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There were errors in the scouting report, Drew said. Asked to clarify, Drew said the Bears didn’t follow scouting instructions on defense.
…At one point, the home crowd booed the Bears during a timeout. Later there were mock cheers for a free throw as points became scarce.
Drew sat dumbfounded on the bench, watching his team, 21-3 overall and 8-3 in the conference, blow an opportunity to own a share of first place.
“For about 13 minutes, I didn’t think we competed,” Drew said.
One of the first things Baylor coach Scott Drew talked about after another loss to Kansas was wanting his team to now imitate the Jayhawks.
“Kansas did a tremendous job bouncing back after their tough game with Missouri,” Drew said. “We need to do the exact same thing this Saturday.”
…The Jayhawks lost 74-71 at Missouri on Saturday, when the 7-foot Withey missed his only shot and was scoreless. They now have a share of the Big 12 lead with the Tigers and haven’t lost consecutive games in more than six years — a span of 228 games since January 2006.
“Of all the things that these teams have accomplished, that may be one of the more impressive ones,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
…The opening play was an alley-oop pass from Jackson to Perry Jones III for a slam dunk. Jackson then penetrated for a short floater, and the Bears were up 7-0 when Jackson had another assist, a bounce pass to Quincy Miller for a 3-pointer from the right wing.
Neither Jones, the preseason Big 12 player of the year, or Miller had another field goal. Miller came out for good after a flagrant foul with 16:38 left.
Whatever Tyshawn Taylor and the rest of his Kansas teammates did to motivate 7-foot Jeff Withey certainly worked.
"In practice every day, punching him in his chest, jumping on him, trying to get him fired up," Taylor said. "He came out and played amazing."
Withey, coming of a scoreless game, rebounded with a career-high 25 points for the seventh-ranked Jayhawks in another convincing victory over sixth-ranked Baylor, 68-54 on Wednesday night, to regain a share of the Big 12 lead.
"I don't know why Withey likes playing against us so much, but he looks like an All-American when he does," Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
Withey, who finished 8-of-10 shooting and made 9 of 11 free throws, had already surpassed his career high by halftime, when Kansas didn't lead until the final minute. He then ignited a 14-0 run early in the second half when the Jayhawks (19-5, 9-2 Big 12) took total control of the Top-10 rematch.
Jayhawks coach Bill Self, who had his own way of motivating Withey, called it was one of the best offensive games by a Kansas big man in quite some time.
"Coach definitely got into my head and just told me that I need to be able to play," Withey said. "I can't go games where I don't score. ... My teammates definitely trusted me. They made great plays and got me open."
“The first 12 minutes, that was ugly,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “I mean that was some ugly ball.”
On the offensive end, Baylor was winning the battle in the paint. Easy baskets were falling, and Baylor had a 10-point lead with nine minutes left in the first half.
Kansas was eventually able to stretch the floor and get the looks they wanted.
A run of its own would tie the game, and the teams would go back and forth until halftime, when Kansas went into the locker room with a 33-30 lead.
“The end of the first half was really a turning point,” head coach Scott Drew said. “We should have finished with momentum and we didn’t.”
“The kids put a lot into that game. To play so well and come up empty is obviously deflating,” Self said of his team’s blowing an eight-point lead late in a 74-71 setback to the Tigers.
“These guys ... I’ll be honest, they showed me something,” he added after Wednesday’s 68-54 victory at Baylor. “I didn’t think our energy level was very good today (at shootaround). I didn’t think it was great yesterday. I thought we might pout up and feel sorry for ourselves.
“We showed some toughness. Take away three minutes in the last 80, that’s about as well as a team we’ve had at Kansas play on the road since I’ve been there ... against two Top-10 teams, but the three minutes obviously cost us a game.”
…Self said Conner Teahan’s minutes (22) rivaled that of starter Travis Releford (24) because he felt Teahan was playing better offensively and would be better against the BU zone . ... Former KU forward Archie Marshall, who lives in Dallas, attended.
For all the talent that the Bears have on their roster, they are not going to do anything of note in the postseason until they learn how to consistently defend at an elite level. On the whole, Baylor has been far from terrible this year. The Bears are 26th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to Kenpom.com, giving up just 0.925 PPP on that end of the floor. That puts them well above teams like Missouri, Indiana, Duke and Florida. The problem is that their defense tends to disappear when Baylor goes up against elite competition. In their 92-74 loss to Kansas back in January, Baylor gave up a season-high 1.296 PPP. In the 89-88 loss to Missouri that followed, the Bears allowed 1.187 PPP.
Wednesday's performance was far from terrible when looking at the box score -- Kansas scored 1.015 PPP and turned the ball over 19 times -- but, once again, when you look a bit deeper, it gets ugly. With nine minutes to go in the first half, Kansas was down 19-9 and shooting 2-for-11 from the floor with seven turnovers. After two free throws from Quincy Acy with 4:42 to go in the half, Baylor was ahead 27-19. That's good. But by the end of the half, the Jayhawks had taken a 33-30 lead and at the 12:33 mark of the second half, they had pushed that lead to 56-34. That's a 39-7 run in the span of just over 12 minutes of game time.
…Jones also had eight points on 4-for-7 shooting in Baylor's loss to Missouri, eight points on 4-for-13 shooting in a win over Mississippi State and four points on 2-for-9 shooting in an overtime win against West Virginia. By comparison, Robinson had an off nights against Kentucky and Duke back in November and averaged 13.5 ppg and 13.5 rpg in the two losses. He battled foul trouble against Baylor on Wednesday and still managed 15 points and 11 boards, which paled in comparison to his 27 points and 14 boards the first time the two teams played. He also had 25 points and 13 boards against Missouri on Saturday. I'll take T-Rob any day.
The key to Kansas' success at Baylor was the performance of Robinson's supporting cast.
Because Baylor packed in its zone and sent two and three bodies at Robinson anytime he touched the ball, it created numerous opportunities for the rest of the Jayhawks.
Redshirt junior center Jeff Withey took advantage of Baylor's inability to rotate on defense in the lane, surpassing his career high by halftime en route to a 25-point effort. Tyshawn Taylor continued his hot streak in Big 12 play with 19 points and Conner Teahan added eight off the bench.
Kansas could easily now have control of the Big 12 race had it not surrendered the final 11 points of Saturday's three-point loss at Missouri. At least the Jayhawks can take solace that they bounced back with one of their best efforts of the season and proved yet again that the Big 12 race still goes through Lawrence.
Kansas, meanwhile, has to like where it stands. It has seven games left, and only two appear dangerous: at Kansas State on Monday night and a visit from Missouri on Feb. 25. Kansas has lost two or fewer league games in each of the past three seasons, and has won at least a portion of the conference title for seven consecutive seasons.
“The loss Saturday … the kids put a lot into that. And to play so good and come up empty is obviously deflating, but these guys really showed me something,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said after Wednesday’s win. “I thought we may pout up and feel a little sorry for ourselves, and we didn’t. We showed some toughness. … That was pretty impressive.”
No. 7 Kansas provided a startling reality check Wednesday, rolling into the Ferrell Center and steamrolling Baylor 68-54 in what was billed as the biggest home game in the history of the Bears' program.
The hype was justified, based on Baylor's record and the fact that Wednesday's winner joined No. 4 Missouri as the co-leader in the Big 12 standings. But the difference in these two programs remains pronounced, as Kansas (19-5, 9-2) drove home with regularity after absorbing an early Baylor salvo.
The energized Bears (21-3, 8-3) actually scored the game's first seven points and led 19-9 with 9:40 remaining in the first half. But the remainder of the contest was all Kansas, all the time.
Especially during a game-turning, 34-5 stretch in which the Jayhawks closed the first half on an 11-1 run and began the second half with a 23-4 continuation that eliminated the remaining energy from a sellout crowd of 10,334. Kansas spent the final 16:38 protecting a double-digit lead, with a 22-point cushion on two occasions.
…On a night when 23 NBA scouts representing 17 different teams showed up to gauge the available talent, they saw a player who projects as a career journeyman dominate a Baylor front line that includes Perry Jones III, the Big 12's preseason player of the year.
But the Bears had no answer for Kansas center Jeff Withey, a 7-footer who scored a career-high 25 points after being blanked in Saturday's 74-71 loss to Missouri. Withey connected on 8 of 10 shots from the field, often on layups when Baylor defenders were slow to rotate within the team's zone defense. Withey, who entered the game with a career high of 15 points, had 17 by halftime.
