KU led just once the second half, but had one last chance to win the game after Chris Lowe missed two free throws with 20 seconds remaining (his third straight miss in 16 seconds).
Sherron Collins, whose three-pointer with 30 seconds left brought KU to
within one (61-60), came off a screen and tossed up a lefty floater in
the lane, which was slightly blocked by Tony Gaffney. Conner Teahan
grabbed the rebound with three seconds remaining, but was caught
underneath the basket and passed to Tyrel Reed, whose shot went off
after the buzzer.
“I thought it was in and it just came out,” a
dejected Collins said about his missed floater.
The UMass players celebrated as the Minutemen (3-6) claimed just their
third victory of the season in nine games.
This game was extra special for Massachusetts, beating the defending
“It feels great,” said junior guard Ricky Harris,
who led UMass with 18 points. “Kansas is a great team with a
great tradition and not many teams come in here and beat them. With
Coach (Derek) Kellogg coming here from Memphis (Kellogg was an
assistant coach last year for the NCAA runner-up Tigers), we wanted to
play well for him.
“We didn’t guarantee a victory, but we knew we
would give a good effort for him.”
Memphis gave a great effort and delivered a knockout blow to Kansas in
the first half with its 22-4 run and led by as many as 14 points (32-18
with 3:17 left in the half). The Minutemen held KU without a field goal
for over seven minutes (9:38 to 2:24 mark).
While KU (7-2) made a valiant comeback, the Jayhawks never quite
After a three-pointer from Tyrel Reed and a conventional three-point
play by Teahan, KU closed the first half on a 12-4 run to cut the
Minutemen’s lead to 36-30 at halftime.
Energized by the partisan crowd and a four-guard lineup (the 6-5 Teahan
was the four man for a long stretch), Kansas kept battling in the
second half and held Harris (14 points in first half) scoreless until
5:45 remaining when he made two charities after a technical from KU
coach Bill Self.
“I deserved it,” Self said. “He (official
John Higgins) warned me in the first half and said that he had had
enough. And I waved him off when I thought he made a bad call.
I’ve done a lot more and not gotten one, but he told me he
was going to call me if I did that. When you lose a game by one and the
coach gets a ‘T’ with six minutes left and they
make both free throws, the coach has to know better.”
But Self’s technical didn’t lose the game. KU blew
this one in the first half when UMass dominated the Jayhawks. The
Minutemen shot 55.6 percent in the first 20 minutes and scored 15
points off seven KU turnovers. Kansas, meanwhile, shot a dismal 28.6
percent from the field (33.9 percent for the game) and 22.2 percent
beyond the arc.
“We lost it as a team from the very beginning when we
didn’t come out to play,” said sophomore
center Cole Aldrich. “That’s the bottom line. ...
Our focus was off a little bit. Sherron and I just have to take the
carriage at its reins and get everybody going when things
aren’t going right.”
Nothing much went right that first half.
“Anytime you give up 16 first-half points because of the
scouting report means that you are probably not as ready as you should
be,” Self said. “And that’s our [the
coaches] job to get them ready, I’m not putting that on them.
We had some young kids that have played better than that.”
KU had trouble containing the Minutemen’s dribble drive
offense and also struggled with getting the ball to Aldrich with
UMass’s sagging defense, especially in the second half.
Aldrich (12 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks) had just three shot
attempts after halftime. KU couldn’t free free him up with
its poor shooting, and was also stymied by Gaffney’s six
Collins (game-high 19 points) went 6 of 21 from the field and rushed
shots. Freshmen Tyshawn Taylor (1 of 7) and Marcus Morris (2 of 8) and
sophomore Brady Morningstar (2 of 7) also had bad shooting days.
“If they are going to sag like that, then you have to hit
some shots,” Self said. “I would say that our shot
selection was as poor as it has been in quite some time.”
With its second loss of the season, KU now turns its attention to final
exams and its game next Saturday against Temple in Allen Fieldhouse,
where the Jayhawks aim to start a new home-winning streak. (The NCAA
counted the UMass game as a home contest.)
Kansas certainly has much work to do after its third consecutive less
than impressive performance.
For KU, this was just the second loss in its last 30 games in Kansas
City. Both defeats (Kansas lost to Syracuse in the CBE Classic
championship game on Nov. 25) came at the new Sprint Center.
“We deserved to get beat today,” Self said.
“They controlled the game. A lot of times you don’t
deserve to win and you do and a lot of times you don’t
deserve to lose and you do. This was one of those games where I thought
UMass controlled the game. I don’t think the building had
anything to do with that.”
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