No. 5 Kansas coughs up 24 turnovers in 77-60 thumping at Iowa State

Kansas players watch from the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, in Ames, Iowa.

Ames, Iowa — With a grin hardly befitting the two hours of torture he had just endured, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self stepped to the podium inside the Hilton Coliseum media room on Saturday evening after No. 5 KU’s 77-60 thumping at the hands of Iowa State and asked a simple question.

“How was you guys’ day?” the KU coach asked rhetorically after watching his team struggle through 40 face-melting minutes of whoa-that-looks-hard basketball.

Neither an answer, nor a return of the same question to Self were needed. The stat sheet said it all.

Thanks to a season-high 24 turnovers and a second half that saw Kansas overmatched, outmanned and run over, the Jayhawks suffered their worst defeat since last season’s 18-point loss at Oklahoma State in the regular season finale and limped out of Hilton with more questions than answers.

Where was the leadership? Where was the poise? Where was the fire?

After an up-and-down, track meet type of affair, all kinds of mistakes and few highlights for either side, Iowa State’s 13-5 run to close the first half gave the home team a 4-point halftime lead and, worse than that, set the stage for a second half that Self and the Jayhawks would just as soon forget.

“They manhandled us,” Self said after the loss, which came without junior center Udoka Azubuike, who sat out after injuring his wrist during Friday’s practice. “... When it got unraveled in the second half, I thought we lost all composure and didn’t compete as hard.”

For a decent chunk of Saturday’s first half, those things that Self and his team questioned after the game were there, and the scoreboard reflected that.

Despite an awful start that featured five turnovers in the Jayhawks’ first eight or nine possessions — three from senior guard Lagerald Vick alone — KU led for 5:55 of the first half, while the Cyclones led for 7:44 and the teams were tied for 6:21.

Even while playing poorly in terms of execution, the Jayhawks (12-2 overall, 1-1 Big 12) at least played hard in terms of effort.

“Our effort wasn’t bad the first half,” Self conceded.

That was about as close as it got to the Kansas coach praising his team, though. And, along those same lines, neither of the two Kansas players made available to the media after a lengthy postgame meeting in the locker room were celebrating any part of Saturday’s effort either.

“Today, we came out and played careless,” junior forward Dedric Lawson. “And that was all it took.”

By game’s end, ISU’s total time with the lead had ballooned to 27:44 and the Cyclones’ strong second half, combined with the Jayhawks’ continued struggles, created a mismatch that looked to the eye, in real time, to be much worse than the 41-28 second-half edge ISU (12-2, 2-0) threw up on the scoreboard.

“The law of percentages won out,” Self said, describing the second half. “We continued to play at the same rate and they just elevated theirs.”

And KU’s turnovers just kept coming at an alarming rate.

The Jayhawks turned it over a season-high 14 times in that dreadful first half, giving ISU 11 points off of turnovers to build its lead.

For perspective, the Jayhawks entered Saturday having turned it over 14 times or fewer in nine of the season’s first 13 games.

Related document

Box score: Iowa State 77, Kansas 60 ( .PDF )

Beyond that, Saturday’s game total of 24 was five shy of KU’s all-time record for turnovers in a single game (29), which came against Colorado in 1992, four seasons after the statistic began being officially tracked.

During a stretch in which the turnover-happy Jayhawks actually calmed down enough to get the ball to Lawson (13 points, 12 rebounds on 5-of-11 shooting in 32 minutes) for four consecutive possessions, Kansas found the game was still within reach, at 47-42, after a soft hook and free throw by Lawson with 14:07 to play.

But that was as close as the Jayhawks would get again.

Instead of watching his team find a way to fight back, Self watched Iowa State close the game on a 30-18 run, with six of the Cyclones’ 13 3-pointers on the afternoon coming during that stretch.

The two biggest blows came 36 seconds apart, when ISU freshman Tyrese Haliburton (14 points, 4-of-5 3-point shooting) and sophomore Lindell Wigginton drained back-to-back 3-pointers that pushed the Iowa State lead from 7 to 13 and inspired Self to call a timeout to stop the bleeding.

KU freshman Quentin Grimes, who led the Jayhawks with 19 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor (7 of 14) and 50 percent shooting from 3-point range (3 of 6), said he thought the Jayhawks “were just trying to play a little too fast.”

That led to doom and gloom for three of KU’s four leading scorers who played in this one, as Vick (7), Lawson (6) and point guard Devon Dotson (5) combined for of 18 of KU’s 24 turnovers, which inspired Self to say his team played “very, very, very immature today.”

“I don’t know if you guys noticed,” Self said. “But we really struggled with passing and dribbling and shooting.”

As for Grimes’ individual performance, Self was hardly ready to hit Twitter to brag about Grimes’ production, given the end result.

“Guys, let’s get not carried away here,” Self said. “Every team that lost today had a leading scorer. Even though I’m happy that he saw the ball go in the hole, I’m not leaving out of here thinking, ‘Whoa, (he’s) turning the corner.’ Bad teams have leading scorers, and today we were a bad team. There was nothing about his performance that would (make me) say, ‘Yes!’ Because I don’t feel that about anybody right now.”

Comments

Steve Zimmerman

_“I don’t know if you guys noticed,” Self said. “But we really struggled with passing and dribbling and shooting.”_

Errr.. it's been like that ever since.. the start of the season?

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

And who hasn't done his job in making his team better at those things? Bill Self.