"We let one mistake lead to two, and then three," said Baylor forward Quincy Acy, whose double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) stood in marked contrast to the empty bottom lines of fellow front-line members Jones (5 points, 3 rebounds) and Quincy Miller (3 points, 2 rebounds).
How bad was it? Jones and Miller -- two of Baylor's four double-digit scorers -- each made his lone field goal in the first 1:53 of the contest.
Then they combined to miss their final 10 attempts.
Jones finished 1 for 8 in 25 minutes and struggled to elude the physical, defensive pressure of Kansas forward Thomas Robinson (15 points, 11 rebounds).
"Perry just missed shots. And I think he got down after he missed shots," Drew said. "He can't do that."
But at least he was not buried on the bench for most of the second half because of a coach's decision. Miller earned that spot after a flagrant foul with 16:38 remaining helped trigger a seven-point possession by the Jayhawks. That's not a misprint.
Withey said the Jayhawks made some adjustments on the fly after falling behind 19-9 early.
“We decided to change plays against their zone, have somebody always in the middle. It just opened up,” Withey said. “They way we were matched up, it left me open every time.”
Again, Self refused to take credit for any specific plays to help turn around the team after a slow beginning.
“We attacked their zone well the first time we played them,” Self said of KU’s 92-74 victory over the Bears on Jan. 16 in Allen Fieldhouse. “We tried to attack it similarly tonight. They did a better job with that. I don’t know if it was great adjustments. It was guys getting in gaps and playing.”
Conner Teahan had eight points off the bench on a day just five Jayhawks scored. KU held Perry Jones III to five points off 1-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes.
“Thomas played great defense. We decided to trap the post. I think it bothered him a lot,” Withey said. “Thomas played straight up on him, and it forced him to take awkward shots.”
Through 15 minutes, Baylor’s zone forced seven turnovers and appeared to be disrupting Kansas University’s basketball offense.
So what changed in the Bears’ 68-54 loss to the Jayhawks on Wednesday night?
“Them having a great coaching staff over there, they adjusted to it,” Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson said. “And we didn’t answer back.”
BU led, 27-19, with 4:42 left in the first half before KU went on a 37-7 run over the next 12 minutes.
During that stretch, the Jayhawks scored on 15 of their next 20 possessions.
Baylor coach Scott Drew, who often has been criticized for playing a zone too often with his long and athletic players, said his team’s zone defense wasn’t to blame against KU.
“I know first game people said we should have played more man or whatever. That’s why I love stats,” Drew said. “I think we were better in the zone in both halves. Up at Kansas, we were better in the zone. Here, we were better in the zone, but when we got down double digits, we had to speed up the game, and we went man.
“I thought a lot of their buckets came in transition and in some turnover situations. But defensively, especially for the first 17 minutes of the first half, our zone was great.”
Kansas defends against Baylor with the urgency of a make-it, take-it team playing from behind. The Bears defend in a way that calls to mind All-Star teams, as they settle into a passive zone that once solved tends to stay solved.
Kansas is a boot-camp basketball program, Baylor a summer-camp team, replete with a no-cussing policy implemented by coach Scott Drew, a magnificent recruiter and likable face for the once-disgraced program.
Kansas brings a football (ultimate team sport) mentality into the Baylor games, whereas the Bears look more like a track and field team (individual sport), showcasing most-impressive high jumpers and sprinters.
…Guard Elijah Johnson (five assists, one turnover) didn’t score a point, and neither did the man he guarded, three-point shooter, Brady Heslip.
“I didn’t see any reason to let him catch the ball,” Johnson said. “He’s not a threat if he can’t catch the ball. So I planned on not letting him be a threat.”
Defense always comes first at Kansas.
“That’s our team,” Johnson said. “That’s our program. Anybody can score. That’s why you’re in college basketball. But we can defend.”
It can be difficult for players to accept that because scoring is more naturally enjoyable than preventing someone else from doing it.
“I bought into it since the summer I got here,” Johnson said. “I definitely did because he knows something I don’t know, and I take his word for it.”
It was almost like Withey thought the NBA scouts were there to see him, and by the end of the night, maybe they were.
“We changed the game plan with the zone,” Withey said. “We decided to have somebody always in the middle, and it just opened up.”
