No. 2 Kansas Thumps No. 23 Baylor, 102-74, for 25th Straight Conference-Opening Win
LAWRENCE, Kan.– Juniorguard Wayne Selden Jr., scored 24 points to lead No. 2 Kansas to a 102-74 win over No. 23 Baylor on Saturday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, which marked KU’s 25th consecutive conference-opening win.
The Jayhawks (12-1, 1-0 Big 12) jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first seven minutes of the game and didn’t look back. KU made six 3-pointers in the opening seven minutes, including three consecutive during a span of one minute and 30 seconds to give Kansas a 24-4 advantage at the 13:36 mark – the largest lead of the half.
Sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham tied a season-high 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 32 minutes, but his two treys in the first three minutes spurred Kansas to an 8-1 lead which was not surrendered for the remainder of the game. Senior forward Perry Ellis registered 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting at the free throw line in just 24 minutes.
Baylor (10-3, 0-1) entered Saturday leading the nation in assists (22.7) but ended the day with eight against the Jayhawks. Rico Gathers, the Big 12’s leader in rebounding, led the Bears with nine boards while Taurean Prince scored a team-high 17 points, mostly from his 12-of-12 shooting effort at the free throw line.
It was also the Jayhawks’ 31st straight win at Allen Fieldhouse and sixth straight win over Baylor — which has never won in 14 trips to Lawrence. Kansas dished out 20 assists while turning the ball over just seven times, marking the third consecutive game with 10 or few giveaways.
For the seventh time this season, Kansas made seven or more 3-pointers in a half after draining seven treys on 11 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half. Selden led the way on 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range in the first half to enter halftime with 18 first-half points. Selden went on to tie his career high for 3-point field goals made, finishing with five treys on six attempts for the day.
KU went through a short shooting slump early in the second half, and a bucket by Gathers in the paint made it 52-40 with just under 17 minutes to go. But Graham answered with a deep jumper at the other end, and Ellis scored on consecutive possessions to help Kansas regain control.
The lead was never in jeopardy as the Jayhawks pulled away by making nine of its last 12 shots from the field, including consecutive 3-pointers from freshmen Carlton Bragg Jr., and Lagerald Vick to put KU over the century mark for the third time this season.
Kansas plays host to No. 3 Oklahoma on Monday night (8 p.m., ESPN) inside Allen Fieldhouse. When the polls are updated on Monday afternoon, the contest could become the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup since 2013.
KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS):
Jr. G Frank Mason III (13/52)
So. G Devonte’ Graham (11/11)
Jr. G Wayne Selden Jr. (13/84)
Sr. F Perry Ellis (13/84)
Sr. F Hunter Mickelson (6/31)
• Kansas improved to 25-4 against Baylor on the hardwood, including a perfect 14-0 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks have won six-straight in the series.
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (234th-consecutive sellout)
• Makes Kansas 12-1 on the year and a perfect 8-0 inside Allen Fieldhouse this season.
• Gave Kansas its 11th-straight win, the longest streak at KU since the 2012-13 season when the Jayhawks won 18 in a row.
• Improves Bill Self’s record to 364-79 while at Kansas and 571-184 all-time.
• Also moved Self to 197-9 in Allen Fieldhouse.
• Makes KU 2,165-832 all-time, and 735-109 all-time in the venue.
• There were no free nachos or tacos to be had, but Kansas delighted the crowd and surpassed 100 points on a Lagerald Vick three-pointer with a little more than 25 seconds left in the game. The 102 total points was KU’s third-highest output this season, behind 125 points at Chaminade (11/23) and 109 vs. Northern Colorado in the season opener (11/13). It was KU’s 108th, 100-point game and the 16th under Coach Self. It marked KU’s first 100-point scoring effort in Big 12 play since scoring 108 at Iowa State (2/25) in 2013.
• The 28-point win over Baylor is KU’s largest margin of victory in the series with BU since the Jayhawks dropped the Bears by 47 (94-47) on Jan. 28, 1998 in Lawrence. The 102 points is the most scored by Kansas ever against Baylor.
