The Kansas Jayhawks narrowly avoided another upset loss, turned around thanks to a Bill Self speech at halftime.
No. 7 Kansas came close to another upset loss on Wednesday, trailing Chattanooga at halftime 36-28, just two days after a disappointing 67-64 loss to No. 21 Michigan State. The Jayhawks were dominated in the half by freshman Farad Cobb, who was 6-of-7 from 3-point range for 18 points with senior guard Elijah Johnson struggling to cover the 6'0 shooter.
That's when coach Bill Self stepped in and delivered a halftime speech that woke up his team to get them back on the right track, according to Gary Bedore of LJWorld.com.
"Then he kind of challenged us," said Johnson. "He said, 'You've got to wake up, snap out of it and we've got to play Kansas basketball.' We couldn't end the game like that. He challenged the seniors. I felt me, Jeff (Withey), Kevin (Young) and Travis (Releford) put the team on our back and did what we needed to do to get the win."
Kansas outscored Chattanooga 41-19 in the second half, a dominant performance that showcased why the Jayhawks are a top 10 team in the nation and a contender for the national title in the spring. Led by guard Ben McLemore, Kansas opened the second half with a 19-1 run that erased the deficit and then extended that to a 33-7 run overall. McLemore finished with 25 points.
The Jayhawks (2-1, 0-0) will next face Washington State (2-0, 0-0) on Monday, Nov. 19 at 9 p.m. CT.