The game featured two good teams who have a recent history of getting chippy with one another. However, the game would be come to be dominated by the three men wearing striped shirts.
In a game that would see Kansas (14-2, 3-0) out free throw Oklahoma State (12-4, 2-2) 67-57 Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse, the main story was the game’s officials, who called fouls at an alarming and disturbing rate, preventing any flow for the painful two hour and 40 minute affair, which saw the two teams combine for 71 free throws.
"It was a bad game. It was a long game,” Self said. “The only good thing about tonight is that we won. It took forever to play."
Oklahoma State came in, supremely confident after nearly knocking off Iowa State on the road and with the fresh memory of upsetting the favored Jayhawks on their home floor two years ago. They raced out to an early lead, but saw Kansas catch fire after some pushing and shoving that ensued after an episode between the two teams which saw double technical fouls assessed to Kansas’ Jamari Traylor and Oklahoma State’s LeBryan Nash.
The Jayhawks would lead 32-28 at the break, but thoughts of another entertaining affair between the two teams quickly deteriorated into a game that saw each team essentially trade trips to the free throw line up until the very end, preventing much drama despite the close score.
"I didn't think there was any flow,” Self said. It was a hard game to play, a hard game to coach and probably a hard game to officiate. (The officials) have to take control of the game. You blow your whistle a lot. It wasn't the officials' fault or the way it was called wasn't why it was so slow and fragmented – it was because both teams fouled. I didn't think the teams adjusted well to how the game was being officiated. The one thing we did do in the second have that was positive is we didn't foul Forte and put him at the line like we did the first half."
Frank Mason and Kelly Oubre scored 16 and 14 points respectively for a Kansas team that scored a big win during a critical early three game stretch in the Big 12 portion of their schedule. Up next come a huge road test at Iowa State on Saturday night, followed by a home game with Oklahoma on Monday.
"We don't have a reason to say we don't like it because we like playing national exposure games. Big Monday is great,” Self said. “We've played quite a few of them. This one will be particularly tough because we play in Ames and then turn around and play a team that can obviously win anywhere – Oklahoma on Monday night. That is going to test us a little bit. We're going to have to do a good job at being tough."