When you think about it the stat is astounding. KU's last home loss was February 3, 2007.
Almost three years and 69 games later the Texas Longhorns put an end to the nation's longest home court winning streak. The Longhorns overcame a 15-point deficit and dominated KU in the second half to win 74-63. Now it's Rick Barnes' Longhorns who stand alone as the Big 12's last unbeaten team.
"I could care less about the streak," said KU head coach Bill Self. "The only thing I was concerned about on the streak was I wanted our team to be the one that had the longest streak in school history, and we did that a little bit ago. The media does a good job of talking about the streak, but it doesn't weigh that much on my mind."
"It's something you never put in your mind," said senior Tyrel Reed. "You never want to lose and you always want to protect your home court. We can't look at it like it's the end of the world. It means a ton, but it's just a game against Texas that we lost when we didn't play our best. We've just got to move on and get better."
Kansas and Texas have played some classics the last few years, making it must see TV, but UT had never come away with a "W" at Allen Fieldhouse. There is a rivalry like fire between the two teams on the court and a mutual respect off of it. But this one was extra special for the Longhorns who for the first time in nine tries leave Lawrence with a special taste in their mouths.
"It was a great win for our program," said Barnes. Obviously I can't tell you how much respect I have for Bill. I mean he's one of the best. He's the model of consistency and I've always said I think that's the key to being an outstanding coach and teacher and what he's done. To come up here and get a win – and we have had so many great games with them where we came out on the other end – but I love the way our guys played today."
For Kansas, it came out of the gate like gangbusters chock full of emotion and bolting to as much as a 15-point lead in the first half. UT never panicked and even after a highly unproductive first 10 minutes of play the Longhorns refused to quit. Finally during the latter part of the first half Texas began to chip away and find a rhythm while Kansas began to miss shots. Despite taking a 12-point lead into the locker room the last 30 minutes of this game belonged to Texas.
"I think you see teams get off to an emotional good start (sometimes)," Self said referring to the emotion felt over the loss of Thomas Robinson's mother Friday night. "We played well too, but I felt like we didn't have much gas left in the tank in the second half and a lot of it is because of Texas too."
"We didn't give in. We didn't quit," Barnes told reporters. "Early I did think we had a couple shots that we missed I thought it affected us. They came out and they were terrific but we stayed with it."
"It's one game. It's a big game, but it's just one game. We've got to rebound from today and hopefully not let one become two," said Self after losing just his 6th game in Lawrence since becoming head coach.
This is not the same team Kansas demolished in Austin last season. This team has staying power and an epic fold like last season is highly unlikely. This team executes with so many offensive weapons, plays together, and is formidable on the defensive end. Barnes pointed to freshman Tristan Thompson's five blocks as the most important stat in the game. The Horns are still growing but they have cemented themselves as a current national title contender. As Barnes said this is a "new team, and a different year" and he praised his seniors for setting the tone for this team since day one.
"I personally think Texas is really good," praised Self. "I mean good enough to win a national championship. I think they're one of the best five teams in the country right now hands down."
Kansas could likely be dueling with Texas all season long for a Big 12 title and while Texas appears to be rolling, Kansas is still trying to solve some problems. Giving up 51 points in a half at home will really stick in the craw of KU head coach Bill Self and the issues that have plagued KU even while it was winning were accentuated on Saturday. Kansas shot poorly and failed to get in the paint, and again the free throw shooting was an issue (11-18 FT).
"We just didn't execute offensively, that was a big key, and we didn't get stops on defense," Brady Morningstar added. "We had a couple of big turnovers-I had one of them-and they went down on the offensive end and took advantage of them. That helped them out."
Kansas inexplicably shot 35-percent from the floor and most of that can be attributed to its failure to get in the paint and a propensity for settling for jumpers. Self said the goal was to "drive it, drive it, drive it," and all KU did was "settle."
"Obviously we didn't make shots," Self answered when asked about UT's post presence taking KU out of its offense. "I think the second half it was basically we bailed them out by not taking it to them. I thought we played so passive and conservative the second half."
There were only 12 total turnovers by the Jayhawks, many of them ill-timed and ones that Texas capitalized on. Kansas on was outscored by 23 points in the second half, gave up over 60 percent shooting, and was outrebounded by 10.
"Texas totally controlled the last 30 minutes of the game, totally," Self said. "In the second half they were terrific. Of course we helped them be terrific. We give up 51 points in our building in a half and obviously didn't play smart offensively which helped them. But they deserved the outcome that they got today."
One loss certainly doesn't dash KU's Big 12 title hopes as long as it can provide quick damage control. The Jayhawks won't have much time to sulk and will have to move forward quickly as it heads to Boulder to take on a tough Colorado team Tuesday"50 percent of the teams across America will lose today and how do they bounce back?" Self asked rhetorically. "Certainly we haven't experienced much of it but certainly we've gotta definitely do that. Hopefully not let one become two."
"We have to move on and not dwell on this loss as a team," said Marcus Morris. "We have to stay together and be leaders and get the team's mind right and keep moving forward."
"We've been behind in the league race before but it puts us in a situation where there's very little margin for error," said Self.
- J'Covan Brown is becoming a Jayhawk killer scoring 23 on Saturday after having 28 in a losing effort last season.
- In a classy move Rick Barnes offered his condolences in his opening postgame remarks to Thomas Robinson and his family saying he could not imagine what Thomas was going through.