 5 months ago

It’s stunning how much better this team was with Dok and Vick. The team this year couldn’t catch a break and too much put on the shoulders of newcomers and freshman. I feel bad for them but I know they’ll avenge this season next year. I see a quick exit in this years tourney unless some major cards fall our way. But I think we return everyone. Unless Dedric or Dok bounces. Sigh.

Sam Allen 3 years, 5 months ago

Here's something to think about?

Look at Andrew W., and Joel E. They are great NBA players now, Something says there “could” be a lack of coaching experience or perhaps/hopefully not- –no coaching experience, from HCBS’s staff. After a “could” be a lack of coaching experience or perhaps/ hopefully not-–no coaching experience or a lack of coaching effort from the HCBS staff, those two best players (with the exception of a passionate Ben Macklemore–yes I said passionate) in the HCBS era did not live up to their to their “potential” at KU

I think at KU there are a mix of passionate players and players not giving their A game all the time, and that will make it worse–their players that play with passion soon will longer play with passion and then nobody will, then oh no!


John Smith 3 years, 5 months ago

I do think that the coaching staff definitely lost an important contributor in Danny Manning and I wish they could get him back. He was so good at improving the post play of the big players like Jeff Withey.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 5 months ago

I check everyday expecting to see a story announcing his termination from Wake but so far it hasn't happened. He must be hanging onto his job by a thread. I hope he doesn't get fired but if he does, will he come back to Lawrence?

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Joel so incredibly exceeded his expectation at KU it's not funny. He came in with no expectation. The team fell short when he got injured and missed tourney time. Ironically, I think that was the last time that we started 4 freshmen.

Interesting that you mention BMac. What was his expectation coming in? He was a forced redshirt as a freshman, and it was only when Coach said to watch for BMac next year that anyone really started expecting much from him.

How about Frank or Devonte? TRob? TTaylor?

And Svi is the ultimate counter. No one had even heard of him before Coach found him after all the other recruiting was done. Some people talked about him being a pro-prospect early on, and everyone said, "Who are we talking about? Svi?" Ultimately, he is a testament to the perseverance that has failed others. If he had left early, he would have achieved very little, but he persevered into his 4th year and blew up.

Even BRush and the '08 team sort of falls into this category. If not for the knee injury the summer after his soph year, he's probably gone and Mario's Miracle never happens. It was only that bad break that brought him back and really fulfilled the potential.

Is that enough? There's plenty of reason why he is in the HOF, and having an exception staff around him is part of it.

Stuart Corder 3 years, 5 months ago

Dedric Lawson’s flaw is that he’s soft, and by that I mean that he consistently loses 50/50 balls to less skilled, but more aggressive players. In other words, despite being taller and stronger, the players defending him “want it” more. It’s also why he doesn’t dunk the ball often and why his shooting percentage isn’t where it “should” be considering the shots he takes.

Dedric Lawson requires a second, more aggressive “big” for his style to be most effective. This has been the case ALL YEAR.

I thought Bill Self had established that the 4G lineup wasn’t a “winning” choice after Vick departed the team, yet once again, when we are down after the first half, Bill Self tried to out aggressive an Iowa St team with an inferior 4 guard lineup rather than trust a blossoming David McCormack or high energy Lightfoot.

This team is it’s own worst enemy. Lack of poise and mental toughness means poor shooting and playing on their heels in big profile games, especially away from home.

I’m saddened that it wasn’t due to a lack of talent, but instead rather a lack of pride and desire that plagued us all year. The other teams were tougher, more poised and aggressive this year. They wanted it more.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

I think you are close, but not quite.

It seems to me that Dedric isn't as strong, or rather strong enough. Prohm made the comment yesterday that they knew they had to be physical with Dedric. It seems those are the times when his FG% falls off - when he doesn't have the strength to finish through contact that isn't quite enough to warrant a foul call. Unfortunately, that is more and more the case this time of year. He's probably too much like Perry "Old Man (game)" Ellis, but with much better rebounding. It would seem that this would be his shortcoming at the next level as well. Sure they spread the floor more, but they also learn how to put a body on you without sending you to the line.

David Robinett 3 years, 5 months ago

Stuart, I disagree - you don’t lead the Big 12 in rebounding by losiing 50-50 balls .

Other than shooting, Grimes has played tough lately. So has Dotson and Mitch.

Stuart Corder 3 years, 5 months ago

He’s been the only guy in the middle every time we play a 4 guard lineup, and he plays a lot of minutes. He’s not a bad rebounder, but it’s clear that he gets out hustled frequently.

Bj Cassady 3 years, 5 months ago

We needed our MAC attack last night because they were having a layup drill and we had no post protection. Also MAC missed no shots from the field. I don't like having Garrett taking more than 5 or 6 shots a game, he just cannot shoot. At one time we had C Moore, Garrett, Lightfoot on the floor and I am wondering WTF, who is going to score?

Chad Smith 3 years, 5 months ago

Well Iowa state made some ridiculous shots. Across the lane shooting against momentum while drifting with a hand right in your grill. Some of those shots were unconscious. Kansas finally gets it under 10. Then they drill a 3 from NBA range top of the key, once again with a hand in the face. ISU lights it up against us at the sprint center. Just the way it's been recently. Wont be that way forever, but as someone else mentioned, their 5 big 12 titles has gotten them what in the tourney? Two sweet 16 appearances in the past 6 years. Yeah, they arent KU and never could be. Moving on.... .

Jack Hoover 3 years, 5 months ago

They aren't KU and never could be? So now you are a fortune cookie prophet? Pompous, rude, overbearing and obnoxious? And that is your good points.

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