Kansas Basketball: Auburn loss showed Jayhawks struggles throughout season


Auburn's Chuma Okeke (5) grabs a rebound from Kansas forward David McCormack (33) as Auburn's Austin Wiley (50) watches during the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Salt Lake City.

"We've developed a confidence and a trust in one another and our depth as the season has progressed", Pearl said. We get out in transition, knock down shots.

Lawson closed the night leading the Jayhawks in scoring for the 21 time on the season and tallied his 21 double-double in the process.

Junior forward Dedric Lawson delivered his 22nd double-double of the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes.

Auburn thoroughly dismantled Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to punch the program's first ticket to the Sweet 16 since 2003. Facing a 12 seed in New Mexico State, a late foul by Bryce Brown on a wing three pointer, nearly took them out of the tournament right then and there. Point guard Jared Harper added 18 points and six assists.

Auburn has believed for months that it's among the nation's best teams. But the closest Kansas (26-10) got the rest of the way came after two free throws by K.J. Lawson and a three-point play by Quentin Grimes, both of which cut the Auburn lead to 14 in the final 2 minutes.

The Tigers sank nine three-pointers in the first half and finished with 13 for the game.

The aggressive Tigers (28-9), who advanced to Friday's Sweet 16 contest against either North Carolina or Washington at the Sprint Center, raced to a 19-point lead, 34-15, in just 11 minutes.

Led by Brown, Auburn made 13 3-pointers against Kansas, breaking the program's record for made 3′s in an NCAA Tournament game.

"We've got some firepower". "He has all the confidence in us, so that makes us play even better". They were fantastic. We hadn't seen an onslaught like that all year.

In that game, Villanova shooters went insane from beyond the arc, hitting 18 of 40 three-pointers. Add those games, the plane trip, and the first round of March Madness four days later, and it equals a very exhausted group of young men with a lot of heart.

"The thing that I'm most proud of is just graduating our kids, and the fact that we've been successful and we've won every place we've been", Pearl said in a postgame interview with ESPN. "They rattled us and we didn't respond very well".

It never happened - although the radio crew did dry out - and a Kansas basketball season fraught with frustration, difficulty and disappointment ended with a bunch of young players battling and a whimper.

KU's 75 points were its fewest in a NCAA Tournament game since an Elite 8 loss against OR on March 25, 2017 in which Kansas was held to 60 points. The Jayhawks would be unable to get within 10 for the remainder of the game.

A tough season ended with a thud for Kansas.