Kansas edges all-star team 91-87 in first game under new coach
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- In Bill Self's first game as coach of the storied Kansas basketball team, the Jayhawks struggled before rallying late to take a 91-87 exhibition victory over a touring all-star team Tuesday night.
Self coached at Illinois the last three years, then got the Kansas job after Roy Williams, who took the Jayhawks to the NCAA championship game last season, left to coach North Carolina. Self also has coached at Tulsa and Oral Roberts.
Making his debut before the usual capacity crowd in Allen Fieldhouse, the new coach found his team down by seven points at the half against the EA Sports All-Stars, a team of former college players that lost to Wyoming by 10 on Saturday.
And the All-Stars later stretched their second-half lead to 10 points before the Jayhawks asserted themselves with a 22-10 run keyed by four transition baskets from junior guard Michael Lee.
They still trailed 74-72 with 4:52 to play, but two straight baskets by Lee to start an 8-0 run gave them their first lead of the second half.
Lee started in place of Keith Langford, who averaged 15.9 points a game last season but was held out because of soreness in his right knee, on which he had arthoscopic surgery Sept. 30.
"Some of it was because we're still adapting," Lee, who finished with 11, said of the Jayhawks' shaky start. "But a lot of it was because of a lack of effort. They got a lot of wide open shots in transition. We weren't on the offensive boards at all. We weren't boxing out. We just weren't playing like we should have been playing."
Kansas had won 18 straight home exhibition games over the past decade, and although the Jayhawks got off to an 18-10 lead the All-Stars used long-range shooting and Kansas turnovers to get back in the game.
"We started making some 3-pointers, and it started to change their game plan," said EA Sports coach Price Johnson.
The All-Stars were 16-for-33 from beyond the arc, while Kansas was only 2-for-10. Former West Virginia guard Mike Brownlee hit seven of the 3-pointers and led his team with 26 points, with Robert O'Kelly adding 18.
"We won't play a team this year with a freer mind than those guys," said Self. "We won't play a team with more experience that knows how to play. We were put in some situations today that we may not face the rest of the year. We weren't prepared for some things because we hadn't even talked about them."
"No one needs to start panicking," said Jeff Graves, who scored 11 for Kansas. "Everyone needs to be confident in our team and keep cheering. We'll get better."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index