The last basketball game before regular season play was a disappointment
By Nathan Fordyce
Exhibitions aren’t suppose to be close, especially when one of the teams is the runner-up from last season. But that’s exactly what happened last night as the Kansas Jayhawks allowed the Washburn Ichabods to stay within distance because of sloppy offensive play.
The Jayhawks managed to shoot just 43 percent and had 24 turnovers in the 62-50 victory. Kansas coach Bill Self wasn’t happy with how the team performed.
“Our offense stunk. It was just beyond bad,” Self said. “We played like little babies tonight.”
Playing like babies as Self said, speaks to the lack of effort that was put forth by the Jayhawks. Self said the sloppy play was a “pure lack of basketball IQ” and “pure softness.”
But even though Self thought the showing was embarrassing, he’ll use it as a teaching lesson for the No. 7 team in the nation.
“I do think that was probably the best thing to happen to us. We’re not what people think we are yet, so why not be humbled a little bit? We got their attention,” Self said. “We’re so young, and we have so much to learn.”
Senior guard Elijah Johnson finished with 13 points but also contributed to the sloppy play as he had four turnovers. Johnson said Self’s message after the sub-par performance was well perceived. That message; learn from this and “fight through those times.”
“Today could be wasted if no one learned anything,” Johnson said. “I think one thing we learned as a team was that we have to win ugly sometimes, because sometimes it feels like there’s just no chemistry on the court or nothing can go right.”
For the second straight exhibition, freshmen Ben McLemore and Perry Ellis put together a good offensive game as they combined for 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting. McLemore led the team in scoring for the second straight game as he had 17 points. But despite that, those two contributed to the 24 turnovers as they combined for eight turnovers.
Ellis said the lack of push was the greatest different between the two exhibition games.
“I would say we weren’t executing as well as the first game,” Ellis said about the difference between the Emporia State exhibition and last night’s game. “We weren’t pushing it as well as we were in the first game.”
As the regular season is about to start on Friday Nov. 9, the Jayhawks have yet see anything from their big senior 7-footer Jeff Withey on a consistent basis. Withey had just one rebound and block in the first half before he had a better showing in the second half. In that second half, Withey scored all nine of his points and grabbed seven rebounds and had six blocks.
Withey and company will need to have a better showing as the season moves forward and that’s something that Self isn’t worried about. Self said with Southeast Missouri State on Friday and Michigan State on Nov. 13, the team will rally behind the Washburn showing.
“I think it’s perfect that we can go into the season and get their attention a little bit,” Self said. “If we play soft a week from now, we’re going to get a knot put on our head big time. Usually, guys in this program rally around this, and I’m sure these guys will.”