• Kansas used runs of 8-0 and 9-0 to lead Baylor by as many as 20 points in the first half before taking a 14-point advantage into the break. Vick’s three not only gave Kansas triple digits, but gave the Jayhawks their largest lead at 28.
• The Jayhawks swatted five shots against Baylor, marking the eighth contest this season with at least five blocks. Two blocks led to fast-break buckets for Kansas, one from Cheick Diallo and the other from Hunter Mickelson, and another by Jamari Traylor ended a fast break run-out by Baylor late in the second half.
• Kansas anticipated a physical game and got it, seeing Baylor go to the line for an opponent-season-best 25 free throws and 31 attempts. Kansas was 19-for-24 from the line. It was the most combined free throws made since the season opener and tied for second-most combined free throws attempted. The 25 free throws made for Baylor was the most by a KU opponent in a conference game since Texas sank 30 on Feb. 1, 2014.
• Baylor was able to score the second-most points by a KU opponent this season, but the 28-point final margin marked the seventh game Kansas has won by 25 points or more this season.
• Kansas’ 56 points in the second half tied for second-highest scoring output after the break this season and tied for third-highest output in any half during 2015-16. Kansas has poured in 50 points in 10 total halves this year.
• The Jayhawks used a three-point barrage to bury the Bears, hitting 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) from long range. The 11 treys were the most in a conference game for KU since the Jayhawks knocked in 11 in an overtime game against West Virginia on March 2, 2013.
Junior G Wayne Selden Jr.
• Selden finished the game one-point shy of tying a season- and career-best with 24 points, leading all scorers. He reached the 20-point plateau for the 10th time of his career and third time this season.
• He went 9-for-16 from the field, matching Perry Ellis’ twice-reached, team-season-high nine field goals.
• Selden reached double figures for the 39th time in his career…before the second media timeout of the first half (6:24). He’s scored in double digits in all but two games this season.
• He poured in 18 points in the first half, making 7-of-7 shot attempts. Selden’s seven first half field goals were the most by a Jayhawk since he sank seven buckets in the second half against Iowa State at Allen Fieldhouse, nearly a year ago (2/2/15). The scoring total was Selden’s second-highest in a half as he chipped in 19 in that game against the Cyclones.
• Selden was nearly automatic from long range, hitting 5-of-6 from deep, finally missing a three with 7:04 left in the contest. The five three-pointers moved him past Tyshawn Taylor (120 from 2009-12) for 17th on KU’s all-time three-pointers list with 124.
• He tied two other Jayhawks (Mason, Graham) for the team lead with four assists.
Senior F Perry Ellis
• Ellis contributed 17 points, his 73rd career double figure scoring effort, and moved past Mario Chalmers (1,341) for No. 27 on KU’s all-time scoring list. Ellis has 1,355 points in his fourth season as a Jayhawk, with Marcus Morris (26 – 1,371) and Adonis Jordan (25 – 1,373) next on the list before the forward from Wichita enters the top-25.
• He did his usual work scoring the basketball, but added a season-high tying three assists (third time) as an inside distributor for the Jayhawks. Ellis also pulled down six rebounds to tie for the team lead.
Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham
• Graham matched his season-best scoring output with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
• It took just two shots and less than 2:30 of game play for Graham to match last year’s combined scoring total against Baylor of six points. Graham helped spark a 8-0 run for Kansas with a pair of three-point makes in the opening minutes. Graham had games of two points (at home) and four points (Big 12 Tournament) against BU last year.
• He tied two other Jayhawks (Mason, Selden) for the team lead with four assists.
Junior G Frank Mason III
• For the 12th time in 13 games this season and 49th time in his two and a half seasons at Kansas, Mason reached double digits with 11 points on an efficient 5-of-9 shooting from the field.
• He filled up the stat sheet with five rebounds and tied two other Jayhawks (Graham, Selden) for the team lead with four assists.
Senior F Hunter Mickelson
• Swatted three shots, tying a personal and team season-high for the third time this season.
