One KU player felt Jayhawks were ‘lackadaisical.’ Here was Bill Self’s view of ISU loss
Kansas guard Gradey Dick’s mom, Carmen, who played basketball at Iowa State from 1985 to ‘89, was to attend a Cyclones women’s hoops reunion banquet on Saturday night in Ames — several hours after the ISU men’s team’s 68-53 victory over the Jayhawks at Hilton Coliseum.
Assuredly she’d enjoy that event more than the Big 12 battle between the No. 8-ranked Jayhawks and No. 13 Cyclones — a game that belonged to the Cyclones, not her son Gradey’s Jayhawks, from start to finish.
A sellout crowd of 14,267 (there were a spattering of KU fans behind the KU bench and in the upper deck) basked in ISU’s second-biggest home win over a Bill Self-coached KU team (the Jayhawk lost by 17 points in Ames in 2019), including a group of student fans in the north endzone bleachers who directed obscene chants at KU freshman Dick several times during the game.
“It’s like a damn morgue in here. It’s all right,” KU coach Bill Self said jokingly in beginning his postgame interview after KU dropped its fourth conference game in its last five tries.
It’s the first time KU has lost four of five in conference action in the 20-year Self era and first time any KU team has dropped four of five in conference play since 1988-89.
“We weren’t good early or late. We did nothing to make them play bad. They did some things to make us play bad,” Self stated. “Iowa State defended us perfectly. I thought our defense was very lackluster without a lot of energy at all.”
KU (18-5, 6-4) hit 38.6% of its shots and suffered 20 turnovers to ISU’s 10. The Cyclones (15-7, 6-4) had nine steals to KU’s five.
“Believe it or not,” Self said after a one-sided game in which his team trailed 33-21 at the break, “I actually thought we had some good possessions early. We missed a lot of shots (KU shot 6-of-23 from three on the day to ISU’s 7-of-23). After that there were not many good possessions.”
Self noted that forward Jalen Wilson was the only Jayhawk starter to fare well Saturday.
The junior forward had 26 points and nine rebounds with two assists and four turnovers in 39 minutes. Freshman wing Dick had seven points on 2-of-6 shooting with five turnovers and no assists. Senior guard Kevin McCullar, who played despite an injured right index finger, had two points on 1-of-4 shooting with 11 rebounds, three turnovers against one assist.
Junior point guard Dajuan Harris had two points, three assists and two turnovers while his counterpart at the point, ISU frosh Tamin Lipsey, had nine points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
“Today we had only one guy play well at all,” Self said. “Jalen.”
Adding to KU’s troubles … reserve forward Zach Clemence suffered what Self called a “bruised knee” in the first half when he came down wrong on his left leg after blocking a shot.
“They (medical staff) don’t think it’s significant,” Self said, “but certainly he’ll be out a significant period of time. We don’t know if it’s a week or two weeks. We’ll know more tomorrow.”
Guard Bobby Pettiford (hamstring injury incurred in K-State game) was limited on a day he scored no points with three assists and three turnovers in eight minutes.
“Bobby was out there but never pushed off or anything,” Self said. “We’re a beat up team. The core players for the most part are still intact. Those players have to perform better and play better.”
Reserve guard Joseph Yesufu scored eight points on 3-of-6 shooting (2-of-5 threes) in 19 minutes.
“We came in lackadaisical,” Yesufu said. We have to be better in every aspect of the game.”
Asked about KU’s turnover problems, Yesufu said: “It’s what they do, cause turnovers. It’s how they play the game.”
KU’s Wilson, who scored 20 or more points for the sixth straight game, said the problem was “coming out of the gate letting them get easy buckets. It’s something we’ve struggled with, letting teams get comfortable early. You let a team get comfortable especially at home it makes the game harder the rest of the time.”
KU trailed 15-8 with 11:37 left in the first half.
“We’ve got to get off to better starts on the road. It’s already difficult enough especially with the environment here,” Wilson said, also noting the early start at 11 a.m. “That’s on us to do (better).”
Sophomore forward KJ Adams, who had four rebounds on a day both teams had 32 rebounds total: “We let them speed us up. We let them get comfortable.”
KU will next meet Texas at 8 p.m. Monday at Allen Fieldhouse.
Asked what he had planned for his team, Self said jokingly: “I had not even not thought about the next day or two. I’m just trying to figure out how I can hurry back and eat my chicken finger sandwich now. That’s about the best thing that’s happened to me today.”
Self joked of the postgame meal: “It’s really good, melted cheese I like it.”
Then, in a serious tone ...
“We’ll have to practice and go over some stuff tomorrow,” Self said. “Obviously it’s a short turnaround with Texas on Monday.”
Kyle Cuffe not with Jayhawks
Injured freshman Kyle Cuffe did not make the trip. He was to attend the funeral of a relative in New York.