Hack-a-Dok: Free-throw shooting woes send KU home from Oklahoma in defeat

Kansas players huddle around Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) before a one-and-one during the second half at Lloyd Noble Center on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 in Norman, Oklahoma.

Norman, Okla. — A season-long concern that had not yet fully hurt the Kansas basketball team did the Jayhawks in on Tuesday night, when 12th-ranked Oklahoma used an intentional-foul strategy on KU big man Udoka Azubuike during the game's final four minutes to knock off No. 5 Kansas, 85-80, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Azubuike, who entered the game as a 41.1 percent free throw shooter for the season, missed six consecutive free throws when the Sooners were daring him to make them. That left the door cracked for fab freshman Trae Young and his teammates to steal the victory despite trailing for roughly 90 percent of the second half.

Asked after the game if he had considered taking Azubuike off the floor so the Sooners (15-4 overall, 5-3 Big 12) could not employ their Hack-A-Dok strategy, Self said he preferred to see if his big man could step up.

“It was a bad decision,” Self said. “It was on me for this game. If I had it to do all over again, I may have done it differently. But I've never believed that you take out one of your best players because you show him you don't have confidence in him. So I kept him in there.”

And the Sooners kept fouling.

The first call for the strategy made popular in the NBA with notoriously poor free-throw shooters such as Shaquille O'Neal, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan, actually came with around five minutes to play, when OU coach Lon Kruger yelled out to forward Jamuni McNeace to start hacking Azubuike with three minutes to play.

But the Sooners struck a little early. And McNeace had nothing to do with it.

The first premeditated foul on Azubuike came at the 3:37 mark with KU (16-4, 6-2) leading 78-76. Azubuike missed the front end of a one-and-one.

After OU trimmed the KU lead to 78-77, Azubuike was fouled again at the 3:11 mark. Again, he missed the front end.

Despite two gift possessions, the Sooners struggled to take immediate advantage and were forced to foul Azubuike again with 2:53 to play and KU still leading by one. Being the 10th team foul on OU, Azubuike got two shots on this trip, but that did nothing to change the outcome. Clang. Clang.

Finally, with 1:56 to play and KU leading by one — 80-79 after a Lagerald Vick put-back — Azubuike missed two more, paving the way for the Sooners to close the game on an 11-2 run.

“Lon, give him credit,” Self said of his Oklahoma counterpart. “That was a great strategy, to do that with Udoka. (Former Texas A & M coach) Billy Gillispie did that to me with Sasha Kaun once and I was so pissed at him after the game. I'm going, 'You stress defense, you believe in your defense and you just told your guys you didn't think they could guard us.' Of course, my guy missed both free throws and they won the game, so, obviously, it was a good decision then and it was a good decision this time.”

Related document

Box score: Oklahoma 85, Kansas 80 ( .PDF )

Get this. One of the loudest ovations of the night came when OU forward Matt Freeman left the game with 1:56 to play after fouling out in 2 minutes. All four of Azubuike’s trips to the line late were due to the artful work of Freeman.

Self likened Azubuike's rough day at the line to the highly publicized “yips” suffered by former Major League Baseball pitcher Rick Ankiel, who one day was one of the top young pitchers in the game and the next could not even get the ball over the plate.

That was hardly the case with Azubuike's misfires.

“His misses tonight looked a lot better than his misses a lot of times," said Self, matter-of-factly. "So you can chalk one up there. Better misses.”

“I just hope I didn't put him in a situation (like Ankiel),” Self added. “You know, it was obviously the wrong thing to do to win this game. But hopefully it doesn't hurt him moving forward.”

Asked if he checked with Azubuike at any point during the nightmarish, one-minute-and-41-second stretch late in Tuesday's game, Self said simply, “I asked him if he wanted to be in and he said, 'Oh yeah.'

“I really thought he'd make them,” Self added. “I didn't think he'd make every one, I thought he'd make 50 percent.”

Had he, the outcome of this one might have been different. Instead, Azubuike's free-throw shooting woes likely will forever overshadow what was otherwise a terrific basketball game between two teams who have spent time ranked in the top five nationally and are both vying for a Big 12 title in a conference race that suddenly is a little bit closer.

Instead of leaving Norman with a three-game lead on the Sooners and a two-game cushion over the rest of the challengers, the Jayhawks' lead in their quest for a 14th consecutive Big 12 regular season title now is down to a single game over four teams now tied for second place — Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

The overall vibe coming from the KU locker room — even though the Jayhawks admitted that they felt they let this one get away — was still one of a positive nature. Sure, they were devastated by the tough defeat. No one more so than Azubuike, whom Self said was visibly shaken in the locker room after the game.

But the Jayhawks still are on top all alone in arguably the toughest conference in America. And on Tuesday, they had spurts where they played some of their best basketball of the season, storming back from a 10-point first-half deficit to trail by just two at the break and build a 10-point, second-half lead of their own.

Svi Mykhailiuk led Kansas with 24 points (on 6-of-13 shooting from 3-point range), Malik Newman added 20 points, 15 in the first half, and Devonte' Graham, despite a rough shooting night (4 of 19) flirted with a triple-double (11 points, nine assists and seven rebounds) while doing all he could to contain OU star Young, who finished with 26 points, nine assists, four rebounds and five turnovers.

“To be down two when Dok plays four minutes the first half, we couldn't have done any better,” said Self of Azubuike, who was scoreless in the first half and then scored eight consecutive points early in the second half to help give Kansas control. “To have a chance to win when your leading scorer goes 4 of 19, that means we played pretty well. So we did some good things, but, obviously, we didn't do enough. We didn't get some key stops late.”

As for his final words to Azubuike before leaving the arena, Self's message was simple.

“You're going to be in this situation again,” he told him. “Work on them. Let's work on them. Let's figure it out.”


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Oklahoma


By the Numbers: Oklahoma 85, Kansas 80.

By the Numbers: Oklahoma 85, Kansas 80.

Comments

Bryce Landon

No one has been as hard on Bill Self as I have the last few years - often deservedly so - and tonight he deserves the full vent of all Jayhawk fans' wrath. He single-handedly lost this game for us by not taking Udoka out of the game when it became clear what Lon Kruger was trying to do. What the hell was he trying to prove by leaving him in there? The guys in blue played an overall tough game, but Self screwed his team over big time.

I didn't expect KU to win, but I also didn't expect KU to lose this way - tantalizing us fans with hopes of a big road win with a 10-point second-half lead only for Udoka to do Udoka things at the FT line and Self sit by slack-jawed and not intervene to prevent it. I could have lived with a loss if we had trailed wire to wire; but to lose this way leaves me feeling like I've been kicked in the junk.

Thank you, Coach Self. Thank you very little. >:(

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

Bill Self has been out of the Top 25 in the AP poll exactly 1 week in all of the time he has been here. As a reminder this is his 15th year with the team. He does things now to bring out the best long term. Remember when teams were zoning the three and we had two loses. Now a team has found a hack advantage and will use that not to happen in the future. He sometimes lets his good players work through issues, to make them stronger in the future. Measuring the success of his teams over the years it typically has worked for our team.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

Jeff, meet Bryce.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Roger Tobias

Oklahoma is the worst team in the league. . .except for Trae Young. They can't handle his passes, and look very ordinary. Which makes this loss all the worse. I guess when you have at least a two-game lead on the rest of the league you are tempted to take chances, and can "afford" to lose. Except that we still have 5 road games and some tough home games, and may very easily be in 6th place in 2 weeks.
Regarding Udoka and free throws, I only have two words: Rick Barry.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Len Shaffer

You said it, Roger. Dok even said he'd be willing to try shooting them underhanded. What does he have to lose at this point? It's hard to imagine that ANY other way of shooting could be as bad as what he's doing right now.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bob Zielinski

Wow. That's a pretty good league when Oklahoma is the worst team, right? Lattin and McGusty are not good? 40% from 3 is crap? 48% from the field and a solid rebounding team that has a pretty deep (although nameless and unimpressive bench in your estimation) is not something to fret over? Kruger is not a good coach? I mean it is understandable that you are upset about losing but to say OU is the worst team in the Big XII is just out of touch.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

I'm with Bob on this one. OU has 2 freshmen that constantly contribute. double digit avg on pts. Give OU credit. We attempted the most shots this season. But couldn't convert. Kruger runs high octane offense ala NBA. His team displayed good enough D to contain KU. I'm glad to see at least Svi shows up every game. He's been a stud. Newman has been great lately. Dok has been a beast. KU will win #14!! Rock Chalk!!!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Len Shaffer

"The first call for the strategy ... actually came WITH AROUND FIVE MINUTES TO PLAY, when OU coach Lon Kruger yelled out to forward Jamuni McNeace to start hacking Azubuike WITH THREE MINUTES TO PLAY."

Huh?????

As to the game itself, you're right, Bryce, Self totally deserves the blame for losing this one. At least he admitted it was the wrong decision. But I also have to ask what the hell Davonte was doing with a 1-point lead late in the game just dribbling at the top of the key like he was winding down the clock for a last-second shot, then hoisting up a contested 25-footer. It was an especially bizarre thing to do given how he'd been shooting all day. Why the hell didn't KU run an offense on that possession??? It was totally wasted, and could have been used to helped fend off OU since they weren't hacking Dok that time.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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John Myers

With five minutes to play, Lon said to McNeace "When there are three minutes left, start fouling."

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jesse Johnson

Exactly!!! That play even happened right after a timeout. Did HCBS not draw up a play for that possession? We needed to score, not run out the clock there!!!!! That is when we officially gave the game away (though Self should have taken Udoka out of the game after the first or second hack-a-dok foul).

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bob Zielinski

Hold on. Self gave his guy a chance to make some free throws. He showed confidence in him to get it done. We lost. It is okay. We played pretty good and unfortunately the old basketball wisdom that Self and a few of his mentors subscribe to came true, more basketball games are lost than won.

KU lost the game, OU did not beat us outright.

The situation with Dok comes down to three things:

1) He should work on his free throw shooting more. Probably would add up to at least three more points a game on average
2) His shot is so bad he actually should consider releasing underhanded
3) Whoever the coach is who lets him slide by with that free throw release in practice needs to re-examine how they can get Dok up to around 60% and just getting a better all around looking effort going

That is so unlike Self to let a fairly big detail like Dok's free throw shooting in practice slide by like that. I'm not going to fault Self. This team is playing pretty damn good for what we have been dealt this season. Short bench, lost Preston, limited big man rotation, lost some real studs, Big XII is tough as hell this season and we are still sitting atop the league standings with a great shot at 14 in a row.

This is going to be a great finish to the conference season. To get overly critical of Self is to be out of touch with reality. Chastise him if you want but appreciate what he is doing.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Bump!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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DiscGolfer Jason

Three hundred. Outside of team practice Dok needs to do this many everyday. All teams going forward if the games are close are going to do what Lon did to KU...foul Dok.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Armen Kurdian

Self made a mistake leaving him in, he knows it. The rest of the game the team fought hard, it's always tough to win on the road. But even I in my limited hoops IQ was screaming at the TV to get him off the floor. It happens.

He does have to work on his shot, but obviously something major needs to change, even I shoot better free throws than that, and I REALLY suck.

He probably started giving himself a mental block after missing a couple and stressing out at the line, so for him, I'd have probably just come up to him and smiled and said, "Hey dude, relax, you got this, you're OK," that might have done a lot more good.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

Wait. Did you just say it's ok to lose? - Did you really say that it's ok to lose? - holy crap I'm glad your not KU'S basketball Coach. I sure the hell hope your not a coach anywhere. - What kind of mentality is that? - Can't you just see this scenario, Coach Self pre game - now guys if we lose tonight it's ok - - WOW , and NO , KU did not lose this game tonight. - - BILL SELF lost this game tonight with his screwed up decision. -You don't think he is working on his free throws more? - you don't think he isn't spending extra time? - His technique is so jacked up -he can shoot all the extra free throws he wants - if he doesn't change that technique he is screwed. All that Bill did with his genius decision making was allow these other 4 teams K-State - - -Oklahoma - -WV - - & Texas Tech right back into this race. - - SVI - - Malik - - -Mitch -& even to some lesser degree - -Garret didn't deserve this outcome - -they busted their butts. - They didn't lose this game for us, Sure Devonte played a part with all the missed shots sure Vick vanished - -AGAIN - but this is all on Self. - - He asks Doke if he wanted to stay in? - -what the hell you think the kid is going to say? - oh no take me out Coach - you really believe that? - Umm who is the Coach - -Self - -or Doke? - -If your the Coach hell ya it's a hard decision BUT you say - -Doke your out, that's why your getting paid the big bucks. - your not the Coach to make friend be chummy with the players during a close important game -your Coaching to win no matter what. - -It's ok to lose? - - holy crap

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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John Swift

Self did the same thing to Kansas when he was at Illinois. Had 4 big guys with 20 fouls to give and Collison kept missing. Self won the game. Turnabout is fair play. We just need to pull it all together for the NCAA"s

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tony Bandle

Random Thoughts:

1] At least his lack of free throw prowess may keep Dok around for next season.

2] Why is everyone jumping just on Dok...Devonte had his occasional typical defeat resulting performance.

3] Hall of Fame coaches have bad days too..look at the recent team performances of Roy Williams and John Calipari.

4] If this loss sends a strong enough message to help Dok find a way to shoot at least 60% at the line and for the KU team not to rest on its laurels then the defeat was worth it.

5] The defeat narrowed our lead...it didn't eliminate us from title consideration.

6] Yes, our remaining schedule is tough...but so is everybody else because they all have to play us!!

7] The Big 12 is a true meat grinder this year and whichever team or teams come out of it with a title, will be battered, bloody and bruised.

8] If I told you on December first of last year that KU would never have one minute of Billy Preston on the court, that Dok would be one of the worst free throw shooters in America, that Garrett, Cunliffe, De Sousa and Lightfoot would contribute very little offense and KU would lose at least two games at home before the mid season point yet KU would be 16-4 with a 1 game lead in conference and ranked in the Top Ten, you'd probably take that, would you not!!!

9] One thing we can all agree on is losing a winnable game is the ultimate in "suck-a-bility"!

10] Saw the Shape of Water. If this is considered the best movie of the year then the "Emperor's Clothes" Theory is alive and well!!!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

To your 5th point - if we win the conference, it will be because of games like the one against WVU last Monday. If we don't win the conference, it will be because of missed opportunities like last night.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Doug Stahler

So what your saying is - If we win the B12 its because of the games we won, and if not its because of the games we lost. I can agree with that.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

In other news....grass is green, water wet.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Michael Sillman

When you are nursing a lead late in a tough conference road game every smart (and not so smart) coach brings in his five best ball handlers and free throw shooters. Self is a Hall of Fame coach so he knows better than to play amateur psychologist when the game is there for the taking.

I think that Self got caught in trying to show up Kruger for trying his NBA strategy. I’m happy that he came out and admitted making a mistake. Hopefully the result will keep him from doing it again since the chances of Azubuike improving his free throw shooting this season are almost zero.

On another note it appears that Cunliffe has made that one way trip into the Self doghouse, never to be seen again during the season.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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DiscGolfer Jason

If I were a transfer I'd do my homework about even thinking going to play at KU. Transfers get screwed in playing time. Sam will probably leave. I wonder what the Lawson boys, Moore are thinking right now?

