PHILADELPHIA — Kansas junior wing Marcus Garrett, who has started every game this season for the top-ranked Jayhawks, left Saturday’s 56-55 loss to No. 18 Villanova after suffering what appeared to be a right leg or ankle injury.
Garrett left the game with just over five minutes left in the first half, appearing to grab his right ankle while on the floor. He was helped off the court and went directly to the locker room. Kansas coach Bill Self told the Fox broadcast at halftime that Garrett wouldn’t return to the game.
Garrett was with his teammates on the bench for the second half.
“He’s our toughest kid. So if he says he can’t play, it’s probably not good,” Self said after the game. “I don’t think that it is going to be something that, hopefully, drags out to conference play, but we don’t know yet.”
Garrett had two points and two rebounds in 13 minutes before departing, but as Kansas’ best defender and one of its most experienced players, the Jayhawks missed his presence on the court in the second half.
“Definitely seeing him go down in the first half kind of brought our team down,” sophomore Ochai Agbaji said. “It’s hard, our leading defender. He was talking to us throughout the second half. It was a tough loss, but still having him there to support us was good.”
The Jayhawks play at Stanford on Dec. 29, before beginning Big 12 play at home against West Virginia on Jan. 4.
Kansas became the fifth No. 1 team to lose this season, the most such losses in a single season in the poll era, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Preseason No. 1 Michigan State lost on the opening day of the season, and Kentucky, Duke, Louisville and now Kansas all lost after moving to the top spot in the polls.
Gonzaga will likely become the sixth No. 1 team when the new polls are released Monday; the single-season record for most No. 1 teams since the poll debuted in 1948-49 is seven, which happened in 1982-83.