Monday night the Jayhawks met up with a hungry Texas A&M squad fresh off a top 5 national poll ranking and a big road win over Texas. Much like driving your grandfather’s classic car the evening began smooth and exciting. Early on it seemed that battle tested Jayhawks were to make an example out of the undermanned Aggies who limped into the contest. Then, as it often does with a young squad, Ku experienced a few bumps in the road. More like a few land mines.
The early dominating play set a tone that had you thinking halftime may be time to switch from the game to your favorite late night sitcom rerun, but hold that remote. Just as the Jayhawks seemed to be dominating on both sides of the court, the Aggies began to get open. Get open and make shots to be exact.
Ku led just under the 15 minute mark in the first half 11-0, only to see that margin escape them over the next several minutes. In fact, the Aggies took an 18 to 15 lead just under the 10 minute mark.
Kansas seemed to sputter on offense and be quite lost of defense to close out the remainder of the first half. Instead of feeding the inside scoring machines that have been there all season, they began shooting open jumpers. This kept the game within reach for Texas A&M who escaped into the visitor locker room with a 2 point halftime lead.
Only the players and staff would hear what was on coach Self’s mind during the halftime intermission, but even the commentators commented on the tongue lashing the KU squad would most certainly be receiving. The old Fieldhouse was surely rocking in the home locker room.
The first 5 minutes of the second half wasn’t much better. The guards were not penetrating the lane or finding the bigs. You could sense the Aggies daring the Jayhawks to pull the trigger on 3 point shots. They seemed to be open much like the first half, but the shots were not falling. Texas A&M was successfully dictating the speed of the game and had a 2 point lead with just under 15 minutes to go.
From that point on though, Kansas began to settle down and feed the paint. The guards began to penetrate the lane and force fouls. Kansas took an 8 point lead with just over 5 minutes to play and never really looked back. The final bell would sound with Kansas up 10, but the overall body of work left many with a bad taste.
And so it goes for these young Jayhawks this year. Very talented and at times the look of a veteran team, but in all actuality, still a body of work with rough edges. There will continue to be bumps in the road as the season continues, but when they get it right how far can this group go? Time will only tell.
The Jayhawks next face a scrappy Iowa State Saturday 1pm at the Hilton Coliseum.