Self needs all the scoring he can get. Sam could provide some because right now Vick is hardly producing.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

@DiscGolfer..the Lawson twins are thinking "cant wait to play next season"..Cunliffe doesnt play because his defense sucks..you dont play on a Self team unless you can play some kind of D or have a dead eye shot to compensate..Sam has neither...Dedric Lawson will start next season..even KJ might start...Dotson might have the hype, but that doesnt mean he will start..Id rather give the experienced Moore the job and see if he can keep it...

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

I agree with DiscGolfer. I would remember Coleby, Mickelson, and now Cunliffe.

Cunliffe is basically screwed. He will lose a year of eligibility if he transfers and most likely will sit on the bench if he stays at Kansas. With next year's recruits coming in and Charlie Moore, he will probably slide down further on the bench.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

No offense, but this is nonsense. You really think you, discgolfer Jason, know who should be getting minutes better than the staff? Really?

No one is promised minutes at Kansas. My guess is Sam will eventually contribute, but he looks completely lost and Self doesn't play guys who don't give full effort on defense. "Transfers get screwed in playing time". LOL. Not if they can ball, they don't.

But hey, Sam may leave. So may others...it happens. Next year's team will be filled with more talent than any team we've had in a decade, so minutes will be even harder to come by for guys, especially tweeners. But no, not the Lawsons. I'm guessing you haven't seen them play. What are they thinking? About getting a couple rings next year, probably....

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

EXACTLY. Coach Self has obviously turned his back on Sam. - don't know what has happened. Otherwise I don't get it , why don't you pull Doke and insert Cunliffe ? - I possibly can understand not replacing him with Garrett cause his free throw shooting isn't much better but not to replace him with Sam? - go with 5 smalls, sure on the defensive end your giving up height probably easier chances for OU but I'll tell you this - they sure the hell won't be hackin every time down the floor on KU'S end. - you don't want to replace him with Sam? - then why can't you put Mitch back in - his free throw shooting a lot better this year - -a hell of a lot better then Doke - plus you got better height, but to just ignore what's going on - I mean the 1st time ya ok - -the 2nd time? - -MAYBE but after that - come on man you really cost this team tonight Coach - -bonehead move

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

@Michael Sillman...I highly doubt that Self is concerned about showing up anyone..especially not a coach like Kruger. Maybe he was just trying to show some confidence in Azibuike...the kid cant learn to make clutch FT if he doesnt get the chance...

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

The miracles never cease...Self actually admits to making a mistake? :O

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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DiscGolfer Jason

Self is also making a mistake by benching Sam. And when the time comes that Self needs him how much of a difference will he make? But boy oh boy, he's the most athletic player to ride the bench.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

Sam doesnt play defense...why do you think Garrett sees more minutes? cause he plays D and rebounds..why do you think Self hasnt benched Vick for his poor play like he did Newman? because Vick plays D and rebounds..doesnt matter how athletic he is if he doesnt defend and turns the ball over when he does play

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Chandler Accipiter

And let's not forget the three empty offensive possessions (two turnovers and a foul) and two bad defensive ones (out rebounded and a foul) in the first half when Silvio entered the game.

With Dok's free throw troubles, why take him out with two fouls in the first half? See the results above. Let him do his work early and throw the foul count out the window. Build up the lead, let him foul out, and keep him off the floor in crunch time.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Most players use non-con play to get their legs under them. Silvio didn't have that luxury because he graduated early and became eligible in January in the heat of Big 12 play. So if he looks lost, it's because he's been thrown to the wolves.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryan Schmiedeler

Everyone has known that Dok's free throw shooting form is atrocious, so why haven't the coaches told him to change it? I don't think anyone could shoot free throws well with such poor form. I am more frustrated that this wasn't corrected months ago than with Self's decision to keep him in the game late (although I think that was a mistake too).

If his form were good and he has been practicing free throws and still missing them, then I guess you could say the coaches have done all they could. But why in the world have they not insisted he shoot with a better form? Am I missing something?

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jesse Johnson

Exactly! They've had almost 2 years with this kid, the least they could do is correct his free throw shooting mechanics. What they heck are they even doing with these kids in practice?!!!!!!!!!!!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rich Bradley


10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jeff Foster

Even legends make mistakes.

Consider this, you can say KU lost the game in the final 3 minutes at the free throw line, but our Offense didn't do KU any favors offensively. Graham is great and dogged Young all night and I think that wore him down offensively. You can look at Young as getting his teammates more involved or you can look at Graham's 'D' as not allowing him to get the ball in a good shooting position/location. Vick has just been a ghost since Big12 play started and has switched rolls with Newman (who's been great the past week or so) which puts more pressure on Svi, Dok and Graham as the only offensive threats. But in the second half, Newman only had 5, Vick 4 (I think), Svi maybe 6 or 8 and Graham maybe 4. IF KU hits two of those open 3's and Dok makes just 3 of his free throws, I think KU wins by the 5 they lost. Could have really put the pressure on the other teams to catch KU for the title, but now, it's still wide open. KSU next Monday looms LARGE and we still have tough home games vs. OU, WVU & now TX, and on the road at Tech. Nothing's a gimme, never a dull moment!

Rock Chalk to 14!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

Vick has vanished..but I think because teams are guarding his 3 point shot a lot better..Vick has improved, but his ball handling is still lacking..several times last night it look like he was about to lose the ball. Kinda hard to drive to the basket if you cant control the dribble. Lightfoot gave us a huge boost but Garrett doesnt give us anything on offense outside of an occasional layup...until he can show he can make the outside shot, or jump shot period, teams will sag WAY off him

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Kent Richardson

Was this loss necessary?

Was throwing Udoka under the bus necessary?

Was there an alternative player who had been effective in the game available?

What does the deliberate decision to get Udoka to man up by taking a loss show us about coach?

Is there a lot of fallout still to come?


10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dyrk Dugan

Larry Bird had a very simple, but effective approach at the FT line: a couple of dribbles, ball right next to him, favoring the right hand; a slight knee bend and the shot. I would get the video of Larry; get him in the gym and start shooting, over and over. Can’t change his form now? He HAS to change his form; because he can’t sink the shots. If he was making 55 plus %, then yes, it could be tweaked. He just missed six straight at crunch time; change the approach!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Johnson

The loss is not a big deal, the effect this has on Dok may be a much bigger issue down the stretch. De Sousa is flat out not ready for any minutes or quite frankly should be a Junior college player. He may be the worst player I have seen in a Jayhawks uniform. He is scared to death out there
To win the Big 12, we need Vick to get out of his funk and Graham to make his shots.
I have to say the worst player on the court was Bill Self. He probably had the worst game in years.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Grady Millikan

Dude, De Sousa should still be in high school right now. Chill out. He's literally going from playing against boys to men in less than a month.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

LOL, Did you get bumped on the head? - -Are you smoking meth? -Silvio De Sosua the worst player EVER in a Jayhawk uniform? -You do realize that this kid is still suppose to be in high school right now? - Like has been stated earlier he has been thrown to the wolves out of necessity , a Juco Player? - Good GOD Man this kid just got to campus a little over what? - a month ago - -then had to sit for almost two weeks for clearance? - no time really to get adjusted to the College game and then tossed out and you think you have to declare him as the worst player ever to put on a Jayhawk uniform? - do you think before you spew word out onto your keyboard? Mercy. - Plus I can't see where people get off saying it's ok to lose - -a loss is no big deal - dam it's a good thing that the players and Coaches don't have that kind of approach

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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David McNickle

I knew Silvio coming in at semester would give everyone false expectations. Lay off the kid. Should still be in HS, didn't have the offseason two a days to learn, was probably posting up under 6'6" kids in November and December. This is great for KU and DeSousa because he will be that far ahead next November. Accept this season for what it is.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jack Beckett

It's time that the Ref's started calling intentional fouls. Azubuike was fouled when he didn't even have the ball. This was an intentional attempt to stop the play. Yes, Azubuike needs to improve his foul shooting.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Darrel Stice

Totally agree. I hate that rule. A play wasn't made on the ball, and it was not a basketball move. Intentional foul in my book. Two shots and the ball. That said, I'd employ that strategy if it would help my team win. The rule needs to change in my opinion.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

100% agree..the difference between getting a Tech or a regular foul on hard fouls is "what is a basketball move"..Azibuike was way out by the 3 pt line when he got fouled and wasnt even in the play..should have been a technical on those..

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Edward Daub

Fran Fraschilla has been screaming in his microphone all year "Foul the Big Guy" late in Games!

Hmmm! Fran's Son played for the Sooners. Fran's Son was elbowed in the Face by a KU Player (I don't remember by who or whether it was called flagrant).

Don't be Surprised if Fran suggested the strategy to Kruger. If he did , I put Fran Fraschilla on my "Fettucine" List!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Grady Millikan

Kruger's a smart guy. Other teams in close games have just had the defensive prowess to be able to get stops against us. OU doesn't, thus he want to the next most logical option. Fran is not saying anything on television that all other conference coaches don't already know.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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DiscGolfer Jason

And when it comes to NCAAT those coaches are going to attempt to use the same strategy.

It'll be known as the "Lon Kruger Effect". We're in trouble.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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James Donnell

Last part of the game reminded me of that joke about the definition of insanity...how in the world could that happen? Everyone watching had to be yelling to take Dok out. Figure his free throw problems out later. Don't leave him in to practice. Three consecutive trips down the floor without a FG attempt and not a point scored. Unconscionable at the end of a close game. Granted, Devonte took some questionable shots on an off shooting night for him, but we could have easily won by 10. Hope this one game doesn't come back to bite us.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Joe Baker

Ok, ok, I get it, Self is trying to promote his silly philosophy or coaching psychology. I don't doubt the thinking by helping Doke.

I don't fault Kruger resorting to a really desperate type of play to win, but a win is a win. If that's all you have is to hack and foul to win, then win. I don't fault Kruger as much and he obviously realized that's all he had to win this game. It was his ACE move, which is not saying much for your team's ability.

My concern is this one game may bite Self on the backside. I will be even more pissed if we lose the title by one game. This one game could determine KU's season. I will be especially pissed if Doke fails to improve. He must use this as motivation.

