The Jayhawks ran out to a quick 10-2 lead and increased their lead to fifteen points in the first half but could not pull away from the pesky Mountaineers. West Virginia did up their defensive intensity but the Jayhawks inept offensive production was largely due to their own doing. The Jayhawks had 16 turnovers, four more than their per game average, and went a dismal 18-34 (52.9%) from the charity stripe.
Self was uncharacteristically demonstrative on the sideline throughout the entire game. Self threw his hands up, yelled at officials consistently and shook his head at countless mistakes made by his No. 2 (AP) ranked squad. The Jayhawks are ranked No. 1 in USA Today Coaches Poll.
Nevertheless, the Jayhawks won their 18th straight game and improved to 19-1 overall and 7-0 in the Big 12 conference.
Although disappointed with his team’s performance, Self knows that his Jayhawks will most likely not shoot that poorly from the free throw line again or be forced to play at that slow of a pace. He also has to be satisfied with his team’s defensive performance allowing the Mountaineers to just 37% Field Goal just slightly over the 34.9% Field Goal Defense that leads the nation.
In addition, Self is aware that it is difficult to win on the road, especially in the Big 12 and especially when every program in the country is aiming for you. There are times when teams play their best and lose and other times when they don’t play their best and they win.
Tonight was the latter for the Jayhawks, but finding a way to win is the mark of a champion and should prove as a valuable lesson to Self’s squad as they move towards the remainder of their conference schedule.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo