KU AD: Box score, recap, notes
KC Star photos
No Jayhawks or Cyclones were hurt during the court-storming that took place at the final buzzer. ISU officials, however, indicated that ref Darron George hurt his wrist trying to escape the mass of bodies en route to the locker room.
He iced the wrist, but did not head to the hospital for X-rays or treatment.
“I kind of wanted to get in there, rushing in there and party with them,” ISU forward Royce White said after scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds. “It was a good thing that they were excited. It was a good win for us.”
…The Jayhawks dropped their first road game in a rough stretch of four. The next three road contests are at Missouri, Baylor and Kansas State.
“We didn’t get off to a great start in what I told our guys is really the start of the conference season,” Self said. “It’s going to get hard. We have to tighten some things up. Sometimes maybe through a loss you can get their attention more than by winning ugly.”
Tyrus McGee, late in a tie game against the nation's fifth-ranked team, drove across the lane to his right, leapt, leaned back across his body, absorbed contact and released a shot as he fell back to the court.
Bucket. And the foul.
Clearly, there was something in the air inside Hilton Coliseum.
"Hilton Magic was definitely in full effect today," said Fred Hoiberg.
The Iowa State men's basketball team earned its biggest and most meaningful win in years Saturday with a 72-64 triumph over No. 5 Kansas that ended with fans rushing onto the court to party.
"It's a huge win for our program," said Hoiberg, the second-year head coach and Cyclone legend. "It was a great win for our program."
The win stops a 13-game and nearly seven-year-long losing streak to the Jayhawks (17-4, 7-1) and is the first win at home against a top five team in 17 years.
It was sparked by McGee's improbable three-point play with the score tied at 53 and 6 minutes on the clock.
"I didn't think there was a prayer that thing was going in," Hoiberg said. "Somehow, Tyrus found a way."
It was a big-boy game through and through. It was the type of game where every rebound counts, where every loose ball can swing the outcome. It was, in other words, an atmosphere a Bill Self team should thrive in.
Shots might not fall and calls might not go their way, but the Jayhawks always think they can control rebounding and loose balls.
That’s what big-boy teams do anyway, but against a feisty Iowa State team in a jacked-up Hilton Coliseum, Kansas was stripped of its big-boy card for one afternoon in a 72-64 loss.
“We pride ourselves on being a big-man school and rebounding and scoring inside,” Kansas center Jeff Withey said. “They just outhit us today.”
Or, as Kansas’ Self said, “they outmanned us.”
…“Our team is pretty good if we get 70 percent of the 50-50 balls,” Self said. “And if we don’t, we’re not very good. We get average real fast.”
…But in a game decided by toughness plays late, in a man’s game where KU lost on the boards and on the floor, the Jayhawks were left only with their missed chances.
“If we would have just controlled the boards and got some 50-50s,” Releford said, “we probably would have had control of the game.”
Royce White has been so bad from the free-throw line lately that his struggles have literally turned into nightmares.
A few hours after waking up from a dream in which he couldn’t hit anything from the line, White sank the two biggest freebies of his career to give Iowa State a landmark win for Coach Fred Hoiberg.
White had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Cyclones upset fifth-ranked Kansas 72-64 yesterday in Ames, Iowa, snapping the Jayhawks’ winning streak at 10 games.
White, the versatile big man who entered shooting an abysmal 39 percent from the line in Big 12 games, hit a pair that rattled in to put Iowa State up 64-59 with 1:47 left.
Kansas then threw the ball away, and Chris Babb drained a backbreaking 3 to give the Cyclones an eight-point lead with 55.6 seconds left.
“I woke up this morning dreaming about missing free throws. So I was in the gym this morning and shot free throws trying to get it right,” White said. “Teammates keep encouraging me and telling me, ‘You can make free throws.’ ”
When Royce White hit one of the biggest free throws in Iowa State’s biggest basketball victory in years, he walked up to the rim that had suddenly become his best friend and stared at it for a second or two.
It seemed an odd move at such a big moment, but it wasn’t. White, Iowa State’s high-profile transfer from Minnesota, was sending a message to Thomas Robinson -- possibly the player of the year in the Big 12 Conference -- and to anyone else who doubted he and the Cyclones were for real.
“That was for Thomas,” White said of the free throw that tied the game 53-53 and kicked off a run that led to Iowa State’s 72-64 upset of No. 5 Kansas.
“He said I was going to miss them,” White said with a smile afterward. “That was for him.”
