KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fred Hoiberg prides himself on keeping his cool.
“The Mayor” is as even-keel as they come — a positive trait he learned to develop when he played in the NBA.
So when Hoiberg drew a rare technical foul in the first half of Friday’s upset 94-83 win over Kansas in the Big 12 Championship semifinals, he’d stepped fully out of character.
“I came on the floor because it was the media timeout,” explained Hoiberg, who never got T’d up as a player and had only experienced it once as a coach — in a 2012 NCAA Tournament loss to eventual champion Kentucky. “I didn’t come out to protest the call.”
Still, after the technical, the Jayhawks completed the last half of a 16-0 run.
“I put a lot of that on me,” said Hoiberg, who added a magic word may have led to the whistle. “I thought we got a little unraveled out there and unnerved when I got my T. And once we got back in the next timeout, I told them, ‘Everybody take a deep breath, me included. Let’s get back out there and play with poise again.’ And that’s what we did.”
Hoiberg confirmed that before the game he wrote “No Ts” on a dry erase board.
“About time,” joked Cyclone guard DeAndre Kane, who scored the first five points after the Jayhawks’ big run, and finished with 20. “Coach is so nice. That fired us up a little bit. Seeing him like that gets you going because he’s never like that. And when he’s like that, there’s probably a reason.”
Hoiberg said he probability deserved it.
“I try to stay as calm as I can,” Hoiberg said. “Maybe we needed a little spark when it happened, but, again, I thought we just — it wasn’t us out there after I got it. So I probably won’t get another one.”
BIG E: Big man Daniel Edozie logged the most minutes (8) in a game against a Big 12 foe he’s had all season.
One reason: His defense.
Another: He helps foul-prone stars such as Georges Niang (25 points) and Melvin Ejim (19 points) rest and avoid picking up calls in bunches.
“Stay ready every minute,” Edozie, who had a 3-point play early in the second half, said of his approach.
Edozie also prevented a monstrous dunk by Kansas star Andrew Wiggins.
He fouled him instead — and Wiggins went 1 for 2 from the line.“You know what? I absolutely thought about it at the very last second,” Edozie said of potentially being poster-ized. “I was, ‘Uh-oh, I’m not going to be on the SportsCenter Top 10,’ so I contested it.”