Everything, including chemistry, awry for No. 10 Kansas in loss at Baylor

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) and Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) show their frustration following a late foul against the Jayhawks with little time remaining in the game, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2018 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Waco, Texas — If you were to pick a single play that summed up just how out of sorts the Kansas men's basketball team was on Saturday during an 80-64 loss to Baylor at Ferrell Center — and, if we're being honest, there were more than a dozen of them — it came early in the second half on, of all things, a Kansas 3-pointer.

With the Jayhawks trailing by 13, and searching for some way to ignite an offense that scored a season-low 20 points in the first half, sophomore guard Malik Newman caught an extra pass in the corner in front of the Kansas bench, stepped into the shot and buried it to give the Jayhawks a much-needed lift from the outside on a day they finished 6 of 31 from 3-point range compared to 8 of 15 from downtown for Baylor (15-10 overall, 5-7 Big 12).

So then, what's the problem?

Well, that came while the ball was in the air, when sophomore center Udoka Azubuike was busy throwing down a Baylor player under the rim.

As the KU bench celebrated Newman's 3-pointer — it did count, pulling Kansas back within 10 at 35-25 — the official under the basket whistled Azubuike for his fourth foul with 17:54 to play in the game.

Everything was straight up Everest from there for the 10th-ranked Jayhawks (19-6, 8-4), who somehow cut the Baylor lead to two — 51-49 on back-to-back Azubuike dunks with 9:27 remaining — but were outscored 29-15 the rest of the way en route to a season-low 64 points on 39.7 percent shooting.

After suffering through 20 minutes of offensive futility in the first half, the Jayhawks were done in by 20 minutes of defensive deficiency in the second, further adding to their nothing-went-right night.

“Definitely the defensive part,” said senior point guard Devonte' Graham, when asked which aspect was more troubling. “You can't worry about scoring the ball. You can shoot the ball any game. But when you give up points like that, you really don't deserve to win.”

Graham, who finished with 23 points, three rebounds, four assists and three turnovers — yes, in 40 minutes — said KU coach Bill Self told his team after the game that Saturday's result was a product of the Jayhawks' intensity.

“I thought our energy level was average,” Self said. “We got the ball to two feet, three feet several times early and came away with nothing – don't even get a shot up. Then they stretched (the lead) out at the end of the first half (30-20) and that turned out to be a pretty big difference, because, when we did come back, we couldn't quite get over the hump.”

Azubuike's foul trouble was not the only reason for KU's inability to find its rhythm. But it played a big role.

Related document

Box score: Baylor 80, Kansas 64 ( .PDF )

His first foul came at the 14:47 mark of the first half on what Self deemed “a soft call,” before adding, “I don't have the best position on it.” And his second came with five minutes to play in the first half, when he both collided with and shoved a Baylor player chasing down a loose ball.

His third foul came 72 seconds into the second half and his fourth, the one under the basket, stopped the action 54 seconds later.

“Obvious call,” Self said of foul No. 2. “And the same with his third and his fourth one.

“We need him to be in the game. But, to be honest with you, I didn't think he was much of a factor when he was in there. We didn't get much low-post scoring when the whole game plan was to try to throw (him) the ball and isolate him on the post.”

Azubuike finished with eight points, four rebounds and three turnovers in 19 minutes. He was 4 of 4 from the floor, but Self said he thought Azubuike could have had at least twice that many shots.

Freshman Marcus Garrett (2 of 3 for six points in 20 minutes) was the only other Kansas player to shoot better than 50 percent for the game. And his two makes came at 15:40 in the first half and with 45 seconds to play in the game.

Despite playing just three minutes in the second half — when Kansas searched for more offensive punch — Garrett's impact was a fairly significant storyline and, at the very least, a subplot in the chemistry issues currently surrounding this team. The freshman from Dallas made his seventh start of the season in place of Newman, who finished with 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting in 32 minutes.

Asked if KU's chemistry was where it needed to be at this point in the season, Self responded with an emphatic, “No. No, not at all. No. No.”

Asked about making the move to Garrett in place of Newman, Self dove deeper on the issue.

“Malik, in my opinion didn't deserve to start,” Self said. “I'm tired of starting guys that don't really put themselves in a position, from what we need to do and an intangible standpoint, (to be) out there. To me, it's not about winning and losing from that perspective. It's about, 'Hey, this is what we need you to do to be good. This is what we need to do in order to give us the best chance.' And if guys don't do that, I'm tired of rewarding guys to start whenever I don't feel like those things are taking place. And it doesn't have anything to do with missing shots. You can miss all the shots you want to. At least from an intangible standpoint, you know, give us some stuff.”

Said Newman: “First half, anybody that watched the game knows I was terrible in the first half. But the second half I thought I was good and I know why I came off the bench.”

Added Self: “The things that we know that we need to be pretty good and have a chance to compete at a high level, the players haven't quite bought into that totally yet. And, you know, it's getting late in the season to see if they're going to buy into it.”

Next up, the Jayhawks head north to Ames, Iowa, on Tuesday to take on an Iowa State team that knocked off Oklahoma on Saturday.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU


By the Numbers: Baylor 80, Kansas 64.

By the Numbers: Baylor 80, Kansas 64.

Comments

Marius Rowlanski

Hard to believe that Svi only scored 2 points in 35 minutes. Lightfoot also finished with only 2 points and lastly, Garrett only scored 6 points. 3 starters and only 10 points.

I understand that HCBS is trying to shake up the roster to motivate the team but we seem to be getting behind early and waiting for one of our patented runs in the 2nd half. As close as we get, we just can't get over the top and build a cushion. This team lacks confidence and cohesion.

1 week, 5 days ago

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John Strayer

Nobody but Graham on this this team seems to want to win...the body language of this group all out sucks. Svi can't hit the broadside of a barn lately and Graham seems to be trying to do everything himself. No one else seems to look to score...they appear to just stand around and watch Graham try to drive the ball....then on top of that KU is struggling to even make layups. I think I've seen KU miss more layups over the last 3 to 4 years.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Bryce Landon

***“Malik, in my opinion didn't deserve to start,” Self said. “I'm tired of starting guys that don't really put themselves in a position, from what we need to do and an intangible standpoint, (to be) out there. To me, it's not about winning and losing from that perspective. It's about, 'Hey, this is what we need you to do to be good. This is what we need to do in order to give us the best chance.' And if guys don't do that, I'm tired of rewarding guys to start whenever I don't feel like those things are taking place. And it doesn't have anything to do with missing shots. You can miss all the shots you want to. At least from an intangible standpoint, you know, give us some stuff.”***

How long has it been since we heard Coach Self this frustrated with his team? Maybe when we had the "Topeka YMCA" game against a 20-loss TCU team? Other exasperated coaches in recent memory include Pat Knight ranting about the "worst seniors ever" at Lamar and John Calipari cracking his 2013 edition of Kentucky as "uncoachable" after a blowout loss at Tennessee.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Michael Sillman

It sure does not look like being a starter or not is actually a significant motivator. Perhaps Self needs to be prepared to give real pine time to some of his top seven in favor of bench sitters and walk-on’s.

In reality this is a team that could either get bounced in March’s first round or get hot from three point land on the way to the Final Four.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Blake Phillips

Does anyone ever get the feeling that the NCAA didn't want KU breaking such a legendary UCLA record set by JOhn Wooden & purposely held off from aiding in the Billy Preston case? It sounds outlandish, but theres no denying that had we had him cleared we would likely not have lost this game, OSU & OU.

Pretty sad that our roster is so thin.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Spencer Goff

I had considered the Preston thing from the angle of Gordon Gee, who did not want to see him play against West Virginia (back when they thought they had a shot), and I even wondered about the dirty dirtiness of the Boren/Castiglione tandem down in Oklahoma, but honestly I never considered it from an NCAA aspect.