Des Moines Register
Robinson, who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, seems to be in a slump. He got most of his baskets from Tyshawn Taylor’s collection of 10 assists but labored otherwise. His missed dunk with about four minutes remaining kept Iowa State ahead by three.
“I’m just not playing my game,” Robinson said. “I’m speeding up again, and not taking my time. I just not playing the same way now.”
That’s been the case for a few games, but others had delivered, especially Taylor, who in the first Iowa State meeting broke his personal scoring threshold with 28.
Taylor had 16 on Saturday, and all of the Kansas starters scored in double figures, but that spoke to weak bench play — a total of five points — as much as anything.
“Nobody really played well,” Self said.
Bill Self distributed 29 minutes to his three chief reserves — guard Conner Teahan and forwards Kevin Young and Justin Wesley. In 29 minutes, They responded with five points, two rebounds, an assist and a turnover. They made two of 12 shots.
In the loss to Davidson in Sprint Center in December, the bench logged 48 minutes and contributed six points and 10 rebounds on 2-of-11 shooting. They had one assist and four turnovers in that one.
Duke? Scoreless in 30 minutes, no rebounds, no assists.
Detect a pattern anyone?
It’s not that the starters are responsible for all the season’s big victories. Young sparked the Jayhawks to a huge nonconference win against Ohio State. The game before that, Teahan caught fire and played a huge part in a victory against a tough Long Beach State squad.
Both of those games took place in Allen Fieldhouse, where the home crowd fueled the home team.
Typically, in basketball, the better, more experienced players display the least slippage on the road, the reserves the most. The road also is where a strong bench is most important.
Players get called for more fouls on the road than at home for a couple of reasons. One, fatigue sets in easier when the home crowd isn’t with them to pump them full of adrenaline. A tired basketball player doesn’t move his feet as well and doesn’t focus as well, two factors that lead to fouling. A second factor — or should it be first? — has to do with how referees call games. Everybody seeks approval, and even though officials try not to play favorites, they are human. Their innate desire to be liked kicks in, even if only on a subconscious level, and the close calls tend to go in favor of the home team more often than the visitors.
Withey's emergence is a surprise. He transferred from Arizona in 2008, sat out in accordance with NCAA rules and later played minimally behind star big men Cole Aldrich, Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris. Last season Withey played about 6 minutes a game behind the Morris brothers and Robinson.
"He didn't have a chance to play," Kansas coach Bill Self says. "He's a freshman from an experience standpoint."
This season Withey is giving opponents fits with his lanky frame. He is a starter who leads the Big 12 Conference with 66 blocked shots (3.3 average) going into Saturday's game at Iowa State. No. 5 Kansas (17-3) is atop the Big 12 at 7-0.
Withey averages 8.1 points and 6.1 rebounds while playing nearly 23 minutes a game. He had eight blocks to go with 10 points in a 64-54 win Monday against Texas A&M. Withey has been steady at the free throw line, shooting 84.7%, up from 51.5% last season.
He also gives Robinson some breathing room because he can guard other teams' top big men.
"When I transferred, I knew who was in front of me," Withey says. "I knew (assistant coach) Danny Manning was going to teach me a lot. I got a lot better by sitting."
Offensively, Withey wants to be more aggressive and physical. "He has a hard time when people body him up," Self says.
He has time to work on that. In 2013, he could be yet another Kansas big man to be taken high in the NBA draft.
KU coach Bill Self and his assistants wore sneakers instead of dress shoes with their suits Saturday as part of the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend — a collaborative initiative of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Participating NABC member coaches wear sneakers one game a year to support the American Cancer Society and its vision of a world “with less cancer and more birthdays.”
…Self was asked on Friday’s Jim Rome radio show about possibly coaching in the NBA someday.
“I think there’s a part of me that would say that could interest me at some point in time, but right now I’m having so much fun working with these guys. To be honest with you, there’s a lot of good jobs out there. There are not many as good as what I’ve got,” Self said.
“Sometimes I think people get caught up in looking for something where the grass is greener when it is really not. This is a great gig. Maybe when they get tired of me here that may be something I consider doing. Even with that being said, there’s only 30 (NBA) jobs out there. What are the chances anybody’s going to want a college coach? I am certainly not thinking that or putting my eggs in that basket. All I want to do is coach this team as hard as I can and get this team ready.”
… ESPN’s Jay Bilas lists KU’s Thomas Robinson as his No. 3 big man in college basketball this season. His rankings are “based upon performance in college, and with a nod to pro potential.”
