Hoyas unable to stop No. 18 Kansas in 86-64 loss
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — On an afternoon in which three Georgetown players fouled out and his team sent No. 18 Kansas to the free throw line 46 times, Hoyas coach John Thompson III reached an obvious conclusion.
His team just wasn’t physical enough.
“I thought we were the farthest thing from it to be honest with you,” Thompson said without a trace of sarcasm. “We slapped and fouled, but we weren’t physical.”
The Jayhawks took advantage of the Hoyas’ foul trouble, overwhelming them in the second half with a variety of highlight-reel slams in an 86-64 victory Saturday.
“If you look at the game, we didn’t make enough of the physical plays,” Thompson said. “When I say that I mean a good box out. When I say that I mean if it’s a loose ball we have to be the one to aggressively go after it and come up with the 50-50 balls.”
Tarik Black came off the bench to score 17 points and Joel Embiid also had 17 for the Jayhawks (8-3), while Markel Starks paced Georgetown with 19 and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 12.
The Hoyas (7-3) tried to use the kind of muscle that has suited them so well in the rough-and-tumble Big East, but all they did was get into debilitating foul trouble. Bruising big man Josh Smith, who had been averaging 14.1 points, scored just five before fouling out.
Moses Ayegba and Nate Lubick also fouled out as Kansas asserted its dominance in the post.
“They did a good job of getting us in foul trouble and we got deep into the bench,” said Thompson, whose team was playing its first true road game. “Do we have a lack of depth? I don’t know. I don’t think necessarily the guys that were in foul trouble played particularly well.”
Andrew Wiggins added 12 points and Naadir Tharpe had 10 for the Jayhawks, who proved once more why the Phog is such an intimidating venue. Kansas pushed its non-conference home winning streak to 67 games by beating the Hoyas in their first visit to Allen Fieldhouse.
“This venue is storied,” Thompson said. “With that being said it wasn’t the venue or the fans, it was the guys down on the other bench that I thought played at a high level today.”
The game was so rough that Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis left early in the second half after taking an elbow to the back of his head. Ellis tried to stay in the game but missed a free throw so badly that he took himself out. He never returned from the locker room.
“If he had a concussion, it’s very, very slight,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He did bruise the nerve in his neck. ... It’s something he’ll be able to come back from in a short time.”
Just as every other team has done this season, Georgetown tried to combat the Jayhawks’ length and athleticism by employing a zone defense in the first half. The only problem was the Hoyas were so mired in foul trouble that they didn’t have anybody to occupy the inside.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game,” Lubick said. “We didn’t make the type of plays with our frontcourt that you need to make to come and win a game here.”
Kansas built its 44-34 lead thanks in part to a 14-3 run fueled by its defense. Georgetown at one point went more than 10½ minutes without a field goal.
Ayegba and Lubick had three fouls each by halftime, and three other Hoyas who spent time guarding the paint had picked up two fouls. That included Smith, who picked up his third in the opening minute of the second half and had to spend long stretches on the bench.
Georgetown tried to get back into the game midway through the second half, trimming its deficit to 59-47 on Jabil Trawick’s basket. But frustration boiled over for the Hoyas when Trawick clobbered Wiggins on the way to the basket, and the teams nearly came to blows.
Wiggins responded by knocking down a 3-pointer in Trawick’s face, and in a matter of minutes, the Jayhawks had built a comfortable lead. Embiid put an exclamation mark on it when he followed up a miss by Wiggins with a thunderous jam that left the entire goal shaking.
It set off a festive celebration of the Jayhawks’ first game at the Phog in 29 days.
“The last couple practices before this game, I told the guys it would be a fun game to come back home,” Tharp said. “I knew it was going to be exciting. I knew it was going to be turned up in there. It was just a good game.”