I sort of gave the NCAA a pass because they are pretty much useless and you certainly ask a valid question. But honestly, I put part of this roster blame on Self, part of it on Preston (even though we all know every school hooks up their players with cars, I'm looking at you Oklahoma), and part of it on the NCAA for not just saying "yes" or "no" and moving on. I truly think the only conspiracy is the influence of West Virginia and/or Choklahoma's mafia leadership. Perhaps Oklahoma forgot about their car dealership fiasco in the early 2000's.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Barry Weiss

and the reality is, it was the KU administration that should have caught the Billy car deal earlier, and then when they did, THEY made the decision to sit him to see if their self imposed penalty would be enough. In the end, who knows how it blew up. So I almost blame Billy for getting the car and KU for not being on top of it sooner, than I do the NCAA.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Bryce Landon

Don't be ridiculous, the NCAA always drags its feet. It has no dog in the fight when it comes to such records.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Marius Rowlanski

No. The investigation into Preston was done by the University.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Tim Orel

If this were true, the NCAA could have answered "yes" or "no" for his eligibility once the papers were submitted by KU. As it was, the NCAA took several days on their own presumably reinvestigating and double-checking all that KU did. Both organizations combined doomed Billy Preston playing for KU. Saying that it "was done by the University" ignores the NCAA delay of weeks as well.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Matt Gauntt

The NCAA Vice President of Enforcement is Jon Duncan.......A University of Kansas alum from the KU Law School. Seems unlikely that the NCAA is trying to keep KU from breaking Wooden's record.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Tom Jones

No matter who you blame for how long it took to figure out he couldn't play, it's Billy's fault, period. He drove the car, he knew who gave it to him and couldn't have been truthful about it to compliance or they would have stopped him from driving it. And he hit the curb. No conspiracy theories.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Steve Corder

Toast

1 week, 5 days ago

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Bryce Landon

I think it's time that we come to grips with grim reality: We are not going to win the Big 12 this year. We don't have the manpower to do it, and we don't have the willpower either. I, for one, am resigning myself to KU's fate to finish anywhere from 2nd-5th place, what with Texas Tech going into Manhattan and annihilating KSU this evening.

The streak has been fun, and it's been nice to tie UCLA's old record, and it would have been nice to have that record all to ourselves; but with Billy Preston's issues, Sam and Silvio not panning out, all the departures before the season, and the players losing their edge, No. 14 isn't happening. And the sooner we come to terms with that, the better off we will be.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Blake Phillips

Yeah, Bill Self is gonna have to pull a trick out of his hat...... we still have to play Texas Tech and win-out (essentially) to get #14. It's really sad, because with Billy Preston this team would be completely different. Sometimes too much depth makes coach play too many.... with Billy we would have had a solid 7 man rotation. In essence we have a five now...... because Billy is no longer at practice helping defense against Mitch and the perimeter players. Since he's left, the team has looked less prepared..... which i think is from missing an NBA pro-body at practice. Just my opinion.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Mike Barnhart

This lack of pride and energy is the unintended consequence of overindulging 18-year-old prima donnas. Duke is feeling it, Kentucky is feeling it and Kansas is feeling it. Programs built with four-year seniors living in dorms and traveling on buses are kicking the tails of the ruling class who fly on chartered jets and live in reality show mansions.

The blue blood arms race has opened the door for Virginia, Texas Tech and Wichita State to win with heart. I think Bill Self sees the problem and I don’t doubt his ability to find the right guys to restore our toughness.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Lawrence McGlinn

I'm not sure I agree with everything you say, but it seems Self hasn't been able to get this team to buckle down on defense the way he has in the past. That would suggest you're right. Defense is mostly effort, and I am not seeing it. Could also be that Self is getting a bit burned out. He may not be pushing them as hard as he did 10 years ago. Strangely, I think this particular team may not win the Big 12, but if it gets hot from three it could go a long way in the tournament, even with sketchy defense.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Dirk Medema

Bryce - Were you the quitter during the gold medal game in Korea?

We’re only one game out of first, and all the top teams but TT also lost today. Maybe we don’t win this year, but it is a total wimp move to give up and quit with 7 games to go. Pathetic

1 week, 5 days ago

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Bryce Landon

What gold medal game in Korea? I don't give a rat's ass about the Olympics.

