A visit to TCU might be what Kansas needs to rebound from its first regular-season conference loss in almost a year.
Looking for a 10th straight road victory, the fifth-ranked Jayhawks can get back on track by keeping the Horned Frogs winless in the Big 12 on Wednesday night.
Riding a nation-leading 18-game winning streak and a 33-game run at Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas (19-2, 7-1) was stunned 85-80 by Oklahoma State on Saturday. The result also snapped the Jayhawks' 15-game regular-season league winning streak that dated to a 74-71 loss at then-No. 4 Missouri on Feb. 4, 2012.
"It's one of those things that's not broken, it's not panic time, but it is a wake-up call to say we need to fix some things," Bill Self said.
Kansas shot 41.0 percent and committed 16 turnovers for the second straight game while yielding 26.3 points more than its average coming into the contest.
Ben McLemore scored 23 as the Jayhawks rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit before falling short. Point guard Elijah Johnson had an open look at a 3-point attempt to tie the game late, but he committed a turnover that allowed the Cowboys to seal the upset with a layup at the buzzer.
Johnson continues to struggle while boasting a meager 1.52 assist-to-turnover ratio. He's recorded the same number of assists and turnovers (19) over a five-game stretch where he's averaged 7.2 points on 12-of-47 shooting (25.5 percent).
Though Johnson was benched briefly near the end of Saturday's game, Self will stick with the senior at the point.
"For us to have any chance of being a national contender and competing at the highest level, your best players have to play good, and he is without question one of our best players," Self said. "He is my guy and will remain my guy, period."
McLemore continues to be Self's most consistent scoring option, averaging 16.4 points and shooting 50.9 percent. He could be in for a big game against TCU (9-12, 0-8), which ranks last in conference play in opponents field-goal percentage (47.5).
The Horned Frogs' winless start to their first Big 12 season is the school's longest slide since a 13-game skid from Jan. 15-March 2, 2011, Self, however, will make sure his team stays focused while attempting to win 10 straight on the road for the first time since an 11-game run that spanned the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.
This is the first meeting since Kansas improved to 4-0 versus TCU with a 93-74 win Dec. 9, 2004.
"(TCU is) going to be competitive," Self said. "I know, or at least I believe, our guys will be very excited to get back on the court and play."
Averaging 48.9 points and shooting 35.3 percent in league play, TCU went 17 of 52 (32.7 percent) from the field in Saturday's 60-43 loss at Texas.
"We're going to fight, keep playing hard," coach Trent Johnson said. "We're not a great shooting team, there's no secret about that. Still, some of those kids have to step up.'
Guard Kyan Anderson averages a team-leading 11.2 points but has totaled 11 on 4-of-18 shooting (22.2 percent) in the last two contests.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved