Jeff Withey

Head basketball coach Rick Barnes chats with Kansas head coach Bill Self after their tow teams matched-up Saturday night. Kansas delivered the Longhorns another road loss as Texas continues to struggle in away competitions, losing all seven of them this season.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Texas will have to wait another year to steal a win at Allen Fieldhouse after getting pummeled 73-47 by Kansas on Saturday night.

The Longhorns made only two of their 21 three-point attempts and committed 16 turnovers in a game that could have ended up a lot worse for Texas. The loss drops the Longhorns to six games behind the Jayhawks (21-4, 9-3) in the Big 12 standings and to an overall record of 11-14 on the year. The Longhorns have lost all six of their Big 12 road games.

“Guys get away mentally from what we want to get done,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “That’s the thing that bothers me. Kansas is as good as anyone when they make shots.”

Texas’ 21.8-percent mark shooting the ball marks the worst shooting percentage in the Barnes era.

“You can’t coach making shots,” Barnes said. “All the things we talked about that we wanted to do, we didn’t do.”

Myck Kabongo scored a team-high 13 points with nine of those points coming from the free-throw line. Connor Lammert had seven points in the first half but scored just two more points before fouling out with under four minutes left in the game. After showing some signs of improvement in recent games, freshmen Demarcus Holland and Ioannis Papapetrou combined for just eight points. Fellow freshman Cameron Ridley missed on all five of his free throw attempts and, like Javan Felix, failed to score a single point.

The Jayhawks’ starters combined for 61 points, led by Jeff Withey and Travis Releford with 15 points each. Withey rounded out a double-double with 11 rebounds and two blocks, the second of which moved him in to sole possession of the Big 12 all-time block record with 265 career rejections. The record was previously held by Texas’ Chris Mihm.

“We had an emphasis on trying to get inside more but the outside shots kept coming open and we couldn’t make them,” Lammert said.

For much of the game the Jayhawks’ defensive pressure forced the Longhorns into hurried shots inside the lane, turnovers and eventually two shot-clock violations. Kabongo and Felix had several passes into the post tipped, leading to fast break opportunities for the Jayhawks.

“We did a good job making them uncomfortable shooting the ball in the second half,” Releford said.

Withey had a lot to do with Texas’ alarmingly low field goal percentage, but senior guard Elijah Johnson thinks the Jayhawks can get even more from the seven-footer.

“Frustration sets in for other teams when they have to take a detour around Jeff,” Johnson said. “We know how to use Jeff but right now we’re not doing it.”

Kansas scored 38 points in the paint, thanks in large part to Withey’s presence around the rim and Releford’s 4-of-5 night shooting from behind the three-point line. Freshman Ben McLemore picked Kabongo’s pocket late in the second half, taking the ball the length of the court and finishing with a 360-degree dunk that sent the home crowd in to all-out chaos.

A freshman on the other end of the talent spectrum from McLemore, walk-on Tyler Self, scored a basket with just under a minute to play which caused Allen Fieldhouse to roar even louder. Tyler, son of head coach Bill Self, was fouled on the play but would go on to miss the ensuing free throw attempt.

“That was a hard shot, but if he wouldn’t have gotten fouled it probably wouldn’t have had any chance to go in,” Self said. “I will probably hear at home how he needs to probably start getting more playing time.”

Texas will get another shot at its first road conference win when it takes on TCU in Fort Worth on Tuesday.

Published on February 18, 2013 as "Laugher in Lawrence". 

Texas head coach Rick Barnes looks on as his Longhorns fall by 26 points to Kansas. 

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Texas will have to wait another year to steal a win at Allen Fieldhouse after getting pummeled, 73-47, by Kansas on Saturday night. The loss drops the Longhorns to six games behind the Jayhawks (21-4, 9-3) in the Big 12 standings and to an overall record of 11-14 on the year. The Longhorns have lost all six of their Big 12 road games.

Texas’ 21.8 shooting percentage is the worst such mark in the Rick Barnes era (1998-present). The Longhorns made just two of their 21 three-point attempts and committed 16 turnovers in a game that could have ended up a lot worse.

“You can’t coach making shots,” Barnes said. “All the things we talked about that we wanted to do, we didn’t do.”

Myck Kabongo scored a team-high 13 points, with nine of those points coming from the free-throw line. Connor Lammert had seven points in the first half, but scored just two more points before fouling out with under four minutes left in the game. After showing some signs of improvement in recent games, freshmen Demarcus Holland and Ioannis Papapetrou combined for just eight points. Fellow freshman Cameron Ridley whiffed on all five of his free throw attempts and, like Javan Felix, failed to score a single point.

