Kansas commits bad fouls in win against Oregon State
- Dec. 2, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time this season, the Kansas men’s basketball team had to compete against multiple opponents at once. In addition to the five men Oregon State put on the floor, the Jayhawks also had to contend with foul trouble in their 84-78 victory against the Beavers on Friday.
Foul trouble forced two Kansas starters, guards Elijah Johnson and Ben McLemore, to the bench for extended periods of each half, which stopped the
Jayhawks’ momentum and allowed the Beavers to gnaw their way back into the game.
And when they did foul, they Jayhawks didn’t foul with enough intensity to effect the shot. Kansas coach Bill Self believes his team does this more frequently than any other team in the nation.
“There’s no question that we foul so soft,” Self said. “We just don’t play real smart and then we haven’t had too many guys in positions to go ahead and be the guys to close people out.”
McLemore started the game looking unstoppable. He scored 15 points in 13 minutes of play before finding his place on the pine.
Without McLemore on the floor, the Jayhawk offense lost its voracious attitude. The team struggled to make plays and saw its once 14-point lead disintegrate in the heat of an 18-4 Oregon State run that the Beavers managed to keep on the stove for 3:38 seconds.
And once he re-entered the game, McLemore’s scoring touch was left behind on the Kansas bench.
“I don’t think it affected my play,” McLemore said. “Coach just told me to start moving with my feet and my hands, and that’s what I did. I picked up another cheap one, and I noticed when I got back in the game, coach told me again to move my feet, and that’s what I did.”
With Johnson and McLemore on the bench, Johnson approached another senior, fellow guard Travis Releford, and told him that with them sidelined, Releford would have to be the one to shoulder the Jayhawks offense.
Between Johnson’s encouragement and Self’s challenge to the guards to play more aggressively on offense after halftime, a light went on in Releford’s head.
“Coach challenged all the guards to attack the paint and put pressure on the defense,” Releford said. “That was my main focus coming out in the second half.”
He played every minute of the second half and scored 16 of his 20 points.
It was the third time in a two-week span that Releford played in front of his friends and family in his hometown. And his domination of the Sprint Center continued.
He has now scored 60 points in three games at the downtown Kansas City arena this season.
“Travis played great in the second half,” Self said. “I thought he played beyond awful in the first half. He played about as bad as he’s played in a few years. He finally got mad at someone, maybe it was me, and started attacking the hole.”
Although the Jayhawks are learning to win ugly, Self is far from satisfied with the results his team is producing.
“The thing that frustrates me more than anything is that I just can’t believe that guys don’t like to compete,” he said. “There were three loose balls and we could have drove to start the game. They ended up with six points because of that, because we are too prima donna to get our nose dirty.”