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'This is very embarrassing': KU basketball suffers historic 84-59 defeat to Texas

Jayhawks' 25-point defeat ties record for team's worst loss inside Allen Fieldhouse

Matt Galloway
Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self puts his hands over his face in the final minutes of Saturday's home game against Texas in Lawrence. The No. 3-ranked Jayhawks lost 84-59, tied for the team's most lopsided defeat in the history of Allen Fieldhouse.

LAWRENCE — Safe to say Kansas basketball won’t be lacking for New Year’s resolutions in 2021.

Texas made quite sure of that.

The No. 3-ranked Jayhawks fell flat in their first contest out of the holiday break, tumbling 84-59 to the No. 8 Longhorns in a stunning shellacking Saturday. It was a historic setback for KU, with the 25-point margin of defeat tying a dubious record for the program’s most lopsided loss ever inside Allen Fieldhouse.

“There was no doubt,” said KU head coach Bill Self, “who the best team was today.”

The outcome snapped a 17-game winning streak in Big 12 play for the Jayhawks (8-2, 2-1 Big 12), who also saw their 13-game stretch of home success broken.

“I think the message is pretty obvious, that this doesn’t happen in the Fieldhouse,” said KU redshirt freshman guard Jalen Wilson. “This hasn’t happened in 18 years (under Self). This is very embarrassing. We’re a really good team and today we didn’t show what we were capable of and how we actually play.”

In the postgame locker room, Self reiterated to his players his belief that this is a “good team.” That said, he told them they did nothing to muddy the game defensively, a recipe for disaster against the capable and athletic Longhorns.

Beyond that, though, Self tempered his criticism.

"We’ve already got our ass kicked once today. We didn’t need to have it kicked again in the locker room,” Self said. “But we’ve got to regroup. We’ve got to decide if we want to be a team that makes other people play bad, and that’s what we take the most pride in, because it certainly didn’t look like that today.”

Texas, which improved to 2-18 all-time at Allen Fieldhouse, raced out to a 10-2 lead and never trailed. The Longhorns (8-1, 2-0) went 12 for 26 from 3-point range in the victory, draining their first six tries from beyond the arc in the second half to turn what was a four-point game into a laugher.

Courtney Ramey led the way with 18 points and three made 3s for Texas, which got at least one made trey from seven different players. Jericho Sims, the only Longhorn without a trey, finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Andrew Jones (14 points), Matt Coleman (13) and Kai Jones (12) rounded out the visitors' double-figure scorers.

The Jayhawks were down 41-37 three minutes after intermission following a Wilson 3. But that’s when Texas went on a team run of six consecutive made 3s, with Donovan Williams’ conversion giving the Longhorns a 59-45 lead with 11:08 remaining.

KU trailed by double figures the rest of the way. 

Self said his players were “basically done” emotionally after that salvo.

“There was a blank stare in the huddles after they started that second-half barrage with about 15 (minutes) left,” Self said. “It goes from being, ‘OK, now we’ve got this, now we’re coming, now we’re going to play,’ and something bad happens and there were a lot of blank stares after that. We’ve got to become much tougher mentally and we’ve got to be able to grind through bad things, and today we didn’t do that. But give them credit: They weren’t going to allow us to do that.”

The Jayhawks didn’t record their own made 3 until the final minute of the first half and finished the game 3 for 23 on long-range attempts just one contest after a 16-for-37 showing from 3 in a 79-65 home victory over West Virginia on Dec. 22. 

“I don’t even think it was (Texas’) 3-point defense. I think we had a lot of open looks,” Wilson said. “They may have been out there a little bit more switching up before we got the ball, but I’d say we were just missing our shots that we usually hit.”

Wilson’s 20 points and seven rebounds were both team-highs for KU, which shot just 30.8% from the floor in the blowout.

“I just think that we let down the fans,” Wilson said. “We only get so many in there, so it’s just kind of disappointing the way we came out when we can do so much more than that.”