And no, moron, Texas Tech didn't lose - they crushed K-State. If you're going to come at me, have your facts straight first.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Tim Orel

LOL. Bryce, your comment makes you totally seem like a newbie I don't believe you are. Dirk is referring to the World University Games, dummy. When KU was behind in the final, championship game where KU had won every game to that point.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Kurt Eskilson

Dirk clearly wrote "all the top teams but TT also lost today." So he was coming at you with his facts straight.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Spencer Goff

All doom and gloom aside, Devonte' deserves a lot of praise on his senior campaign. That guy is giving everything he has every game. Since day one he has been all in. I am going to miss him a helluva lot.

Night folks.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Duane Peschka

Once again poor play by all. TO REITERATE: DEFENSE IS THE KEY. THEN WHY IS SELF NOT RUNNING A "MATCH UP ZONE"? Most of the KU players DO NOT KNOW HOW TO RUN AN EFFECTIVE ZONE, certainly not that display they showed in Waco. You protect Azubuike from fouling frequently while playing a man-to- man defense. He plays better while move in the middle of the lane. Lack of hustle by several players and NONE OF THE PLAYERS, EVEN GRAHAM, REALLY KNOW HOW TO PLAY MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE. WHAT REALLY BOTHERS ME IS WHY COACH SELF OR ASSISTANTS DO NOT TEACH MORE EFFECTIVE AND PRODUCTIVE PROCESSES OF DEFENSE. I THINK SELF IS TIRED OF FIGHTING. SKI HAS NOT SHOWN UP FOR THE LAST 2 GAMES AND GOING TO IOWA STATE IS GOING TO BE VERY DIFFICULT TO BEAT THEM AS WE HAVE PLAYED THE PAST GAMES. CHANGE IS NOW FOR THE COACHES. SEVERAL OF THE PLAYERS JUST ARE NOT AS TALENTED AS THOUGHT. MAYBE NEXT YEAR WILL BE BETTER. ROCK CHALK

1 week, 5 days ago

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Tony Bandle

Duane, just a little tip......don't overdue the Caps Font. Use it as a point of emphasis rather than a complete dialogue. It appears you are out on your front porch screaming at the neighborhood...then again, maybe you are.

From your friendly fellow Jayhawk Alum poster, Tony, TIRED OF THE CRAPPY KU PLAY, Bandle. See what I mean? :)

1 week, 5 days ago

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Marius Rowlanski

I couldn't get through it.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Ed Noyes

As I suggested last week, let Silvio get his feet on the ground by playing him until he fouls out or, better, adjusts and becomes productive.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Jeff Foster

So you're saying, play Silvio for 5 minutes? I love that the kid wanted to come play right away, and we all ate it up like he was really going to solidify our lineup with or without Preston. As good as he was in HS, really shows you the learning curve from there to elite programs. He's not helped in any aspect of any game this year. Love him being here, but we were silly to think he would contribute much.

1 week, 5 days ago

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Layne Pierce

Is it over for 14th, no, but it is certainly in doubt. Fact is that the last 6 games are a tournament.
Every team has tough games left. Take Tech for example, they still have to play at West Virginia, and at OU, and KU is capable of beating them in Lubbock. Problem is that if 13 wins is what it takes for a share of title, then we have to win 5 out of 6 games left. Right now that looks like a tough haul for this team, especially when you realize that we have 3 road games, Lubbock, Stillwater, and Ames. Three places where we have struggled. I am hoping that we win 5 out of our last 6 games, and Tech wins 4 out of last 6 with losses to OU and WV. Then even if we lose to Tech twice, we could still get a share of title. If we lose 2 then the only way it works is if tech loses 3, and that means we have to beat them along with OU and WV.

So, let's not give up yet. If you look at the string of 13, it includes some pretty dire outlooks before the last 6 games.

RCJH

1 week, 5 days ago

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KD Krase

Svi = M.I.A.

1 week, 4 days ago

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Kent Richardson

Svi will get it back and there is another 10 - 20 points a game. Everyone gets a into a slump. It came at a bad time with Self trying to get it a grip on the team.

Udoka is making the same ill advised fouls every game which has hurt the play two bigs thingy.

Just a bad stretch and we will play better, I guess. Problem is we are not good enough to overcome this much crap. An all out effort would have made it easier to bear but we are not a fiery team.

It's all up in the air and probably shouldn't be so a month before selection Sunday.

1 week, 4 days ago

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