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Kansas’ 14 scholarship men’s basketball players and four walk-ons have headed home for a short, four-day Christmas vacation.

“We all came back on the (charter) plane last night. We got back at 11:30 (p.m.) since we didn’t play the game,” KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said Wednesday night while subbing for KU head coach Bill Self on Self’s Hawk Talk radio show. The Jayhawks’ nonconference game at Colorado was called off two hours before Tuesday’s scheduled 8 p.m. Central time tipoff because of COVID issues in CU’s program.

“The kids (Jayhawks) all got out of here this morning (Wednesday). Some of their flights started as early as 8:30. The last one got out of here at 3:30 (p.m.). They’ll be at their homes today,” Townsend explained. “They’ll come back the night of the 26th to practice at 7 that night. Everybody will have four good days with their families. Everybody got to go home. They’ll get a nice little break this year.”

Townsend said, in retrospect, the Jayhawks players were disappointed they were unable to play the Colorado game, which would have been held three days after KU’s narrow 80-72 home victory over Stephen F. Austin.

“We’d like to have played. We heard it was sold out,” Townsend said of CU Events Center, home of the Buffs. “Our guys were excited to play. But I think they understood what was most important (going home for holiday without being exposed to three Buffs’ players who tested positive Tuesday).”

Townsend offered his opinion on whether the canceled contest against CU will be replaced on the schedule at a date to be determined.

“I don’t think that one will be replaced. Now if something happens with the game against Harvard the 29th, that gives us some time to find somebody else who is supposed to play on the 29th who had a game. We could squeeze one in there,” Townsend said.

As of now, KU’s game against Harvard is still on. It is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 29 at Allen Fieldhouse.

“I think once we get to TCU (Big 12 opener on Jan. 1 in Lawrence) on New Year’s Day, we’ll have two games a week the rest of the way and we’ve got Kentucky smashed in there toward the end of January (Jan. 29 at Allen). We would have to play three games a week one time to do it. I’m not sure if we will unless other games get canceled like what happened last year and you have an open week before the Big 12 Tournament,” Townsend said.

Townsend did make the trip to Boulder with the team. He had missed Saturday’s Stephen F. Austin game because of the flu. Self said Townsend did not have COVID.

“It’s the first game I missed in 30 years of coaching,” Townsend said. “It was weird watching it on TV. Watching on TV is a lot more frustrating than watching in person. My wife sent me in the basement because I had the flu and I was down there I think using some bad words,” he added with a laugh.

“I talked to Kyle Keller (SFA coach and former KU video coordinator) today. We talked a half hour. They did a great job of changing up the defenses and keeping us off balance. They used a little bit of zone and man both. Our guys were not in rhythm with David (McCormack) getting two fouls early. We couldn’t play like we usually play trying to get the ball inside early. They have a good big man and were hard to guard.

“My take,” Townsend continued, “is we are not where we need to be defensively and it really showed that game. I think our defense is a little behind. We gave up too many open threes. too much dribble penetration.”

Townsend figures the No. 7-ranked Jayhawks may have had their minds on things besides basketball on Saturday.

“These kids are still kids. With finals going on and them getting ready to go home for Christmas and the students not being here, it’s different for them,” Townsend said. “In the big scheme of things we’ve got to get better. Those are the kind of teams we have to beat the first weekend the NCAA Tournament. It’s better to learn a lesson coming out on that (winning) side than we did against Dayton.”

KU will take a five game win streak into Christmas break. The Jayhawks only loss this season was 74-73 to Dayton in the semifinals of the ESPN Events Invitational on Nov. 26 in Florida.