Kentucky’s Anthony Davis is No. 1 and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger No. 2.
Of Robinson, Bilas wrote: “No big man has had a better season than Robinson. Clearly he is a high level athlete with an NBA body. And he has a tremendous motor that keeps revving at a high level game after game. Robinson is the best defensive rebounder in college basketball, averaging nine defensive rebounds per game and more than 12 rebounds overall. He can run the floor, and he has the strength and lift to block shots around the rim. He is not a natural scorer but can step away and hit to 18 feet, and he can also put it on the floor and drive it some. Robinson is averaging more than 17 points per game on 54 percent shooting, and he gets to the free throw line six times per game but shoots only 64 percent from the line. His activity level is what makes him special, and he will help a team win without having to be the focal point.”
Watching Kansas City’s oldest brand of vitriol from seats close enough to hear the curse words will cost you about $2,000. Normally, that’s insane. Normally, nothing short of a severe allergy to money would justify the cost, but normally, you cannot watch symphonic hatred at its historical peak.
You’ve never seen anything like what you’re about to see between Kansas and Missouri. Nobody has seen anything like this, at least not since the days when disputes got settled with guns and torches.
Whatever you think is the most intense season in the 106-year history of Border War basketball games — for most, it’s 1990 — is about to be lapped by an unrepeatable set of circumstances that will forever help frame Kansas City’s greatest rivalry when KU plays at Mizzou on Saturday.
Not even losses by both teams in the past few days can change that.
“It is for Missouri,” says Jon Sundvold, whose No. 20 hangs at Mizzou Arena.
“It certainly is from KU’s standpoint,” says Max Falkenstein, who broadcast more than 1,750 Kansas basketball games.
We live in a time of constant hyperbole and hype, particularly in sports, when the Game of the Century seems to happen at least once a year and it is bull, almost without exception.
Here, then, is the exception:
The Border War, with all its mutual hatred, featuring two of the best teams in the country playing for keeps.
…There is a theory coming out of Mizzou. It is a terrific college sports theory, because it rests comfortably at the intersection of hope, hubris and hatred.
The theory goes that, sure, we all hear KU posturing tough that the Border War is effectively dead once MU leaves the Big 12 because of pride and emotion. That’s all fine, but it will crash down if Mizzou beats KU twice this season.
The theory says that competitiveness will trump principle at that point, because nobody in Lawrence will be able to stand the thought of Missouri pointing to something like a forever scoreboard.
“I would stake on a bet that if Missouri wins in Mizzou Arena, and then Allen Fieldhouse, that Kansas would like to play Missouri again in basketball,” Sundvold says. “I would stake that claim.”
And it makes some sense, right? Basketball is KU’s pride and joy, and the thought of MU holding an irrefutable and permanent bragging point is enough to make any self-respecting Jayhawk shudder with disgust.
“If you look at the all-time series (KU leads 170-95), two games, or three, doesn’t make anyone think any differently,” says Greg Gurley, a former KU guard who now works at the university. “I mean, it’s pretty lopsided.”
Gurley pauses for a moment.
“Besides,” he says, thinking about KU losing twice to MU, “those are big ands, ifs and buts, too.”
And with that, the rivalry moves on, beautiful hatred sure to continue after the games end.
Jayhawks in the NBA
Brittney Griner scored 28 points and moved into second place on the NCAA career blocks list in No. 1 Baylor’s 74-46 rout of Kansas on Saturday night.
Griner passed Michigan State’s Alyssa DeHaan midway through the first half. The 6-foot-8 phenom has 506 blocks in her career and now only trails Saint Mary’s star Louella Tomlinson, who had 663.
Kimetria Hayden added 10 points and Destiny Williams had 11 rebounds for Baylor (21-0, 8-0 Big 12), which is one of two unbeatens left. Wisconsin-Green Bay improved to 19-0 on Saturday by routing Valparaiso.
Carolyn Davis scored 12 and Angel Goodrich and CeCe Harper had 10 points each for Kansas (16-4, 5-3). Aishah Sutherland had 10 rebounds.
There is a distinct message. Last August, when gridders, cagers, rowers, netters, spikers and every other athlete representing KU assembled for another year on the sports calendar, Zenger addressed them all ... town hall style.
Except he was the one doing the talking.
He read the Paul Harvey essay, “These Things I Wish For You,’’ after identifying who Paul Harvey was for his young audience. Eventually, Zenger delivered his punchline.
