Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

February 9, 2013

Losing streak unfamiliar turf for No. 5 Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. — After one of his team's worst performances in years, Bill Self likened the Kansas team he put on the floor Wednesday night to ones fielded by Dr. James Naismith back when the school was playing games against the Topeka YMCA.

The fifth-ranked Jayhawks had just lost to Big 12 bottom-dweller TCU, which had been winless in its first eight conference games. And before that was a loss to Oklahoma State that ended a nation-leading 18-game winning streak, and a 33-game run of success at Allen Fieldhouse.

Two straight losses? Not much to complain about most places.

Most places aren't like Kansas.

"It hasn't been our best week we've had around here all year,'' said Self, whose team had gone 264 games without back-to-back losses. "I think everybody in every profession goes through rough weeks.''

Now tied with rival Kansas State for the Big 12 lead, the Jayhawks (19-3, 7-2) head to Oklahoma on Saturday trying to solve a litany of problems - and trying to avoid losing three straight for the first time since February 2005.

Naturally, Self is also at work trying to repair his team's wounded psyche.

"We went 80 days in a row without losing a game and all of a sudden now, in five days the sky is falling?'' Self said before Friday's workout. "I'm not buying into that theory at all.''

Neither is his team. They had a players-only meeting Thursday in an attempt to sort things out.

It was led by the senior starters - Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Kevin Young - and each had a chance to speak. They bounced ideas off each other and watched tape from their 74-66 victory over Ohio State earlier in the year.

In that game, freshman Ben McLemore led the Jayhawks with 22 points. They were efficient on offense, shooting 51 percent from the field, and resembled a cozy blanket on defense, holding the Buckeyes to just 30.8-percent shooting.

At some point in the weeks that followed, things started to go awry.

It took a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by McLemore that he insists he banked in on purpose to force overtime in a home win over Iowa State. The Jayhawks had decisive wins over Texas Tech and Baylor after that, but three of their next four games were decided by fewer than 10 points. The Jayhawks only broke 70 once since Iowa State on Jan. 9, and have struggled on the offensive boards, losing the battle in four of the past six games.

Freshman forward Perry Ellis said Friday the team has been asking questions like, "Are we each giving our best effort? Are we trying to do what's best for the team?''

"We're obviously all pretty upset,'' he said, "but we've just got to move on to the next game.''

It will have been two weeks since the Jayhawks beat Oklahoma 67-54 at Allen Fieldhouse when the teams meet Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. In that match-up, the Jayhawks overcame their lousy offense with some stingy defense, and that's what they've been hanging their hat on during a rough start to the conference schedule.

That's how they were even in the game against the Horned Frogs on Wednesday night, when they had just four points midway through the first half and finished with 13 at the break.

"I don't think our confidence is shaken as much as we just played bad,'' Self said. "I actually thought we played pretty hard against TCU, we just didn't get much for it.''

Self said the confidence is still there.

The Jayhawks just need some shots to start falling.

"This is the same team that was ranked No. 2 in the nation a week ago,'' he said, "so if our confidence is shaken, then we're not very tough.''

The Jayhawks are still in the hunt for a ninth-straight Big 12 title, but their margin for error has been almost entirely wiped out. They have the tiebreaker over Kansas State by virtue of their win earlier this season in Manhattan, but the Wildcats visit the Phog on Monday night.

First, though, the Jayhawks had better focus on Oklahoma.

"We'll be better moving forward, no question,'' Self said. "We've been living on borrowed time for a while now and it has caught up to us and certainly we knew something like this could happen.''

Added McLemore, who still leads the Jayhawks in scoring: "We've just got to go out there and play now. We've got to go out there and play Kansas basketball.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Southwest Baptist slips past NSU, 5-3

     The Northeastern State baseball team lost 5-3 to Southwest Baptist Thursday afternoon at Dobson Field.
     
    The RiverHawks (19-22, 15-18 MIAA) held a 3-0 lead early in the contest, but a late rally from the Bearcats (23-18, 19-13 MIAA) and costly errors from the visitors allowed the home team to secure the series-opening triumph.

    April 18, 2014

  • WOMEN'S TENNIS: Conference champion NSU lands top seed in MIAA tourney

    The No. 31-ranked Northeastern State women's tennis team has drawn the top seed in the 2014 MIAA Women's Tennis Championship, the league announced Thursday morning.

    April 18, 2014