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Moments That Popped: Rough 2nd half leads BYU past No. 7 KU

Rough shooting too much for Kansas to overcome in rare home loss

5 min read
Kansas guard Nick Timberlake winces in pain as he falls hard to the floor during the first half of Tuesday's 76-68 loss to BYU at Allen Fieldhouse. After temporarily leaving the game and getting checked out in the locker room, Timberlake returned to the lineup and played 33 minutes in the loss. [Chance Parker photo]

The 7th-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team lost for the first time at home this season on Tuesday night, falling to BYU, 76-68 after giving up 47 points in the second half.

As the Jayhawks expected they would, BYU cashed in from 3-point land in a big way, making 13 of 34 attempts, compared to just 3 of 15 for Kansas.



That discrepancy, along with the Cougars getting 29 points from their bench and refusing to go away no matter how many times KU padded its lead, led to just the 18th loss by Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse in the Bill Self era.

Self’s home record in his 21 seasons in charge of the program is now 313-18.

KU falls to 21-7 overall and 9-6 in Big 12 play. BYU, which was the first team receiving votes in both major polls (so, essentially, No. 26) improves to 20-8 overall and 8-7 in Big 12 play.

Next up, the Jayhawks will head back out on the road for a battle with Baylor at 5 p.m. Saturday in Waco, Texas.

After that, it’s back home for the Sunflower Showdown vs. Kansas State on Tuesday, followed by the regular season finale at Houston on March 9.

Here’s a look back at some of the highlights and memorable moments from the Jayhawks’ rare home loss on Tuesday night.


• Second-half surge to start: The Jayhawks haven’t exactly been the country’s best team at starting fast in the second half. But they were pretty damn good in that area in this one. After giving up a late 3-pointer to end the first half and keep BYU in it, the Jayhawks scored the first six points of the second half to open up a 12-point lead and bring the home crowd all the way back into the game. The highlight of the stretch — and maybe the season — was a perfectly thrown, length-of-the-court outlet pass from Hunter Dickinson after one of his 11 rebounds, to Johnny Furphy, who sprinted to get there and then finished with ease. Furphy has been sensational in transition all season, and his play in that area on Tuesday night was a highlight-reel of all of his strengths while running the floor — speed, smarts, length and the ability to finish with either hand and also with authority. BYU never flinched, though, and just kept coming.

• Parker Braun doing Parker Braun things: On successive possessions in the second half, KU big man Parker Braun used both his brain and his underrated athleticism to make a couple of huge plays for the Jayhawks. On the first one, he drew a charge on BYU big man Fousseyni Traore that not only gave the Jayhawks possession but also led to a technical foul (and two KU free throws) on BYU coach Mark Pope. On the very next offensive trip, Braun was on the receiving end of a lob from Dajuan Harris Jr. that brought the crowd to its feet and put Kansas up by six points.

• Timberlake’s defense trending up: It’s probably tied directly to his confidence starting to peak, but Timberlake’s defense has been significantly better of late. That includes his work on the glass, but he also looks to be sticking with his man more, trusting his feet more, fighting through screens harder and understanding what the Jayhawks want to try to do on that end of the floor. His dive on the floor for a loose ball on a long rebound midway through the second half not only led to a BYU foul and a pair of free throws for Kansas, it also was met with some serious roars of appreciation from the KU coaching staff on the bench.

• McCullar the pregame hype man: The Jayhawks played for the fourth time in the last five games without starter Kevin McCullar Jr. on Tuesday night, but the veteran still found a way to be involved. Self said earlier this week that McCullar has been like an assistant coach — “I had to tell him to be quiet during a timeout (vs. Texas),” Self quipped — and on Tuesday night, he was standing at the top of the key hyping up just about every one of his teammates as they ran through the layup line. McCullar had a huge smile on his face throughout and was clapping and high-fiving guys constantly. Lots of smiles and good-natured comments headed back McCullar’s way from his teammates as they got ready to roll without him.


• Hunter at the FT line: The KU big man was off in a bunch of different ways on Tuesday night, but nowhere was that more evident than at the free throw line. He made just 6-of-15 charity shots and even said after the game that some of his early misses created a situation where he got into his own head a little bit. As a team, KU shot 19-of-31 at the stripe. If you’re going to get outscored by 30 from behind the 3-point line (39-9), you can’t give points away at the free throw line. The Jayhawks nearly survived it, but BYU made sure they didn’t.

• Self uses line-change strategy, but just sometimes: It wasn’t used exclusively the way it was against Texas, but Self did still utilize the multi-player substitution pattern, a la a hockey line change, as the foundation for his rotation on Tuesday night. During both halves, Jamari McDowell, Elmarko Jackson and Parker Braun checked in together at around the 12 or 13-minute mark. In the first half, it looked great. In the second half, it looked a little off and coincided with BYU climbing right back into the game. It will be interesting to see how much Self commits to the strategy the rest of the way. The players say they like it, and if things are clicking it can be a very effective way to buy a breather for the starters while still having a couple of athletes and good basketball IQ on the floor.

• Second-half whistles: The first half was a thing of beauty. Every possession was a street fight. The officials were content to let most everything go. And it came down to two quality teams competing hard and making plays. While that last part continued in the second half, the officials got a little more involved. Partly out of necessity and partly because they seemed to get caught up in the style of game being played. Thirty of the game’s 43 fouls were called in the second half and that doesn’t even include the technical foul called on BYU coach Mark Pope.


• KJ’s block on BYU’s Robinson: After finishing what seemed to be his 75th bucket at the rim on one end, KJ Adams busted his ass to get to the other end to be in perfect position for one of the defensive plays of the night. After catching a perfectly feathered pass over the top of the KU defense and having what seemed to be a clear path to the basket, BYU’s Jaxson Robinson quickly found out that KJ Adams had other ideas. After helping off of his mind, Adams viciously blocked Robinson’s running layup off the backboard to jump-start a transition opportunity for the Jayhawks. KU outscored BYU 9-6 in fast-break points on Tuesday night, and it sure seems like that’s an area they can and should look to use to their advantage against just about anybody the rest of the way, with or without McCullar.

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