The Jayhawks’ starters combined for 61 points, led by Jeff Withey and Travis Releford, who scored 15 points each. Withey rounded out a double-double with 11 rebounds and two blocks, the second of which moved him into sole possession of the Big 12 all-time block record with 265 career rejections. The record was previously held by Texas’ Chris Mihm.

“We had an emphasis on trying to get inside more but the outside shots kept coming open and we couldn’t make them,” Lammert said.

For much of the game the Jayhawks’ defensive pressure forced the Longhorns into hurried shots inside the lane, turnovers and eventually back-to-back shot-clock violations.

“We did a good job making them uncomfortable shooting the ball in the second half,” Releford said.

Withey had a lot to do with Texas’ alarmingly low field goal percentage, but senior guard Elijah Johnson thinks the Jayhawks can get even more from the seven-footer.

“Frustration sets in for other teams when they have to take a detour around Jeff,” Johnson said. “We know how to use Jeff but right now we’re not doing it.”

Kansas scored 38 points in the paint, thanks in large part to Withey’s presence around the rim and Releford’s 4-of-5 night shooting from behind the three-point line. Freshman Ben McLemore picked Kabongo’s pocket late in the second half, taking the ball the length of the court and finishing with a 360-degree dunk that sent the home crowd in to all-out chaos. McLemore finished with 13 points.

“When they make shots and the crowd gets going it’s really hard to stop them,” Papapetrou said.

The Top 5 forwards/centers in the Big 12: KU's Jeff Withey leads a deep group of big men

With eight of the top-10 scorers in the Big 12 so far in the 2012-2013 season being guards, to say that guards have dominated would be an understatement. Despite this, the following big men have made tremendous contributions to their teams through the first half of conference play.

1. Jeff Withey, C, Kansas - Withey has followed up his record-setting NCAA tournament (31 blocks in the last year's tournament, breaking Joakim Noah’s mark of 29 in 2006), with a strong senior year in which he has averaged four blocks a game. With Thomas Robinson foregoing his senior season, Withey has been the go-to guy down low for the Jayhawks. Withey played solid in Kansas’ shocking loss to TCU on Wednesday night, with 12 points and eight rebounds which is just around his season averages. He is currently a projected first-round pick and should be consensus all Big 12.

2. Isaiah Austin, C, Baylor - Austin was the third-ranked recruit coming out of high school, according to ESPN, and is playing the part. Through ten games, he leads the Big 12 in rebounds a game grabbing 10.9 per contest, up from his 9.7 overall. Austin ranks eighth in the Big 12 in scoring (14) in Big 12 contests, and is tied with Melvin Ejim of Iowa State for the Big 12’s lead in double-doubles (nine). He is a projected top-10 pick in this summer’s draft, assuming he forgoes his remaining eligibility.

3. Romero Osby, F, Oklahoma - Osby’s play has been a big factor in Oklahoma’s midpoint turnaround of five Big 12 victories, after averaging only 4.7 wins in conference play the previous three years. Osby is scoring at a rate of 13.9 points per game, good for the most on the Sooners including a career-high 29 points against Texas. He is shooting 50.8 percent from the field for the year, and leads OU in rebounds with nearly seven boards a game for the season. Osby’s play in the second half of the season will be key for the Sooners if they are to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in the post-Blake Griffin era.

4. Cory Jefferson, F, Baylor - Though he does not get the attention of his counterpart, Austin, Jefferson has put together a solid season for the Bears and has shown massive improvement from his first two seasons in Waco. Jefferson has been a crucial piece of the Bears’ attack thus far, averaging 12.7 points and 8.4 boards a game for the season. He scored 18 points and grabbed 11 boards in Baylor’s 69-67 loss to Oklahoma State in
overtime Wednesday.

5. Melvin Ejim, F, Iowa State – Ejim is averaging almost a double-double a game for the Cyclones with 10.3 points and 9.4 boards per contest, and is tied with Baylor’s Austin for the lead in the double-double category at nine. For the year, Ejim’s rebounding total is the second best in the Big 12, despite being only 6-foot-6.

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Holmes, F, Texas; Aaric Murray, C, West Virginia

Texas could have issues with Kansas' bigs

Cameron Ridley dunks against UCLA in Dec. 2012. 
Cameron Ridley dunks against UCLA in Dec. 2012. 

