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_0344web.jpg ‘Lucky 7’ comes through in the 3rd

    Over the course of his four-year baseball career at Verdigris High School, third baseman Ryan Skalnik has had his share of memorable at-bats.
    None more important than Tuesday’s appearance in the Large School East-West All-State Game at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa.
    Skalnik, who was the lone senior this season for Verdigris and a four-time Class 3A state champion, thrived under pressure in the top of the third inning for the East.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Larue, Skalnik power East to 3-0 victory

    The East blanked the West 3-0 in the Large School All-State Baseball Game Tuesday night at J. L. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
    Claremore catcher Matt Whatley and third baseman Ryan Skalnik of Verdigris represented Rogers County in the contest.
    Skalnik finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI's.  Whatley was 0-for-1 with a walk.

    July 30, 2014

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • RSU places 77 student-athletes on Heartland Conference Academic All-Conference Honor Roll

    The Heartland Conference announced that more than 1000 student-athletes from its 12 member institutions landed a spot on the Academic All-Conference honor roll, including 77 from Rogers State.
     
    The Hillcats had 33 student-athletes named to the President's Honor Roll while 44 earned Commissioner's Honor Roll recognition.

    July 31, 2014

  • Indoor football coming back to Enid?

     Is Enid ready to give professional arena football another try? Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers owner Mark Timberlake think so, and are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 31, 2014

  • OU holds Mixon out of practice, investigation continues

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today, but freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there, the school announced Wednesday night.

    The university, in its statement, said “Joe Mixon is not reporting for team activities at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Ticket options available for Arkansas women's basketball

    The excitement surrounding head coach Jimmy Dykes and the 2014-15 University of Arkansas women’s basketball season is building every day in Northwest Arkansas.

    As the excitement builds, the Razorback Ticket Center has announced the availability of women’s basketball season ticket plans including several new options for this season.  Tickets go on sale beginning today and can be purchased online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at 800-982-4647.  Current season ticket holders will receive renewal forms in the mail the first week of August.

    July 31, 2014

  • Ex-OSU baseball players Oliver, Hague on new paths in All-Star season

    Matt Hague has transitioned to being a power hitter and Andy Oliver has evolved into a shutdown closer.

    The former Oklahoma State players were both named International League All-Stars after reinventing themselves this season with the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    July 31, 2014

  • Ex-Sooner Courtney Paris finding niche with Shock

    It looked like it came easily to Courtney Paris. The minute she stepped foot on the campus at the University of Oklahoma in 2005, it seemed she was already an All-American and destroying the competition in the Big 12 and across the nation.

    July 31, 2014

  • MLB: Keuchel tosses 4-hitter, Astros roll past A's

    In at least one category, Dallas Keuchel is Clayton Kershaw's equal. For at least one three-game series, Houston was better than Oakland.

    Keuchel pitched a four-hitter and Robbie Grossman homered to cap a six-run first inning that sent the Astros past the Athletics 8-1 Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014