Withey went 9-for-11 from the foul line, with the rest of his points coming within a 3-foot radius of the rim. Baylor couldn’t budge him, which resulted in a layup drill that turned a 10-point deficit into a 33-30 lead for the Jayhawks at half.
“We had a lot of layups,” guard Tyshawn Taylor said. “Jeff was the recipient of that, being in the right place at the right time and guys finding him.”
…“We really were excited about this game,” Taylor said. “We knew we needed it, and we just turned it up a little bit.”
Especially the guy in the middle.
“He came out and played amazing,” Taylor said. “I’m so happy for my big brother right now.”
What the win means for Kansas: The Jayhawks have had a stranglehold on the Big 12 for most of the past decade. It doesn't appear as if they are ready to loosen their grip. The win over the Bears put Kansas back into a tie for first with Missouri. The victory also means that KU's chances at grabbing a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament are still alive.
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Former KU forward Markieff Morris of the Phoenix Suns will play in the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Feb. 24 in conjunction with 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Fla.
The 6-10 Morris is averaging 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds while logging 20.6 minutes per game in 25 games. He leads all rookies in three-point percentage (.460), which is seventh-best in the NBA overall. He ranks eighth among first-year players in scoring.
Joining Morris on the team: fellow rookies Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, MarShon Brooks, Brandon Knight, Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams.
Participants were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot. This year, a new format is being implemented to a game that has featured NBA rookies competing against sophomores. For the first time, rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will serve as the general managers of the two opposing teams.
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You never know when history will be made at historic Allen Fieldhouse.
It happened Wednesday as junior Angel Goodrich dished out an Allen Fieldhouse-record 16 assists as the Kansas women’s basketball team whipped Texas 85-61. With the victory, Kansas moved to 17-6 overall and 6-5 in the Big 12, while Texas fell to 13-10 overall and 3-8 in conference play.
Men’s star Tyshawn Taylor had 13 assists against Ohio State earlier this season, matching Aaron Miles, who had 13 against Emporia State on Dec. 14, 2002.
Goodrich added 16 points to her 16 dishes, while senior Aishah Sutherland recorded her sixth double-double of the year with a career best-tying 24 points and 12 boards.
For Goodrich, it was the second time in her career she posted 15 assists in a game. She accomplished the feat for the first time back on Feb. 9, 2011, against Iowa State at Allen.
Kansas swept the season series against Texas.
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The University of Connecticut has proposed reducing the number of games it will play next season if the NCAA grants a waiver to allow the Huskies to play in the 2013 men's basketball tournament.
The school currently would be barred from the NCAA tournament, a penalty for years of below-standard academic results, but it requested a waiver last month.
An NCAA spokesperson told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that the request is under review.
That document, obtained this week by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information request, outlines proposed self-imposed penalties to be instituted if the request is granted.
Those include forfeiting the revenue awarded to the Big East for participating in the 2013 tournament, reducing the number of regular-season games played in the 2012-13 season from 27 to 23 -- not including the in-season Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands -- and barring coach Jim Calhoun from meeting off-campus with prospective recruits during the fall 2012 contact period.
The schedule changes also would include eliminating exhibition games next season, but would not impact the team's play at the Paradise Jam. So the actual number of games played would be 26, rather than 30. The school said all hours that would have been spent in competition will instead transfer to study hall, tutor sessions or meetings with advisers.
The school said Calhoun will bring a current or former NBA player to inner-city schools for at least five educational sessions on the importance of academic achievement.
"Collectively, the university's proposal will clearly send the message that the institution fully accepts the responsibility for past failings," the school writes in its waiver request. "It will result in the economic equivalent of a postseason ban without harming the very students the NCAA is trying to protect."
The Big East conference, which would lose revenue under the proposal, declined to comment on whether it supports the proposal.
…The defending national champions would be academically ineligible in 2013, because the NCAA plans to use data from the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.
Walter Harrison, the chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Academic Performance, said that the body will be meeting on Feb. 20 to discuss whether to adjust reporting dates to allow schools to use their most recent data in qualifying for tournaments. For the 2013 men's basketball tournament, that would mean scores from the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic year.
UConn would qualify for the tournament under that scenario.
"I don't know what to expect," Harrison said. "We could just decide to keep the current policy in place. Secondly, we could decide that we want to make a change, and that may require board approval, which would mean it wouldn't happen until April. The third possibility is we might not make any decision, and talk about it again in April."
In the meantime, the waiver request will be reviewed by NCAA staff, and can be appealed to a subcommittee of Harrision's Committee on Academic Performance, and eventually the full committee.
But whether you're losing close or wining close, for six seasons in Big Ten play Illinois has lost exactly as often as it has won. And therein lies the problem.
Weber points out that the fans are still cheering hard for the Illini team. I'd like to hope they always will.
But I don't see how he can win the public relations war. There aren't enough victories, enough upsets, enough miracles out there that could realistically fall his way.
I'll be watching this final stretch, hoping to have an unexpected storyline to write about. But beginning tonight at Indiana, I'm more realistically expecting to write about the inevitable.
I'm afraid this will be a tough season to explain away the disappointment.
On paper, Sen. Joe Manchin would seem to be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ideal ally: He’s a red-state Democrat who is distancing himself from President Barack Obama just as the GOP leader is trying to derail the White House’s agenda.
But some things are bigger than politics — like college football.
McConnell now has a bitterly tense relationship with the freshman, fallout from a lobbying battle over the senators’ two alma maters — the University of Louisville and West Virginia University — and the final open spot in the prestigious Big 12 Conference.
In a private confrontation on the Senate floor late last year, things got heated quickly, according to people familiar with the episode.
McConnell read aloud to Manchin a quote from a university official who said “no improper political influence” had been exerted as each senator was lobbying to get his team the plush conference spot. And McConnell demanded a public apology from Manchin for suggesting that the GOP leader may have acted in an “inappropriate or unethical” manner that could warrant a Senate investigation into his Louisville lobbying efforts.
Manchin refused to back down and said he would always stand up for West Virginia’s rights — not to mention the Mountaineer’ football team.
The two senators have barely spoken since.
Now, Manchin reports of maintaining a much “colder” relationship with McConnell, and some GOP senators said they’ve heard McConnell privately criticizing Manchin over his conduct.
Things are so bad that Manchin and others in West Virginia suspect the GOP leader worked largely out of spite when he aggressively lobbied Republican John Raese to jump into the race for his Senate seat.
“People take things personally,” Manchin said in an interview in the Capitol. “This is a bad place to have a personal vendetta, I can tell you that.”
In an interview on Tuesday, Manchin rejected McConnell’s request for an apology, saying he had been told by West Virginia University officials that a deal was nearly official until The New York Times reported that McConnell was involved with the lobbying effort.
“When a decision is made, you don’t reverse that decision,” Manchin said. “And I’m going to defend my state any way that I can possibly can.”
But McConnell isn’t buying that explanation. In his dust-up with Manchin on the floor, McConnell pointed to a comment by David Boren — a former Democratic senator who now is president of the University of Oklahoma — that there was nothing untoward about the lobbying campaign.
”No commitments were sought from me and no commitments were given,” Boren said, referring to conversations he had with McConnell and West Virginia’s senior senator, Jay Rockefeller.
The fight highlights what is largely a dynamic unseen outside of the halls of the Senate: It’s an extraordinarily clubby institution where personal relationships are paramount to the legislative process.
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Westview 57, Beaverton 52: Senior Landen Lucas had 20 points, junior Dyrall Goods added 18, and the visiting Wildcats (15-4, 5-1) held off the pesky Beavers (8-12, 1-5) in Beaverton. Senior Keon Burns chipped in 12 points for Westview, which defeated Beaverton 81-56 on Jan. 25 but was forced to work a little harder this time. Senior Tyler Cady had 15 points to lead the Beavers, who outscored Westview 18-14 in the fourth quarter before running out of time.
3) Jakarr Sampson (Brewster Academy 2012) – A super athletic combo forward, Sampson’s increased productivity with his mid range jump shot is taking his game to the next level.
After not qualifying at St. John’s this season Sampson is taking his time with his decision the 2nd time around. The Johnnies are still involved along with Providence, Kansas, Louisville, Baylor and Pittsburgh.
2) Noah Vonleh (New Hampton 2014) – While not the dominant effort he put forth at the National Prep Showcase in November, Vonleh did rebound at a high level and make a sampling of offensive plays that speak to his long term potential.
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