University of Kansas

Jayhawks look ahead to K-State rematch: ‘I think we’ll bounce back pretty well.’

Bill Self after loss to Texas Tech loss: ‘They were great; we were awful’

Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self gives his opening comments following a 91-62 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.
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Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self gives his opening comments following a 91-62 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

Kansas coach Bill Self’s postgame message to his shell-shocked team Saturday night had more to do with the Jayhawks’ next game than a just-completed 91-62 blowout loss to Texas Tech before 15,098 crazed fans at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

“Coach talked about getting ready for K-State. He said, ‘Can’t get this one back. Worry about the next one.’ I think we’ll bounce back pretty well,” KU junior forward Dedric Lawson said, adding, “Sometimes a loss can be a blessing in disguise.”

The Jayhawks (20-7, 9-5) who are coming off the worst loss in a Big 12 game in the 16-year Self era will be trying to “bounce back” against rival Kansas State (21-6, 11-3) at 8 p.m. Monday in Allen Fieldhouse. The Wildcats, who defeated KU 74-67 on Feb. 5 at Bramlage Coliseum, hold a two-game lead over KU with four games remaining in the league race.

If KU wins on Big Monday, the Jayhawks will trail K-State by one game in the standings with three to play.

If KU loses on Monday, the Jayhawks will be three games back with three left. At that point, one would be talking about KU needing a miracle to stretch its 14-year run of Big 12 titles to 15.

“That’s the thing about basketball. You’ve got quick turnarounds,” KU sophomore forward K.J. Lawson said on Saturday night. “Hopefully we can redeem ourselves for a loss we got at K-State. We’ll try to play our heart out Monday, get rested (Sunday), get our legs under us. I feel everybody is fatigued, short on our shots. We need to get proper rest. How are you going to do that when we’ve got a big game Monday?”

K.J. Lawson said the key Monday against the first-place Wildcats, who lead Texas Tech by one game and KU and Baylor by two, will be to “play hard every possession. Nobody’s got sympathy for you. Go out and compete. Play for the name on the front of the jersey.”

He added that K-State, which has lost 12 straight games to KU at Allen Fieldhouse, will “definitely bring it,” after Saturday’s 85-46 annihilation of Oklahoma State at Bramlage Coliseum. “We’ve got to bring our A-game, bring the fight to K-State, not let them bring it to us.”

K.J. Lawson was asked what he’d tell folks who believe the Jayhawks are basically out of the league chase.

‘“Trust the process,” he said. “We are not looking at outside (influences). Once we re-invented this team (after Lagerald Vick’s departure on an indefinite leave of absence four games ago) we were going day-to-day anyway. We’re not worried about guys on the outside. We’re doing it for guys on the team.”

Self wasn’t dwelling on Saturday’s blowout loss when speaking with media after KU’s fifth road loss in Big 12 play in seven tries. KU is undefeated at home this season in Allen.

“We’ll put this one behind us,” Self said. “It’s not going to do us too much good to watch this film. But we’ll get this behind us. We were talking — not putting it behind us because the game was over — but talking about that as early as halftime (with KU down to Tech by 25 points). We would have had to come out in the second half, in the first eight minutes, and cut it to 15 (point deficit), or something like that, to probably have a chance to put some game pressure on them and we didn’t do that. So, therefore, the whole deal was that for the last 12 or 14 minutes we were just trying to get our guys to the finish line so we have rested bodies for Monday.”

In the first meeting with K-State, KU committed 23 turnovers to K-State’s 12.

It’s KU’s second-highest turnover total of the season. The Jayhawks had 24 turnovers in a loss at Iowa State.

“They ate us up pretty good for 40 minutes as far as pressuring us, getting open one pass away,” Self said recently of the loss to KSU. “We were never even remotely comfortable. It’s a credit to them and probably our inexperience as well. Certainly we’ve had some other awful offensive execution days but this ranks right up there with one of the best in that regard. Their defense was so much better than our offense it was comical.”

Dedric Lawson scored 18 points and Devon Dotson 13 in the first game. Charlie Moore came off the bench and hit two threes. Ochai Agbaji scored six points and grabbed four boards and Mitch Lightfoot had six points and five boards in 14 productive minutes.

Barry Brown scored 18 points, Xavier Sneed scored 14 and Dean Wade added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats.

Kansas State Wildcats guard Cartier Diarra put the exclamation mark on a 74-67 win over the Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 with a windmill dunk in the final minute.

That was the game in which Brown raced in for a slam dunk on the Wildcats’ final possession. The dunk was flushed shortly after the final horn, thus did not count. After the game Brown gave a shoutout to former KU wing Brannen Greene who dunked at Allen Fieldhouse to beat the final buzzer in a blowout victory over K-State in Brown’s freshman year.

“I mean it was just a play. I understand. The game of basketball is very emotional,” KU’s Dedric Lawson said. “I’ve known Barry a long time. I know this probably was something he wanted to do is beat Kansas. I’m not holding it against him. It was a play that happened,” Lawson added in a recent interview.

Monday’s game, by the way, has some added significance. It’s the 900th men’s basketball game to be played in the 64-year-old fieldhouse. KU is 786-113 (.874) over 64 seasons and 248-13 (.950) in the 16-year Bill Self era at Allen.

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Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star — the current team as well as former players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Ill.
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