Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Freshmen Supply All the Energy Jayhawks Need in 'Dud Game'

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Freshmen Supply All the Energy Jayhawks Need in 'Dud Game'

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- Kansas fans had two eyes on the court, and one nose sniffing out hot wings and chip dip Saturday while watching the No. 1 Jayhawks play basketball.

For entertainment, the Jayhawks gained little acclaim as they downed TCU 70-63 just in time for the sellout crowd in Allen Fieldhouse to flock to Chiefs watch parties.

Even Bill Self was distracted.

"Let's make this really quick," the KU coach said to begin his postgame remarks. "Not much crap to talk about."

Maybe the game met expectations coming off the triple-overtime thriller KU pulled out against Oklahoma the last time the barn was brimming.

But not for Self. He wanted his team to exert more energy coming off a loss at West Virginia. That night, the Mountaineers' press exhausted the Jayhawks from the outset.

In response, Self thought his team would bounce back with some fire against TCU. Instead, they went through the motions -- especially at the end when a 19-point lead slipped to the final margin of seven.

Good thing the opponent was TCU.

"I'm kind of struggling with it," said Self, "because I don't think we're playing with near as much energy as we did a week ago. We've talked a lot about it -- not from a punishment standpoint, but what was wrong. ...

"We didn't give it a chance (at WVU), because our energy level was slow. I thought today was very similar. We didn't give anything for the crowd to get excited about it."

For the most part.

At least the two freshmen Self used more than at any time in the early stages of Big 12 play provided a slight ripple.

You remember Cheick Diallo, the KU freshman who was in the news more when he was waiting for his eligibility to get cleared than he has been wearing a uniform.

The 6-foot-9 forward nearly managed a double-double, collecting nine points and nine rebounds, while setting a KU season-high with five blocks. Diallo actually shot the ball for the first time since the Big 12 opener against Baylor after totaling 12 minutes the previous three games. …

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