Frustrating Finish: Jayhawks upset against TCU in Big 12 tournament, 85-82

Frustrated, Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) spikes the ball on the court following the Jayhawks' 85-82 loss to TCU, Thursday, March 9, 2017 at Sprint Center.

— The easy answer was that top-seeded Kansas lost Thursday’s Big 12 quarterfinal to TCU at Sprint Center because the No. 1-ranked Jayhawks played without suspended guard Josh Jackson.

The more accurate reason Kansas was headed home to wait for Selection Sunday was because the Jayhawks were beat on the boards, struggled defensively all night and got next to nothing from their bench.

All three shortcomings showed up at the worst times on Thursday, and now the top-seeded Jayhawks are off for the weekend thanks to an energy-zapping, 85-82 loss to No. 8 seed TCU.

“We had who we had. It’s not an excuse of who we didn’t have,” said KU coach Bill Self, alluding to Jackson. “It just seemed like there was such a drop off when we made any substitutions today. And I’m not being critical on purpose with our guys. I think that’s pretty factual. When we had our five starters out there, we were pretty good. But whenever we had to go to the bench it just wasn’t very good today.”

KU’s bench was outscored, 34-3, with a big chunk of that damage coming during a 33-10 TCU run that spanned the final few minutes of the first half and the first five of the second.

After Kansas built a 39-27 lead with 4:20 remaining in the first half — struggling junior Svi Mykhailiuk exploded for 13 first-half points on 5-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes — the Horned Frogs (19-14) closed the half on a 16-3 run to take a 43-42 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Kansas (28-4) stemmed the tide early in the second half and led 47-45 on an uncontested dunk by Landen Lucas (13 points, 14 rebounds) on an inbounds play, but the Frogs responded with a 15-2 run from there to push their lead to 60-49 with 13:57 to play.

“We really controlled the game except for eight minutes,” Self lamented after the loss, KU’s first in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament since 2009 and just the second in the 21-year history of the event. “We went from up 12 to down 11. That’s 23. We had a chance to crack it open and didn’t.”

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That, along with severe disappointment in the way they defended throughout the game, was one of the Jayhawks’ most regrettable acts in this loss.

“It went wrong when we let them go on that run and wasn’t responding,” junior Devonte’ Graham, who finished with 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting, including a miss of a 26-footer to tie as time expired. “They just had all the momentum going. That’s what we talked about in here. We just gotta put our foot on teams’ throats and not let them hang around and think they can play with you and give them momentum and you end up losing. That’s kind of what we did today.”

Self made sure to credit TCU for its ability to respond to the Jayhawks’ early lead, but said KU’s lackluster defense played a big role in that.

Several times, both during TCU’s mid-game run and down the stretch, TCU got uncontested baskets right at the rim, either in transition or off the dribble, therein making Kansas’ offensive output irrelevant.

“You score 80 points, you’re supposed to win,” Self said. “That’s plenty to win. Past teams that we’ve had, if you scored 70 that was a guaranteed win. Now, 80's not even a guaranteed win because we don’t guard as well.”

Related document

Box score: TCU 85, Kansas 82 ( .PDF )

Even with all of those missteps and missed opportunities, the Jayhawks, as they’ve done all year long, found a way to charge hard in the second half. Led by some big time buckets from senior Frank Mason III, who finished with a game-high 29 points — making it a perfect day to hand him that Big 12 player of the year trophy he picked up before tip-off — Kansas answered TCU’s 11-point lead with a 15-5 run and trailed by just one with more than nine minutes to play.

From there, KU tied the game twice — 70-all and 72-72 — before building an 80-76 lead with just over two minutes remaining.

At the time, after a runner in the lane by Mason with 2:18 to play, it seemed like this one was going to wind up the way so many other close calls had throughout the season. TCU forward Vlad Brodziansky missed a quick jumper on the other end and Kansas had possession, up four, with a pro-KU crowd buzzing.

But a missed connection on an alley-oop attempt from Mason to Lagerald Vick left the door open just enough and TCU bull-rushed its way through it with a nearly flawless final two minutes.

“Yeah, I definitely did,” said Mason, when asked if he thought the alley-oop might’ve sealed the deal. “It was a wide-open lob. I think I just threw it a little too high. If it would’ve been a little shorter, he would’ve caught it and dunked it. It was just a bad pass.”

That mistake was compounded by two more from Mykhailiuk — a turnover and a foul on a 3-point attempt — that led to five TCU free throws in the final 65 seconds to set the final margin.

TCU’s final three free throws, which came from a cool, calm and collected Desmond Bane with 2.5 seconds to play, came after Mykhailiuk blocked Bane’s shot attempt from the corner but landed on him during the follow-through.

“I thought I blocked it and it was clean,” Mykhailiuk said. “But they called it.”

Although a handful of Jayhawks said they still had hope after Bane’s three makes, there was no comeback in the cards this time and Kansas was left to figure out what the next two days would be like without games to be played.

“It’s tough,” Graham said. “You never want to lose, period. But especially not in the first game. It hurts right now but we’ve gotta focus on the tournament now.”

Added Self, when asked if he thought the loss came at a good time for his team: “I don’t know. I don’t know. Time will tell. I didn’t want to come over here and go home empty after one day. I’m one of those believers that if you play you might as well win. We would be spent tomorrow. Tomorrow would be a hard day for us, but our guys usually respond to challenges and I certainly would’ve liked to see us play more games here.”

By the Numbers: TCU 85, Kansas 82

By the Numbers: TCU 85, Kansas 82

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU


Comments

Bill Pitcher

Z-O-N-E?

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Agreed. Why did Self stick with the same man-to-man defense that wasn't working? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Morrison

I was concerned we wouldn't have enough firepower without Jackson. Oh well.... on to Tulsa.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Firepower wasn't the issue. Defense, rebounding, turnovers, and Bill Self's coaching were.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Dear Josh Jackson,

I hope your failed attempt to hide your traffic ticket from Coach Self was worth it.

Signed,
Jayhawk Nation

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jason Brinker

Dear Bryce Landon,
I hope you enjoy being a tool on message boards for many years to come. I'll think of your ridiculous posts often when I'm making millions in the NBA.
Signed, Josh Jackson

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Lance Cheney

Wait a second, you're not Josh Jackson!

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Robert Brock

Jackson is in a big hurry to get to The League. He doesn't care about KU.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

I'd be surprised if he thinks he's top 3 draft. He's still got a lot to work on; maturity is one of them. Being an alpha dog in a college team doesn't guarantee anything. I hope JJ understand that.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Kansas is far and away the best team in basketball up to the last conference game.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

As if going one-and-done in the Big 12 Tournament wasn't a bad enough look, it's even worse for our look that K-$tate did what we couldn't - win a Big 12 Tournament game.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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RJ King

Bryce - Since you care so much about what others think of our team (CBS website, etc.), you should be GLAD that KSU upset Baylor. We are almost assured of getting HALF of our conference (6 instead of 5 teams) in the tournament because of their win.

K-State (why the dollar sign???) just moved up to last-four-in. And with another upset, TCU just might sneak in as well. That speaks well for our conference and make what KU has done even more impressive.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Justin Kruse

That's what I kept telling myself last night as well...at least this will help TCU make the tourney. And, as hard as it was to root for KSU, I did for the same reason. Honestly, it really wasn't until Mizzou left for the SEC that I cared so strongly about the entire Big XII!

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

One positive take-away from the game is Svi looks more comfortable with his shooting. I hope it's not a one-night thingy. Lucas with his double-double, hopefully he'll stay productive!!
But boooy, Brag is just too much, I gave up on this dude.
I miss Rock Chalk chant, dang it.. it's loooooong overdue this season!!!

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kent Richardson

This game was just like about 10 games and they could have gone the way this one did. We ride on the edge and have been resourceful enough except against ISU at Allen and last night. Could Josh have made the difference? Good chance since he is so complete. Nice to see Svi hit some shots. We couldn't get the stops we have seen before and missed clutch shots. Bigs were able to dominate us.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Duane Peschka

As Bryce says," defense, rebounding, turnovers, and Self's coaching". There was 1.) little or NO DEFENSE at critical times, SVI, CARLTON, COLEBY, GRAHAM, AND EVEN THE MOST RELIABLE, MASON HAD THREE TIMES IN THE LAST 5 MINUTES ALLOW HIS MAN TO DRIVE PAST HIM TO THE BASKET AND SCORE. 2.) except for L. Lucas, the rest of the team made a poor effort to REBOUND, 3.) turnovers 15 with Lucas( a 5th yr. Senior who should have learned by now about turnovers, 4.) Bill Self's coaching schemes and subs during crucial times of the game( BRAGG, LIGHT, AND COLEBY were useless esp. BRAGG. This FLOP OF KU's PLAY HAS HAPPENED several times in the last several years( EXCEPT 2008) while playing in the NCAA tourney and that is what really concerns me now. If the players and coaches DO NOT PULL THEIR HEADS OUT then KU will not get out of the SWEET SIXTEEN( they might even get that far). ALL THIS IF THEY DO NOT START PLAYING LIKE A TEAM,ESP. TEAM DEFENSE AND LESS TURNOVERS.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kent Richardson

Duane, you are not the only one who is PISSED. We may meet a team like Purdue in the sweet sixteen with a bigger and badder Motley like player in Swanigan who can kill us inside.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brianna Zaleski

I'll tell you exactly why Coach Self didn't bust out the zone yesterday. He doesn't like to show his hand too early. Much the same reason you rarely see a zone or one of his "junk" defenses in the first half so the opposing coach can't adjust at halftime. I think Self figures if he uses it against TCU (essentially a meaningless game) he's showed his hand a bit too early. Remember , it's the tournament that starts next weekend that matters.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Andy Godwin

Folks, Self did use the zone last night for a short time (believe it was to give the players on the court a breather since the bench was again non-existant). He hid nothing. TCU scored and he went back to what he believes in.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

I kinda feel that way, too, it's good to know from others.
It's part of the plan, i guess.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brianna Zaleski

Bryce, you are either a troll or the most dramatic man child I've ever come across. It's 1 game! Relax.

I woke up this morning, the sun came up (shocker!) and we live to fight another day. This is an experienced team that will come back focused and on a mission. And Bill Self is still a really good coach, despite your best efforts to paint him otherwise.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Ryan Zimmerman

We won't have to worry about Svi's slump next year... word is he's told all his teammates he's not coming back

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

well, good luck to him in Europe.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Harlan Hobbs

Come on folks. Brianna and Andy have the right attitude and perspective.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Mike Riches

Better scenario for Kansas:

1 seed in the East/South/West?

or

2 seed in the Midwest with Gonzaga as the 1?

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Matthew Neal

Doesn't matter- Kansas will be the #1 seed in the Midwest

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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David McNickle

Incredibly foggy in Dallas so I don't know for sure if the sun came up today. When your team is 7 deep, it's really tough to lose one for the entire game. So many defensive liabilities on this team. At least one of them found their stroke again.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Craig Alexander

Losing Graham for awhile in the first half didn't help either. You could tell by the way he ran, the ankle was bothering him. He needs rest and these kids need some rest to go take care of business.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kent Richardson

A week off will be nice for sure.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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DB Ashton

It's clear that Mr Jackson's absence exposed the thin Jayhawk bench and that the starters were collectively too fatigued to perform up to standard on both side of the court at crunch time. Coach Self must share some responsibility for his failure to develop what bench he has and assume that the day would come when a man would be missing. It shouldn't be a surprise that the pieces didn't fit Thursday -- the replacements were insufficiently experienced, thanks to Mr Self's season-long quick hook. But my guess is that Coach knows this far better than I and decided long ago that he'd go with his best and rack up as many wins as possible until the team ran out of gas. The silver lining is that the lads will be rested for the tournament, which was a worry.

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Adam James

Too many emotional responses here folks. This is one game. To put it in perspective, we finished 16-3 vs. Big 12 teams this season. So no matter who wins out the Big 12 tournament we will still have the most success from top to bottom from a large sample size. Winning or losing in your conference tournament is no indicator of how a team will perform in the field of 64. Just one example of many out there.... Iowa State beat KU in the 2015 Big 12 Championship game and everyone was singing their praises. Then 1 week later Iowa State lost to UAB and their season was over. When we look back 2 weeks from now and we are playing in the 2nd weekend of the tournament, no one will care one bit about a loss to TCU. Rock Chalk!!

7 months, 2 weeks ago

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