The Longhorns have gotten off to a sluggish start in conference play in 2013, losing their first three games against Big 12 opponents.

Upsetting No. 4 Kansas on Saturday could go a long way in righting the ship for the Longhorns and would provide them with a much needed momentum kick, but the numbers suggest that Texas will have its hands full with the Kansas big men.

The Longhorns have had their fair share of trouble against post-up players this season, especially against premier opponents. Baylor big men Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson combined for 43 points and 22 rebounds in their win against Texas on Jan. 5, while Michigan State center Derrick Nix scored 25 points and grabbed 11 boards in a Dec. 22 victory.  

The Jayhawks will have the same opportunity to exploit the Texas front court, as their 7-foot, 235-lb. center Jeff Withey will easily be the biggest player on the court. The senior is enjoying a strong 2012-13 campaign, averaging 13.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while averaging just under 30 minutes per contest. Withey is also a terror on the defensive end, blocking 4.7 shots a game, second-best in the nation and identical to Anthony Davis’ clip a season ago.

A large component of Texas’ issues against big, physical back-to-the-basket players can be attributed to the Longhorns’ overall lack of size. Only one player, freshman Prince Ibeh, stands at 6 feet 10 inches, and he only averages 10.4 minutes per game. The freshman could see the floor more on Saturday in an attempt to compromise Withey, but the Kansas center still possesses considerably more size and experience.  

Texas has relied heavily on its perimeter scorers through 16 games, and this is a significant reason why its .401 field goal percentage ranks 304th in the nation. Longhorns big men Connor Lammert, Cameron Ridley and Jaylen Bond have each converted on less than half of their shot attempts, and because of this, Texas has lacked a dynamic scorer at the post positions all season. 

Kansas has not had this problem, as the Jayhawks are 13th in the nation with a .489 field goal percentage. They will be eager to exploit this mismatch against Texas, as Withey, Kevin Young and, to a lesser extent, Perry Ellis will each have the chance to score and rebound near the rim. And then, out on the perimeter, there’s freshman sensation Ben McLemore, who’s dealing with a tweaked ankle but is putting up 16.4 points per contest. 

Should Withey and company play well Saturday, it would not be an unprecedented occurrence as Kansas big men have given the Longhorns trouble over the years. Last season, Thomas Robinson racked up 25 points and 14 boards in his final home game, and in 2003 Nick Collison had one of the most memorable games in this rivalry’s history by registering 24 points and 23 rebounds in a 90-87 win.  

The Longhorns will be hungry to make a statement this Saturday at home against Kansas, but the inside presence of the Jayhawks should make this difficult.

Clint Chapman had his best game of the season against one of the best teams in the conference Saturday afternoon, but even that wasn’t enough to help the Longhorns pull out the upset. And don’t tell him that his performance is worthy of a moral victory.

“It’s hard to take any positives out of something like this because this is a program built on winning,” Chapman said.

“Losing by three points is still a loss in the win-loss column. If you base your program on moral victories, you can’t grow.”

Still, Chapman’s stat line was impressive. He notched 15 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and one assist in 34 minutes, numbers way above his season averages. On the glass, Chapman had the tough task of keeping Kansas’ seven-footer away from the ball, but found the grit to keep Jeff Withey in check.

“Playing 19 minutes in the second half is something I’ve never done before. We wanted to be physical with [Withey], and we hit him early. That was my mentality, especially when it came to rebounding. If I wasn’t going to get the rebound then he definitely wasn’t going to get it.”

It was just the kind of game he needed after being called out by the media on a few occasions for his lack of physicality.

But it wasn’t just his newly-displayed tough guy mentality that helped fuel Texas’ furious comeback. Chapman was the emotional leader of team Saturday, a role that has been vacant much of the season.

After making a pair of free throws to give Texas its only lead of the game, Chapman made his way to center court and pumped his fists to urge the Frank Erwin Center, and its biggest basketball crowd of the year, to get even louder.

Rick Barnes was pleased with Chapman’s work in the paint, and was even frustrated that the team didn’t look for him and the other bigs inside early in the game.

“Early in the game, we wanted to run and run hard and post up, and I’m telling you early in the game, [Texas’ big men] were there,” Barnes said. “And we never even looked at them. So that’s the plays you’ve got to make.”

With a game like Saturday’s behind him, Chapman will likely see more playing time as the daunting Big 12 schedule roars on. It’s a position he hasn’t been in before, but is happy to fill because he only cares about one thing — wins.

“Confidence can always help you, but we want to win games,” he said. “That is the most important thing right now.