“We’ve got to shed our mentality of entitlement because we’re too soft,’’ he said.
Indeed, many sports at KU — too many — are faring poorly in the Big 12. Overall, the results are unacceptable to the now-second-year AD.
One coaching change was orchestrated already. As for other sports, well, stay tuned, though the money spent to facilitate the move in football could buy some time for other coaches.
Some strides are being made too. Track and field competes favorably, soccer qualified for the NCAA Tournament, and women’s basketball was improved at the halfway mark in its Big 12 schedule.
Kansas was recently cited for spending more on recruiting athletes for its men’s teams in 2010-11 ($206,723 per team and $3,731.47 per athlete) than any athletic department in the Big 12. Argue if you want that this falls under entitlements. But obviously, coaches were given the resources to bolster programs and they need to deliver.
…Back out on the speaking circuit, where the steaks are often salisbury, morale is improving.
People like what they hear. And they like that they hear it from an AD who loves reconnecting to his roots.
“Right now those are the signs that I’m reading — the fan base, the donor base, they’re feeling good about certain things,’’ Zenger said.
“Now, you drill that down to the athletes and the coaches, and I believe the culture is changing. They all understand what the expectations are. And our student-athletes are hungry for a challenge, and for discipline.’’
In today’s society, where virtually any feat can be replayed on SportsCenter, information is networked by four Gs, and showmanship is considered natural, the Kansas values Zenger emphasizes sometimes get lost. Even at Kansas.
So he repeats himself. One, be humble. Two, underpromise and overproduce. Three, just work hard.
“They need to learn Kansan,’’ Zenger says of the KU athletes and staff, “because that’s who they are.’’
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Visiting for the first time as an opposing coach, Lon Kruger directed Oklahoma to a season sweep of the Big 12 series with the Wildcats.
A weekend celebrating K-State basketball legends ended in a legendary upset for Kruger, a former Big Eight player of the year for K-State who went on to open Bramlage as the Wildcats coach. Behind 30 points from Steven Pledger, OU edged K-State 63-60.
“Sometimes in practice he says Big 12, (sometimes) he says Big Eight,’’ Pledger said. “This is his old stomping grounds, where he used to do it on the court, so it’s good.’’
Sophomore point guard Phil Pressey tied his career high in assists with 12 (equaling the total against Villanova), and Tech, which dropped to 7-13 and 0-8 in the Big 12, turned the ball over 21 times, errors that Missouri turned into 27 points.
Ultimately, Missouri moved to 19-2 overall — and within a game of Kansas for first place in the Big 12 at 6-2 — because of its season-long ability to get contributions from every one of its mere seven scholarship players.
“The offense is set up where its equal opportunity,” English said. “We definitely try to get the ball inside to Ricardo, but it’s a luxury to have a team with seven guys that can really get it done any given night.”
SEC begging fans to attend games
It doesn’t have a fancy nickname. It’s not something that Kansas high school basketball fans talk about.
Moundridge’s 59-game winning streak in boys basketball has stood as a state record for 18 years. And it soon could be broken. That may be news to you. It’s definitely news to those who were part of the Moundridge streak.
“I wasn’t aware,’’ said Dwight Helms, a four-year starter for Moundridge during the era that also produced four Class 2A championships in a row from 1990-93. “But I was wondering if Heights was going to get it.’’
Heights is chasing its own four-peat in Class 6A and has won 56 straight games. Four more and the Moundridge record falls. The Falcons, behind Perry Ellis, next face Southeast on Tuesday night, then play games at West (Feb. 7), at Northwest (Feb. 10) and at Bishop Carroll (Feb. 14).
“It’s cool that they’re close,’’ said Helms, who works for BP and lives in Houston with his wife and two daughters, 5 and 3. “We had a lot of fun at Moundridge in those years. But when you’re doing something like winning all those games in a row, you don’t really know what you’re doing.’’
Jacy Holloway, a guard who teamed with Helms to form one of the finest high school duos in the state’s history, hasn’t been following the Heights winning streak, either.
“But it doesn’t surprise me that they’re getting close,’’ said Holloway, a teacher and boys basketball coach at Garden City High. “It’ll probably be pretty easy for them now.’’
Or perhaps not. But it’s a good time to re-visit the Moundridge streak, which included a few close calls and a harrowing slow-down game against Ellinwood (win No. 44) that the Wildcats were able to pull out 27-25 during the 1992-93 season.
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