The Jayhawks’ other four starters more than labored Saturday.

Ochai Agbaji had 11 points but went 1 for 6 from 3. Christian Braun (four points) missed all five of his deep tries, while Marcus Garrett (six points) couldn’t connect on his only attempt. Lone starting big David McCormack was largely ineffective, scoring eight points on 0-for-4 shooting with five rebounds and playing just four second-half minutes.

“We have each other's backs,” Agbaji said. “This is something we need to go through, sometime we needed, I feel like. But we’re going to stay together and stay positive and look forward to our game Tuesday (at TCU).”

After a run of three straight games versus top-25 opponents, KU will look to bounce back from Saturday’s result in a 9 p.m. Tuesday tilt against the unranked Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We can’t hold our heads on this,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a road game coming up on Tuesday, so we only get a couple of days to prepare for them. Just know that I think last year this happened around the same time with Baylor, so we’ve just got to take care of business, learn from this game and move on.”

NO. 8 TEXAS 84, NO. 3 KANSAS 59

Texas (8-1, 2-0 Big 12)

A. Jones 5-14 2-2 14, Coleman 4-7 4-4 13, Ramey 7-11 1-1 18, Brown 2-6 0-0 5, Sims 5-6 1-2 11, Williams 2-9 2-2 8, K. Jones 4-7 2-3 12, Cunningham 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 30-61 12-14 84.

Kansas (8-2, 2-1 Big 12)

Garrett 3-9 0-0 6, Braun 2-10 0-0 4, Wilson 6-13 6-8 20, Agbaji 5-14 0-0 11, McCormack 0-4 8-8 8, Grant-Foster 2-5 1-4 5, Harris 0-3 0-0 0, Jossell 0-1 0-0 0, Enaruna 2-6 1-2 5, Muscadin 0-0 0-0 0, Lightfoot 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-65 3-23 16-22.

Half — Texas 37-29. 3-point goals — Texas 12-26 (Ramey 3-5, A. Jones 2-6, Williams 2-6, K. Jones 2-3, Cunningham 1-1, Brown 1-3, Coleman 1-2), Kansas 3-23 (Wilson 2-6, Agbaji 1-6, Enaruna 0-1, Jossell 0-1, Harris 0-1, Grant-Foster 0-2, Garrett 0-1, Braun 0-5). Rebounds — Texas 46 (Sims 12), Kansas 37 (Wilson 7). Assists — Texas 12 (Coleman 6), Kansas 6 (Garrett 4). Turnovers — Texas 16 (Ramey 4, Brown 4), Kansas 12 (Braun 4). Blocks — Texas 2 (Sims, Williams), Kansas 5 (Lightfoot 2). Steals — Texas 7 (Ramey 2, Brown 2), Kansas 8 (Garrett 3). Total fouls — Texas 18, Kansas 16. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none. Officials — Sirmons, Natili, Smith. A — 2,500.

Texas players celebrate a 3-pointer by senior guard Matt Coleman III as Kansas freshman guard Dajuan Harris Jr. walked toward the bench in the second half of Saturday's game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. The No. 8-ranked Longhorns won 84-59.
Kansas junior guard Ochai Agbaji holds onto a rebound against Texas sophomore forward Kai Jones in the second half of Saturday's game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. The No. 3-ranked Jayhawks lost 84-59.
Kansas junior guard Tyon Grant-Foster looks on after a Texas score in the first half of Saturday's game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. The Longhorns won 84-59.
Kansas junior forward David McCormack looks at a towel after wiping his face in the first half of Saturday's game against Texas at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
Kansas senior forward Mitch Lightfoot blocks a shot by Texas sophomore guard Donovan Williams in the first half of Saturday's game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
Texas senior forward Jericho Sims dunks in the first half of Saturday's game against Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
Kansas senior guard Marcus Garrett makes a layup in the first half of Saturday's game against Texas at Allen Fieldhouse.