“Well, I think losing sucks and it’s never good, but it actually can be a positive if you learn from it so it doesn’t happen again the same way,” Self, KU’s 16th-year coach said.
His words came after his Jayhawks (10-1) squandered a seven-point lead in the final 4 1/2 minutes of an 80-76 loss to No. 18-ranked Arizona State before a crowd of 14,592. That crowd included former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, the head coach of the Sun Devils football team, as well as Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps, former NBA players Jason Kidd and Grant Hill and current Los Angeles Laker and former Jayhawk Svi Mykhailiuk.
RELATED: 3 reasons Arizona State was able to upset No. 1 Kansas
“We didn’t close the game right at all,” Self added. Hopefully we’ll learn from that, but the reality of it is we weren’t going to run the table. Let’s not get carried away.
“I hate saying this. You never, ever want to lose, but certainly you’d rather learn from a non-conference loss than you would a conference loss. Hopefully we’ll learn something from it and get better from it. I think it’ll be a good teaching tape for us.”
The Jayhawks are breaking for the Christmas holiday and won’t be together again until Wednesday night when the players return to Lawrence for a post-break practice. Their next game is against Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse with the Big 12 opener looming Jan. 2 at home against Oklahoma.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 23, 2018
“It’s not going to affect Christmas, at least with the players,” Self said of the loss, especially disappointing since the Jayhawks led by 12 points late in the first half and eight points at halftime.
“We played well the first half and didn’t have as much to show for it I didn’t think as far as the score (39-31) indicated,” Self said. “We were better than them the first half. The second half, they controlled it from the start. Our defense wasn’t any good the second half. We didn’t make shots. We forgot who our best player was for a key stretch, made some bonehead plays down the stretch.”
KU’s Lagerald Vick (14 points, just 3 of 11 from three) accepted a pass from Devon Dotson on the wing and gunned a pass past Dotson that resulted in a turnover on an over-and-back call (one that may have been questionable because of a possible deflection by Arizona State). Arizona State’s Rob Edwards (15 points, 13 second half) was fouled and sank two free throws with six seconds left to assure a four-point win and a court-storming from the Arizona State fans.
“We were going to try to shoot a three to end it if we could,” Self said. “I said (in huddle), ‘Run it like black but don’t go backdoor.’ All Lagerald heard was ‘black’ and ‘black’ is the backdoor lob. I screwed that deal up.”
Self said the over-and-back call may have been “an unfortunate break there at the end. We got what we deserved. We didn’t get stops or make plays down the stretch.”
KU’s Dedric Lawson scored 18 points the first half on 8-of-10 shooting and 12 the second on 4-of-5 marksmanship. He finished with a KU career best 30 points on 12-of-15 shooting. He was 5 of 5 from the line. However, KU attempted just 16 charities, hitting 15. Arizona State (9-2) was 20 of 32, double the attempts.
“It’s a tough one because we felt we had the game and it slipped through our hands and we have to learn from this…how to execute down the stretch, stay poised.” – Dedric Lawson on tonight’s loss #KUbball pic.twitter.com/yhI11141gx
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) December 23, 2018
“It felt like it was a lot more than twice,” Self said of Arizona State shooting double the charities. “We gave them free points obviously, and I’d have to go back and watch the tape. Everybody thinks they are getting screwed as the game is going on. I’m not going to go into that and say we got one (call) or didn’t get one. I’ll watch the tape. Certainly it felt like we had a hard time getting any easy points. We certainly saw them get a lot from the free-throw line or a lot of layups. We didn’t have the same opportunities for us.”
Arizona State had five players score in double figures: Edwards had 15 points, Zylan Cheatham and Luguentz Dort 13, Romello White 11 and Remy Martin 10.
“That was one of the great sports moments of my life. That’s really the best way I can put it,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. His Sun Devils, who were ranked No. 16 at the time, also beat KU last year at Allen Fieldhouse when KU was No. 2.
“This was a huge moment for our basketball program,” the fourth-year coach added. “I remember when I first started my first couple of games here. To see what it’s like now, it’s unreal. To have these memories and our players to have it, it’s terrific. The crowd was dynamic. It was off the charts in terms of the electricity in that building. It felt like a NCAA Tournament game for something real important. That’s the caliber of athletes and basketball players on the floor.”
What a scene! 🎉
KU’s players took the loss hard. Dotson didn’t like the fact he fumbled the hard pass from Vick on the possession in which KU might have hit a three and won the game at the end.
“They defended it well,” Dotson said. “He (Vick) tried to kick it (out). We tried to put points on the board. We couldn’t convert.”
“It’s tough. I hate losing,” added Dotson, who had 12 points, five assists and five of KU’s 16 turnovers. “One thing about me, I always want to win. The first loss is tough. We’ve got to learn from it.”
Noted Lawson, who played just 31 minutes as he had to sit some in the second half after picking up a third foul: “It’s very tough, a very tough one. We had the game and let it slip right through our hands. It’s behind us. We didn’t think we were going to go undefeated. We didn’t think we were going to lose here either. It’s a learning experience.”
KU hit 41.5 percent of its shots, just 7 of 28 from three. Arizona State hit 41.3 percent and was 8 of 21 from three. Arizona State made 20 of its 32 free throws. Arizona State won the board battle 41-40.
Here’s a look at the key play by play moments during crunch time:
ASU, which trailed 39-31, at halftime, cut the deficit to three, 43-40 and again 62-59 at 7:24.
Arizona State cut it to two 67-65 on a three by Edwards at 5:50.
With Arizona State up by three, Vick hit a huge three and was fouled by Dort on the play. Vick hit the free throw for a four-point play and KU led 72-65 at 4:58. KU led 74-67 at 4:31; however, Arizona State cut it to 74-73 by the 2:51 mark.
KU’s Quentin Grimes missed a three with the score 74-71 and Arizona State’s Martin converted right after at 2:48. Following a Lawson turnover, Edwards hit a three to give Arizona State the 76-74 lead at 2:17. Dort then missed two free throws at 1:36. Lawson hit two free throws for Kansas to tie it 76-76 at 1:17.
Martin hit a shot in the lane with 58.6 seconds left to give Arizona State a 78-76 lead. Following an offensive foul by Vick, Dort missed two free throws with 26 seconds left, giving KU the ball down two 78-76.
Vick gunned a pass off Dotson that forced a turnover at 6.9 seconds on KU’s ensuing possession. Edwards stepped to the line at 6.1 seconds. He hit two free throws to give Arizona State the four point lead, 80-76.
This article is written by Gary Bedore from The Kansas City Star and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.