Davidson Shocks Kansas In Kansas City

By: DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer (Posted by J.B. Bauersfeld)
By: DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer (Posted by J.B. Bauersfeld)
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 19:  Travis Releford #24 of the Kansas Jayhawks looks to the ref on a jumpball during the game against the Davidson Wildcats on December 19, 2011 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 19: Travis Releford #24 of the Kansas Jayhawks looks to the ref on a jumpball during the game against the Davidson Wildcats on December 19, 2011 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Nik Cochran scored 21 points, including a clutch 3-pointer in the closing minutes, and Davidson shocked No. 12 Kansas 80-74 on Monday night to exact a little bit of revenge over an epic NCAA tournament loss three years ago.

JP Kuhlman added 15 points and De’Mon Brooks had 13 for the Wildcats (7-3), who led the final 23-plus minutes to knock off the defending Big 12 champs in their home away from home.

The Jayhawks (7-3) had won 13 of the 15 games they had played at the Sprint Center, about a 30-minute drive from their campus in Lawrence, including the last two Big 12 titles. The losses also came out of conference—to Syracuse and Massachusetts.

It was the first meeting between the schools since the NCAA regional final in 2008, when Stephen Curry led the Wildcats on an inspired postseason run. Kansas managed a 59-57 victory when a last-second shot by Davidson’s Jason Richards clanked off the rim, and the Jayhawks would go on to win the fifth national championship in school history.

Thomas Robinson had 21 points and 18 rebounds for the Jayhawks. Tyshawn Taylor came back from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee to get 15 points and seven assists, while Elijah Johnson finished with 15 points.

Kansas was coming off a win over No. 2 Ohio State and a lengthy break for final exams, though most of the game it looked as if they were still on break.

Davidson was clinging to a 68-65 lead with 1:31 left and the shot clock winding down when Cochran took a pass from well beyond the 3-point line, squared up to the rim and let go a shot that hit nothing but net. Taylor couldn’t match it at the other end, his 3 clanking off the front of the rim, and Davidson managed to seal it from the free throw line.

Both teams went through long scoreless droughts, dreadful shooting slumps and a mishmash of turnovers and missed opportunities that prevented the game from having any type of flow.

Kansas finished 25 of 62 from the field (40.3 percent), but just 6 of 23 from beyond the 3-point line. The Jayhawks were also 18 of 31 from the free throw line.

Bill Self’s crew must have figured it was in for a long night when they missed their first four shots and turned it over on their other possession. Davidson took advantage by running out to a 9-3 lead with 14:38 left in the half, forcing Self to call his second frustration timeout.

Kansas pulled within 15-13 later in the half before Davidson again stretched the lead, this time pulling ahead 23-15 after a basket by Brooks and consecutive 3s by Jake Cohen and Tyler Kalinoski.

Johnson finally sparked the sleepy Jayhawks with a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key, starting a 13-0 run. Robinson converted a three-point play and added another free throw, Johnson hit another 3-pointer, and Connor Teahan’s 3 from the corner gave Kansas a 28-26 lead.

But the juxtaposition of Davidson’s veteran poise—four starters returned from last season’s team—with the inexperience of Kansas became evident. The Wildcats responded to adversity by scoring the next six points, and carried a 33-32 lead into halftime at a silenced Sprint Center.

It never got very loud in the second half.

Every time Kansas tried to go on a run, Davidson coach Bob McKillop was quick to call a timeout, and his veteran bunch managed to answer nearly every basket with one of their own, ultimately pulling out a victory that snapped a two-game losing streak in most impressive fashion.

______________________________________________________

KU Release:

No. 12/11 Kansas Falls to Hot-Handed Davidson, 80-74

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the third time in 16 trips to the Sprint Center, No. 12 Kansas took a loss, falling to Davidson in the annual M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout Monday night, 80-74.

In their first meeting since Kansas (7-3) defeated Davidson (7-3) on its way to the 2008 Final Four, it was the Jayhawks that got off to a slow start from which they would never recover, shooting 1-for-10 to open the game. Davidson took advantage, firing out to an 11-point lead in both the first and second halves – KU’s first double-digit deficits since falling with then-No. 6 Kentucky last month.

The loss marked the first in Kansas City since a 61-60 loss to UMass on Dec. 13, 2008, and snapped the Jayhawks’ four-game win streak.

In the opening half, Kansas replaced the slow start with a 17-7 run to cut the Davidson lead to one, for the Jayhawks’ first halftime deficit of the season. The rally wouldn’t be repeated in the second frame. After KU cut its deficit to three under the three-minute mark, Davidson matched its free-throw shooting to its three-point accuracy to control the final minutes of the game.

Although both teams connected on 25 field goals Monday night, Davidson’s proved more potent. KU allowed 11 Wildcat three-pointers, tying then-No. 6 Duke’s 11 threes for the most the Jayhawks have surrendered from behind the arc this season.

Defensively, the Jayhawks forced nine steals, led by junior guard Travis Releford’s career-high four, but KU struggled to find the same success offensively.

Senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor earned the start just eight days after undergoing knee surgery, and dished out seven assists, his second-highest assist output of the year to add to his 15 points. Fellow guard Elijah Johnson helped the recovering Taylor, with 15 points of his own.

Junior forward Thomas Robinson paced the Jayhawk offense, as he needed just two more rebounds to reach the double-double mark in the first half alone. His night would end with 21 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the year.

Davidson entered Monday night’s contest as the country’s third-best team from the free-throw line at an 80 percent accuracy and proved it in the final minutes to defeat its first ranked opponent of the season. Junior guard Nik Cochran leads the Southern Conference and ranks No. 6 in the country from the charity stripe. He went 7-for-8 from the line and led the Wildcats with 21 points.

A pair of quick layups in less than 90 seconds prompted an early timeout from KU head coach Bill Self as Davidson fired out to a 7-0 lead. By the first media timeout, the Jayhawks were shooting a cold 1-for-7, and would move to 1-for-10 before an alley-oop pass to junior center Jeff Withey and a Robinson layup sparked the 6-0 run that erased the early deficit.

Just as quickly, Davidson knocked down back-to-back threes to pull ahead again by the second media timeout. Three-pointers would help the visiting Wildcats keep their distance through much of the first half as the Jayhawks continued to chip Davidson’s lead to a single possession, only to face another Wildcat trey on the opposing end. With eight minutes to play in the opening frame, Davidson had five threes to its credit and would finish the first half with six.

Following the last media timeout of the first half, the Jayhawks took their first lead off the heels of a Conner Teahan three-point basket, 28-26. After starting the game a dismal 1-for-10, Kansas cranked out a 10-for-18 effort to close the half. Although the rally nearly diminished the Wildcats’ advantage, Kansas went to the locker room trailing at halftime for the first time this season, 33-32.

Johnson dunked a well-executed inbounds play and knot the score, 38-38, to spark what would be a back-and-forth battle for the majority of the final half. Though Kansas continued to look for consistent rhythm, KU utilized a grind-it-out mentality to find ways to keep it close. Withey drew a foul on a shot under the basket to bring Kansas within a point, 45-44.

Just as they did in the first half, the Wildcat shooters responded from behind the arc. A Robinson dunk brought the sold-out Sprint Center crowd to its feet and forced a Davidson timeout, but still found the Jayhawks down, 53-50, under the midway point of the second half.

Junior guard JP Kuhlman hit Davidson’s 10th three-pointer of the game to push the visitors back to a four-point spread under the five-minute mark. Releford’s put back layup kept Kansas within three, 64-61, as the final media timeout approached.

From there, however, six-straight Davidson free throws and a three from Cochran built a lead Kansas couldn’t catch, 73-65. Taylor stepped up for a pair of late threes, but the effort came too late. Three more free throws from Cochran sealed the Davidson victory, 80-74.

UP NEXT

No. 12 Kansas will head west to play USC in Los Angeles, Calif., on Dec. 22. Tip-off is set for 10 p.m. CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Net. KU will return home to play Howard on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m., on Jayhawk IMG Television.

DAVIDSON 80, KANSAS 74
Postgame Notes
Dec. 19, 2011

KANSAS STARTERS (Career/Season): F Thomas Robinson (13/10); C Jeff Withey (11/10); G Tyshawn Taylor (98/9); G Elijah Johnson (18/10); G Travis Releford (14/10)

Kansas’ Loss…
… Drops Kansas to 7-3 on the season
… Knots the KU-Davidson series at 1-1 all-time … Snaps KU’s four-game winning streak … Drops the Jayhawks’ all-time record to 13-3 at Sprint Center and 212-84 all-time in Kansas City. It was KU’s first loss at the Sprint Center since bowing 61-60 to UMass on Dec. 13, 2008.
… Moved head coach Bill Self to 451-154 overall, 244-49 at Kansas and 1-1 against Davidson … Dropped KU to 2,045-802 all-time

TEAM NOTES:

- Kansas trailed at the half for the first time this season.

- KU’s 58.1 percent from the free throw line was its worst of the season.

- The Jayhawks shot just 40.3 percent from the field, which is their second-lowest percentage of the year.

- KU’s 15 offensive rebounds were a season high.

- Davidson’s 11 three-point field goals tied the most by a KU opponent this season (Duke).

- Davidson’s Nik Cochran’s 21 points tied the most points scored by a Jayhawk opponent this season (William Buford, Ohio State).

- Davidson’s 80 points tied for the most points allowed by the Jayhawks this season (Long Beach State), while the Wildcats’ 47 second half points tied the most points in half by a KU opponent this year (Kentucky).

- KU’s 74 points were the most by the Jayhawks in a loss since falling at Oklahoma State, 85-77, on Feb. 27, 2010.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES:

- Junior G Travis Releford collected a career-high four steals in the game, all of which came in the first half. It also tied for the most by a Jayhawk this season (Thomas Robinson, South Florida).

- Junior F Thomas Robinson recorded a career-high 18 rebounds in the game, marking his third game of the season with 15-plus boards. It marked the most rebounds by a Jayhawk since Cole Aldrich had 18 boards against Texas Tech on March 11, 2010.

- Robinson’s 18 rebounds, 14 defensive rebounds and four offensive boards matched season highs by a Jayhawk this season.

- Robinson also had a team-high 21 points, marking his eighth double-double of the season and 13th of his career.

- Junior G Elijah Johnson’s 10 three-point attempts were the most by a Jayhawk since Tyrell Reed had 10 attempts against Colorado State on Dec. 11 of last year.

- Johnson’s six assists were the most since he had a season-high eight dimes against Towson in the first regular season game of the year.

- Senior G Tyshawn Taylor’s three steals were a season high. It gave him 130 steals for his career, which moved him into 22nd-place all-time, ahead of Clinton Johnson and Keith Langford.

- Taylor’s 15 points moved him into 40th on KU’s all-time scoring list, passing Charlie Black, with 1,091 points in his career.

- Taylor’s seven assists moved him into 11th on KU’s all-time list, passing Mark Turgeon, with 438 career dimes.

- Senior G Conner Teahan matched a season-high with five rebounds.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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