The Jayhawks out-played West Virginia in different stretches of the second half on Saturday. Kansas head coach David Beaty likes the fight he saw from his team at half, but he isn’t in the mood to talk about playing games close.
“I don’t believe in moral victories,” Beaty said. “I believe in winning and losing. We don’t give out medals for losing around here. We don’t do any of that stuff. The focus is on trying to win the next day so we can create the product that we want.”
What Beaty and his staff can do, is use the fact they cut West Virginia’s lead to one score and for the most part dominated the third quarter.
“What that does is reinforce to me that the way we are communicating and developing our philosophies in regard to always being in a perfect situation in our mind that you need to extend the game,” Beaty said. “If you are down by multiple points you always believe that you have a chance. You are always fighting to get within one score and being able to be within striking distance at the end of the game. That is extremely important.”
Falling behind early but getting back in game has been a pattern
One of the keys for the Jayhawks is finding a way to stay in the game early. The last three games they have been outscored 84-33 going into the locker room at halftime.
“Getting off to a good start is critical for us as we move forward,” Beaty said. “It is something that has plagued us this year. We simply can’t do that. I don’t know of many teams that can to be honest with you.”
After trailing big in all of those games at half the Jayhawks have come out in the third and played well. They got back in striking distance in those three contests. But once they have fought to put themselves in position to challenge after the half, they weren’t able to keep pace.
“In the last three games we haven’t come out on top we had to fight back coming out of halftime and we have done that,” Beaty said. “We haven’t been able to sustain it. I told our guys I felt like we controlled the third quarter and also controlled the fourth quarter in a different way. I give West Virginia credit because they kept plugging and did a good job coaching and that’s why they won the game.”
Herbert answered Beaty's challenge
Khalil Herbert’s 291 yards was the third-best single game performance in Kansas history. In the first two games Herbert only had three carries for 10 yards.
That’s when Beaty and coaching staff challenged him.
“I said last year that I thought he had the potential to be one of the better ones that we have had particularly in the times that I’ve been here,” Beaty said. “We knew he had a terrific skill set and after the first game he did not played great that first game.
“After the (first) game we talked and I challenged him a little bit to not let the game come to him but take it to the game. He made the adjustments in practice and the byproduct has been exactly what we thought he could do. He did not come out of nowhere. We have some good backs here.”