And who didn't do his job to prepare his team for today's game? Bill Self.

Come on, Coach, quit throwing your team under the bus and take some of the responsibility for this debacle on your own shoulders where it belongs!

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brad Avery

Self is just telling the truth. And it wasn't just passing and shooting. I could not handle watching the second half, but first half backside defensive rotation was nonexistent, free throw shooting was mediocre and the team as a whole got sped up. However, I don't think coach devotes his practice time to teaching his team how to turn over the ball and clang their shots. With the degree of inexperience on this team, it's going to happen. So calm down. This is not the only time we have lost to Iowa State in either Ames or Lawrence and improvement is possible. We've only played two league games.

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Eric TheCapn

Bryce, he said "we."

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

I wouldn't place too much emphasis on what is said in a press conference. Bill has also given measured responses after games. What he says in the locker room and what he says to the press are two entirely different things.

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

...always....

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Kallmeyer

That game was horrible, what a comedy of errors! For the first time in several years, I could not watch the game in its entirety. Doke is a hypochondriac! I truly think Vick is on drugs!

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Layne Pierce

Look, the same thing happened last year, but the team rallied. Let's believe it will rally again this year. The only thing that concerns me, is that the rest of the league is actually better than it was last year, and are we going to get too far behind, and not be able to catch up.

But then, that is why they play the games. Remember last year, it really looked like Texas Tech had it, we were done, finished, it was over.

Concern, however, is really, in terms of Big 12 experience, we only have Doke, and Lagerald and too some extent Lightfoot. The guy who could really be helping us this year, is sitting onthe bench in civies, Mr. DeSouza. Don't get me started on the way that the NCAA f's around with people. They should be able to make a decision on a person in 30 days. And if not, the person finishes the year. No penalties. This hangem out to dry crap, has gotta stop.

Anyway, I digress. Looking at our team right now, is to see an underperforming group. We don't rebound well enough. We don't pass well enough. We don't even really dribble well enough, except for Dotson. We simply don't put enough pressure offensively or defensively on the other teams. We play decent defense, at least until we get behind, and if we can get the ball to Doke, we do put some pressure on other teams, but let's face it, right now, this team would get beat by last year's team, and the team 2 years ago, would destroy them.

So other than that, things are great, but remember it's a long season.
RCJH

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kenneth Johnson

Well, it finally happened! After a season-long series of games where the Jayhawks have been regularly inconsistent, but eventually winning, they bombed out against Iowa State. They looked simply terrible from start to finish. As a Jayhawk who lives in Iowa, it was embarrassing go to church this morning to face all the Cyclone fans.

You have to hand it to ISU as they played very well all game. But the fact is that the Jayhawks didn’t provide much defense (or offense either, for matter of fact), and turned over the ball 24 times. Yes, that’s right – 24 TOs. One could blame this loss on the absence of Azubuike, but clearly no one played well, except for Quentin Grimes.

At the beginning of the season, I predicted that KU would win the national championship. They looked to be loaded from top to bottom. But, with the exception of Dedric Lawson, they have been mostly disappointing all season so far, even though they have a 15-2 record. So, let’s look at the roster.

Quentin Grimes came to KU with high expectations after outstanding play for Self in the Summer. However, even though he looked pretty good against ISU, I believe he has been the biggest disappointment so far this season. He has made more turnovers than assists and has made only 31% of three-pointers.

LaGerald Vick, who started off the season very hot, and has played more minutes than anyone on the roster, has been so-so and inconsistent since. For example, against the Cyclones, he was 2 for eight from the field and made 7 turnovers.

Devin Dotson has looked good on occasion, but sometimes plays like a freshman. Against ISU, he scored only 8 points and made 5 TOs.

Charlie Moore has also been a big disappointment. Expectations were that this Cal transfer would be a scorer, but so far has averaged only 4.4 PPG.

After a pretty good start to the season, Mitch Lightfoot has disappeared of late (7 minutes with zero points against ISU). He’s only averaging 2.0 PPG.

KJ Lawson and David McCormack have provided very little help off the bench, each with only 2.5 PPG.

Even when he has played, Azubuike has been foul-prone, unable to make free-throws (34.4%), and generally unavailable for long stretches due to foul-trouble and consistent injuries.

Marcus Garrett has only made 18.2% of his three-pointers this season.

And Silvio DeSousa has yet to step on the court since the NCAA has decided not to take any action to make him eligible (just like they did with Billy Preston last year).

Put all that together and the result has been most disappointing and gives one cause to believe this won’t be the 15th season to win the Big 12.

Kenn Johnson (KU MS ’70)
Author of Kansas University Basketball Legends (2013) and More University of Kansas Basketball Legends (2014), both published by The History Press, and available at KU Bookstores and Amazon
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3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

All considered, but I still don't understand reasoning behind #1, #5 for weeks.. What we need from the team is cohesiveness, trusts, play with hearts out like each game is the final game, help each other out, play like family - I still see to these days, even after more than 10 games played - _KU players walk away leaving their fellow on the floor, which had to be picked up by the opposing players_. No, it's NOT OK to leave your teammate behind - that's not a rule, but that shows whether they CARE each other. That shows FAMILY. That shows UNITY. I BLAME coaching staff for not grooming this UNITY among the players. Once they show they're family on and off the court, will we only see a fun KU team to watch.

3 months, 2 weeks ago

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