ST. LOUIS — A valiant performance by senior Tarik Black was not enough for the 2nd seeded Kansas Jayhawks to avoid the upset by the 10th seeded Stanford Cardinal.
Black finished off his Kansas basketball career with an 18 point, six rebound effort. Fouling out in the waning minutes of the game, this came as a huge loss to a young Jayhawk squad. Many of Black’s fouls came by way of the Cardinal players blowing by perimeter Kansas defenders and leaving him alone in the paint as a last line of defense.
Freshman Conner Frankamp was the lone other Jayhawk who scored in double figures with 12 points. Frankamp shot 4-8 from the field with all 12 of his points coming from behind the arc.
After a pair of free throws by junior Anthony Brown, Stanford’s lead was pushed to 58-51 with 32.4 seconds remaining. Frankamp then proceeded to hit back to back threes on KU’s next possessions, with Brown converting on one of two foul shots in between.
With the score at 59-57 and 12 seconds left, Brown went to the foul line and again made 1-2 to give the Cardinal a three point lead. Frankamp was able to get one last look at a three pointer in the final seconds, but was well off the mark.
“I knew when it left my hands it was off,” Frankamp said when asked about the final shot. “I didn’t get a great look at it, but I still got to try to capitalize on that when I get another chance like that.”
The Stanford celebration began, and left the Kansas faithful in a stunned silence at the Scottrade Center.
Freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins was relatively non-existent throughout the entire game, scoring just four points on 1-6 shooting.
The Jayhawks were held to 32 percent from the field, their second lowest shooting average of the year. The only game this season Kansas shot a worse percentage was in a Jan. 5 loss to San Diego State in Allen Fieldhouse, shooting 29 percent.
“The whole game was a struggle from the tip it seemed like,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “(Stanford) played better, made more plays, made the most of their inside touches and we struggled scoring over their length.”
Stanford moves to 23-12 on the year, and will face the 11th seeded Dayton Flyers in Memphis next week in the Sweet 16. Kansas finishes the year with a 25-10 record, the most losses in a season in Self’s 11 years at the helm.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Self said. “We tried hard and hopefully when we’re in this situation in the future, which I really think we will be, we’ll respond more favorably.”
This game concluded the careers of seniors Justin Wesley, Niko Roberts and previously mentioned Tarik Black. Underclassmen including freshman Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden, Jr., and Joel Embiid are likely to make their decisions on either entering the NBA draft or returning for their sophomore seasons in the upcoming weeks.
— GJ Melia, KJHK Sports