Kansas Gets Major Wake-Up Call in Big 12 Tournament
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kansas Coach Bill Self had the shakes.
Shaking his head from the multiple mistakes his team made in the first-half.
Four days after Kansas clinched an outright Big 12 regular season title, the Jayhawks found itself in a 14-point deficit against a Baylor team that was in the basement of the conference during the regular season.
Bad passes, poor shot selection and plain-old ugly play plagued Kansas for much of the first 13 minutes of Thursday’s second-round Big 12 Tournament game.
For those unlucky 13 minutes, it looked like Kansas was still waking up, as the game started at 11:30 a.m.
KU seemed sluggish off four days rest, meanwhile an energetic Bears team that finished its first-round game with Nebraska less than 24 hours earlier, played with passion and strength.
“We had no energy – at all,” said Kansas coach Bill Self. “We were definitely a half-step slow, they beat us to loose balls and we let (Baylor) get comfortable.”
Bears guard LaceDarius Dunn nailed 3-of-6 three-point field goals in the first half, while Curtis Jerrells controlled the tempo and scored 10 first-half points.
Kansas went on a 20-7 run to close the half and was only down by four points.
The Jayhawks finally tied the game at 37 in the second half and even had a five point lead late in the game, but the first-half deficit was too deep.
Kansas was down by three with :35 remaining. Sherron Collins carried the ball down the court and pulled up for a three-pointer that would have tied the game at 67.
What he pulled was air.
“We got exactly what we deserved,” said Self of the 71-64 loss to the Bears.
When the buzzer sounded, Baylor outplayed Kansas, but it will be tough for them to win another two games moving forward against competition that will have had one more day of rest.
For the Jayhawks, the late start led to a loss and a trip back to Lawrence, Kansas for a rock-chalk walk-of-shame.
“First thing we’re going to do when we get back is we’re going to go to class tomorrow,” Self said. “We’re going to make them walk around class and have the other students wondering why we’re back here already.”
Here’s another idea: how about an early morning practice. There’s a distinct possibility Kansas will be rising early during the NCAA Tournament.
And KU might be dancing its way out of the big dance if it finds itself in another morning mess like they got into during the first half against Baylor.
Self will be fielding a totally different squad from last year’s National Championship team.
Much of the season, he has started two freshmen, a sophomore and two juniors. Collins is the only major contributor back from last season’s squad.
“We’re not very tough if we can’t come back from this,” Self said. “You shouldn’t base your entire psyche or confidence level on one game.”
Hopefully that 11:30 a.m. start served as a wake-up call because they won’t be able to show up a half-hour late next week.
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