I can't believe a HOF coach like Self admitted his 'fault' and coaching mistake and even admitted to learning from Billy Gillespie's strategy on Kaun, but left Doke in there to basically blow the game. You don't coach to one player and lose a game the team played hard to win. He penalized the good play of the team for Doke's poor FTs. He knew to bring in Lightfoot. He plays Lightfoot for offense/FTs, and then puts Doke in for some rebounding, but not win a game that is so close. He saw Kruger's stragegy and left Doke in the game. A HOF coach? Not smart at all. Lololol....He tells Doke, "You'll see this again, you need to work on it..."? WTH? You're just now telling him this? GEESH

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Matthew Gaylor

"I don't fault Kruger resorting to a really desperate type of play to win, but a win is a win. If that's all you have is to hack and foul to win, then win. I don't fault Kruger as much and he obviously realized that's all he had to win this game. It was his ACE move, which is not saying much for your team's ability."

I assume you think the same way for KU's 2008 national title right? Bill Self told his players to intentionally foul starting 2:25. 1st free throws were at 2:15 in that game. KU put on a press but fouled almost every play after that and let Memphis miss their free throws. Self "clearly didn't have much for his team's ability" and Memphis "clearly lost that game rather than KU winning it"

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jesse Johnson

KU did not foul every possession during that stretch. I remember that Memphis went 1-4 on two trips to the line, so it wasn't every possession. We just played great defense and fouled when necessary to prevent easy baskets and it paid off.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Matthew Gaylor

KU fouled at 2:25, 2:15 (free throws 2-2), 1:39 (free throws 2-2), 1:15 (free throws 0-1), :16 (free throws 0-2), :10 (free throws, 1-2). That's 5-7, not 1-4.

So from 2:25 on, Memphis had 8 possessions, and only 2 of them did KU play defense, the first one was a full court press that they got a steal on the inbounds, the 2nd one, was when the game was a 2 point game with under 40 seconds left.

So no, KU didn't play great defense. They starting fouling full court with 2:25 to go, let Memphis miss their free throws, and continued until they got back in the game, like OU did last night. Once OU took the lead, they didn't foul anyone

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

@Matt..KU was also down by 9 at that point and were trying to stretch the game..OU was down by 2..IF KU played D on 2 possessions against Memphis like you said, then thats 2 more than OU had the balls to do

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

Apples and oranges. Every team fouls at a certain point. 99% of the time they foul the person with the ball, which is what KU did against Memphis.

Fouling the same person over and over even when they don't have the ball is a different strategy and rarely used for a lot of reasons.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Matthew Gaylor

The original point was fouling that early showed they were desperate. Obviously, every team can become desperate, including KU.

FWIW: Give OU credit for not making it obvious and against the rules. Instead, they fouled fighting for position down low. If OU was dumb, they would have jumped on Udoka's back or something and got called for an intentional foul.

We can complain all day about them fouling him, but every team does similar tactics. We got beat due to a poor coaching decision, let's hope it doesn't come back to bite.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

It's a big difference to start fouling indiscriminately than to single out a player because of his free-throw woes.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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James Mathews

It’s not about you people deal with. They lost a game, dok needs to perfect this free throw game. Underhand, whatever if takes. If he scored they would have stopped fouling.
It happens.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Nick Kramer

Right-handed shooters should not release the ball from the left side of their body. It appears Dok is receiving no coaching at all. Lightfoot should be playing the minutes in the one-and-one foul stretch. On the positive side, we're seeing a much-anticipated, much-improved Malik Newman, and better attention to rebound positioning from everyone than earlier in the season. We'll need it against a surging KSU.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Darrel Stice

When I've coached beginning players, I would have them lay on their back on the floor and make them practice their stroke with the ball in their shooting hand and their off hand at their side. They'd have to do hundreds of them. It really helped with their form and to develop muscle memory. Perhaps Dok needs to start from the beginning with his stroke. Of course, if I had all the right answers, I'd be making millions coaching. :)

That said, I trust Coach Self and I think we are going to get number 14!

Rock Chalk!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

It also didnt help that OU had a guy who shoots 53% from the foul line and that bastard made ALL of his FT's..he had to choose THIS game to shoot above his %!!!!!...This didnt feel like OU won the game, more like they stole it...Does Kruger has that little faith in his teams ability to get stops of defense that he has to resort to cowardly tactics????..guess KU will have to make sure they have such a huge lead in the rematch that OU wouldnt need to foul anyone

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Matthew Gaylor

I assume you feel the same way about KU's 2008 national title and the cowardly tactic employed by Bill Self to intentionally foul Memphis with 2:25 to go in the game right?

Reality is, the tactic has been used by multiple coaches to win a game, including Bill Self and KU, which ultimately is the reason why KU has won a national title. The counter is to take out crappy FT shooters, rather than leaving them in.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

KU was also down by 9 and had played like crap all game..OU was down by 2 WITH momentum...you TRYING to compare those 2 situations is laughably inaccurate

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Freddie Garza

I bet you I could turn Dok into a 60% free throw shooter AT LEAST.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

I'm still wondering why no coach on our team has changed Dok's FT mechanics. It's still the same and as terrible as it always has been. Heck, I think last game he banked one or two in off the glass. Its just atrocious and yet it seems like our coach's are doing nothing to help him. He needs help, can't we give it to him?

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

Man, KU has some whiny fans. Some of you (and you know who you are) sound like THE KU BASKETBALL TEAM AND COACH PERSONALLY OFFENDED YOU somehow. LOL.

How many had this one circled as a loss before the start of conference play? I know I did.

You're gonna lose some games. Coach Self screwed up and he admitted it, just like he usually does.

The sky is not falling, Chicken Littles.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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DiscGolfer Jason

Did you have TT, ASU and Washington circled on your list as well? I know I didn't.

Coach is also screwing up by not playing Sam but he won't admit that will he?

Chicken Littles? Good one Scott....er.....Tom.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

You believe he's screwing up by not playing Sam. Cool. I'm guessing he probably is just a touch better at assessing his players' strengths, weaknesses and overall effectiveness than you are.

This is not 2001-02 Kansas that's going to roll through conference undefeated. Losses are going to happen, especially on the road to good teams.

But by all means...continue freaking out. It's entertaining, if nothing else.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Allin Herring

I agree with you loses are going to happen but they should not happen when your players played good enough to stay up with the other team and they have their coach make a stupid idiot decision to keep Dok in the game only to lose a winnable game. If Bill keeps making those kind of decisions then the sky is falling little miss goodie two shoes!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

Relax and breathe. His comments clearly illustrate he thought he cost the team the game. No one's arguing with him.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rob Byrd

Hey Bryce, while I totally agree that we lost this game due to HCBS leaving Dok in at the end, But you're the one that is always saying you would trade all of the Big 12 Conference championships for a national championship. If Azabuike can't hit a free throw under pressure, he needs to be put in games under pressure and let him learn to hit free throws because hes gonna have to hit pressure free throws in the big dance for us to go anywhere. Big 12 Conference championships mean nothing anyway remember?,

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Eric TheCapn

Everyone keeps saying we need Dok to hit free throws under pressure. WE DO NOT! I was as wary of Lightfoot as anyone earlier this season, but Self should sub in Lightfoot when the same situation arrives come tourney time. There is often opportunity to sub offense-defense as well, and even when you can't, Lightfoot is a better defender, which kind of matters in crunch time....

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Allin Herring

I could maybe agree with you Rob if Dok had anything close to a proper form to shoot Free throws but he doesn't. An important Big 12 game is not the time for Dok to learn pressure and how to shoot frees. That is what practice and coaches are for!. It is apparent the coaches as missing the point if they are letting Dok enter a game with that twisted wrist free throw. But then Bill missed the entire last three minutes of the game by not taking Dok out.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Three things:

(1) I hate Oklahoma, and I hate losing to them.

(2) I hate losing to any team that we had a double-digit lead on.

(3) I would trade our Big 12 titles for a national title; but since we aren't Final Four material this year, and since we have a chance to supplant UCLA for most league titles in a row, we may as well take what we can get.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jeff Lisco

Wow, a Big 12 road game in January is going to decide the season???Give me a break.
If we lose the conf. title by one game, then I would be looking at the home losses, not a road loss to a top 10 team.
I get what HCBS did, he decided to stand behind his big man, without whom, we have zero shot at #14. If this was a tourny game, then I agree it was a horrible decision.
Dok was not the only player missing shots the last 3-4 minutes. The bigger disappointment to me was Dok's foul 15 seconds into the game and his horrible FT shooting. All that time he was out with the left wrist injury, he couldn't be practicing either one handed or with the splint on?
I think it is safe to say that HCBS will be learning from this one. He is still a HOF coach and no, as a surprise to some of the folks on here, he is not perfect.

Rock Chalk

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Eric TheCapn

WHY ARE WE NOT CALLING IT "POKE-A-DOK"?
Come on, man! The only positive thing we can take from last night is coining a sweet rhyme.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Ryan Shelton

“It was a bad decision,” Self said. “It was on me for this game. If I had it to do all over again, I may have done it differently. But I've never believed that you take out one of your best players because you show him you don't have confidence in him. So I kept him in there.”

I appreciate Coach Self admitting wrong, but this statement gave me pause to consider the following:

1. Coach Self is one of the quickest coaches to give the hook to a player who makes a turnover. DeSousa was a great example. When he came in the first half and about peed himself, Self gave him a quick boot (and deservedly so--DeSousa was in over his head.) I don't recall seeing him the rest of the game.

2. If we hang on Coach Self's words "best players" does that mean that he doesn't like to show confidence to the players who aren't his best? Furthermore, Dok isn't his "best" free throw shooter.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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DiscGolfer Jason

He's not showing any confidence in Cunliffe. I feel for the kid.

I like your points Ryan. Spot on.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rob Byrd

Actually Eric, I do agree with you as far as substituting offense for defense but I was just trying to remind Bryce of what he always tells us. :-)

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Yolanda Gay

Yes, Doke's missed free throws hurt us; but it should have never gotten to that. We had a nine point lead. Why can't this team step on other team's throats when they have them down.

I also agree about Sam. Vick is playing the part of the invisible man. Why not let him play the part on the bench. Cuncliffe needs some of those minutes. We aren't getting any production out of that position as it is. It can't hurt!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tom Jones

It absolutely can hurt and cost games we can't afford to lose in such a tight race if guys (like Sam and Silvio) are playing major minutes and don't know what they're doing. They're both good basketball players and they'll both contribute. Clearly they're not ready yet or they'd be playing more.

This isn't rocket surgery.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Harlan Hobbs

This is why I admire Coach Self so much. He is a "stand-up" guy who never shirks responsibility. That is not to say that the loss is "on him." It's a team game, and a lot of factors go into the outcome.

When OU started fouling Udoka, KU was just getting into the bonus. KU held onto the lead into the period when they were in the double bonus. Therefore, Udoka had several opportunities at two free throws per try.

Had Udoka made a couple of his free throws, then KU likely would likely have held the lead into the final minute of so, at which time, he could have been removed from the game, and OU would have had to foul to see if KU could win the game from the foul line. Only, at that point, they probably would have been sending either Devonte or Malik to the foul line.

All that being said, I don't blame Udoka either. He gave it his best, and he obviously feels terrible. You could see it in his face and gestures on the bench in the final seconds of the game.

In short, Coach Self had a dilemma that none of us would relish. Does he sacrifice defense and take Udoka out, or does he let Udoka have a shot at getting the job done at the line.

I say, let's use this as an opportunity to rally around Udoka and the team. They still lead the conference, and there is a lot of season left. Yes, KU could have gone a long way toward rapping up the conference race with a win last night, but it didn't happen.

I am confident that the team and coaches will exhibit their typical determination and mental toughness for the rest of the season.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Patrick Bryant

Oh, Lonnie boy sold his basketball soul last night. Can you imagine calling your parents after the game and saying "hey did you see me tonight, my coach only used me to foul out". Play basketball and win with dignity. This is why they put in the shot clock to get rid of something that wasn't a positive part of basketball - stalling. It wasn't a strategy it was a cop-out.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jesse Johnson

I'm going to have to agree. I've never liked the idea of using fouls as a strategy. Fouls are supposed to be penalties, nothing more.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Allin Herring

A Coach is there to direct his team to WIN the game. Kruger did that last night, Self was asleep at the wheel and we LOST the game period!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Kit Duncan

1. Bill Self owned up for the loss.
2. He didn’t leave Udoka in the game to teach him a life lesson, he left him in because Dok and Devonte’s combined defense was stopping Trae Young from penetrating to the basket or from pulling up and chucking it from beyond NBA 3 pt range. Young was having to dribble around the two KU defenders before he could even spy a teammate to throw the ball to. Mitch couldn’t provide the tall /wide wall in Young’s path that Azubuike could.
3. Udoka was quite active, both on offense and defense. His first free throw of the night was shot with good form and “swished” the net. After that his form broke down, likely due to a number of reasons, tiredness, hostile environment, lack of concentration, overthinking. Making free throws in the practice gym is a far cry from making them when the game is on the line... or a National Championship. Ask Nick Collison, who was an outstanding free throw shooter, why he choked against Syracuse. (I don’t blame him for the loss-it was a team effort as was last night’s game.)

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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David Pointer

I thought we would lose last night before the game started, but the way we lost was gut wrenching, especially in a game that we could have won and gotten a comfortable lead in the conference race. My biggest concern though is that Dok's confidence is now completely shot and it is going to affect other parts of his game, he may be a broken player now. Self's apparent strategy of sacrificing one game for the rest of the season may be completely flawed.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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W Keith Swinehart II

KU will be fine.
Svi is a dependable powerhouse. Newman and Lightfoot coming on. Silvia learning, and will become a presence. Graham had an off-day shooting the ball. Udoka will recover and be better for the experience. Lon's strategy was smart, but will never work again against KU.
KU beats OU in Lawrence.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bill Lamson

What worries more about this one game is that it sounds like HCBS is just going to let Dok keep going with his terrible form since apparently he thinks it would do more harm that good to try to change it in the middle of the season. This is where I can't stand how stubborn he is. Dok doesn't have any form!! There are so many things wrong with it I don't know where to start and it literally can't get any worse. I'm no Rick Barry but I've coached enough to know that his form is completely broken start to finish and the longer you put off trying to fix it, the worse it's going to get and the harder it will be to fix it. I've seen kids with bad form that never got fixed when they were young and it just doesn't correct itself over time, it gets worse with every shot they take and sets in like concrete. And you don't have to worry about messing up his jump shot, because he doesn't have one. Literally all of his baskets are dunks, baby hooks or tip-ins from inside of 3 feet.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Richard Holmes

Biggest coaching blunder EVER.
But I wonder how this will impact the team going forward when they bust their butts and over achieve and their coach sells then out; not to mention the impact on Dok.
KU had this game won and Self gave it away.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Kent Richardson

Finally someone said it. Self told the team all your play was not really appreciated. Maybe that explains DeVonte's half assed effort on the long three. Dok had already butchered 4 and he knew Self wasn't going to take him out. The close games we have eeked out because we stick together until the end? The leading record in the conference? All that has been negatively impacted because it didn't matter to Self more than telling Dok to man up. You play to win, not to get yourself into a place at the end of the game where you can display tough love.

Bad choice by Bill that will require the players who were disrespected to rectify or gutsy brilliant call that will get us to the promised land?

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jimmy Putnam

Dan Dakich called KU fans a bunch of whiners. Some of you are proving him right. Show some class, people.

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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Kit Duncan

Hear, hear, Jimmy!

10 months, 3 weeks ago

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