“Baylor tried to recover because we fouled them too much and gave them some free points the last two minutes of the first half, but we were so good the first half for eight or 10 minutes. We made everything, played with energy, got easy baskets, the only thing we probably didn’t do too well was defensive rebounds, but we were really good. Then we kind of puttered around and finished the half and started the second half kind of slow, but then I though we finished the game great. A great first 10 minutes and a great last 10 minutes, then we kind of played the middle even. It was a good team win, everyone contributed and of course, Wayne (Selden Jr.) was fabulous, unbelievable.”
On Baylor inability to guard Kansas:
“I can’t believe we scored that many points because I didn’t think we were really doing that well offensively and you look up and we only made 19 free throws, so that’s 83 points from the field – that’s pretty good. They kept playing so they didn’t hold the ball late for a lot of possessions, but we shared it pretty good. Our first-shot defense was pretty good for the most part all night.”
On potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-up on Monday against Oklahoma:
“I think it’s even more than that, I think it’s going to be No. 1 (Associated Press Poll) vs. No. 1 (Coaches Poll) because if Oklahoma wins tonight they will be No. 1 in the Coaches Poll and we’ll be No. 1 in the AP. OU has a terrific team, Buddy (Hield) is averaging just south of 25 points per a game – he’s on a roll. They are playing so well together and are well-coached and well-drilled. We had some great games with them last year and certainly I hope Monday night is one of those type of games, but we need to be ready and focused.”
Kansas Senior Forward Perry Ellis
On Kansas’ quick start:
“We were knocking down shots and getting stops defensively. That was a good lead for us. Baylor got back into the game a little bit but we continued to fight and got the lead up even more.”
On the difficulty of continuing the quick start for the entirety of the game:
“I wouldn’t say that it is hard to do, but you have to keep in mind that there is a chance that the opponent could go on a run. We have to be able to stop their run and keep pushing forward and I feel like we did a good job of that today.”
On neutralizing Rico Gathers today:
“That is always a tough task. He is a strong guy so we tried to box him out as soon as the shot went up. You can’t wait because if you do, he will wedge you under the goal. That was a tough task.”
Kansas Sophomore Guard Devonte’ Graham
On whether or not he has played on a team with so many talented shooters before:
“No, not like this team. Whoever has the open shot is going to take it, whether that be Brannen (Greene), Wayne (Selden), Sviatoslav (Mykhailiuk), Perry (Ellis), or myself. All of those guys can sit back and hit the three and it makes it tough to defend when Frank (Mason) and I can get into the lane, because defenders have to help and that opens up our shooters.”
On where he has seen Wayne Selden’s game improve at:
“He is growing and he knows what he has to do for our team. We need him to be our alpha dog and he has to continue to stay aggressive on both ends of the court. He said that he needs to do a better job rebounding the ball, but overall I think he is playing pretty good for us.”
On Wayne Selden playing at a different confidence level this season:
“His confidence is through the roof and he is shooting the ball extremely well, so that is allowing him to attack the basket easier because opponents are closing out on him. He is getting into the paint and finishing more because of his size.”
On if he has watched Oklahoma play at all this year:
“Yeah I’ve seen them play a couple of times. I watch their guards plays all the time and we’ve been watching film from last year. It is going to be a good game on Monday.”
On what impresses him about Oklahoma:
“Their guards are aggressive just like we are, they can knock down open shots and they are good one-one-one players so we have to keep them out of the paint.”
On what it is like to play two top-caliber teams at home to start conference play:
“I don’t think there is really an advantage but we always want to protect our home court. Oklahoma is a good team and they are going to be very competitive like they were last year. They almost knocked us off from the 11-consecutive Big 12 titles last season, so playing them at home this early, hopefully with a win, will be a good start to the Big 12 title race.”
On taking care of the ball:
“It’s not that easy, but we just pride ourselves in taking care of the ball. That’s one of the things Coach preaches. In order to be a good team you have to take care of the ball and rebound, so me and Frank just try to do our jobs and take care of the ball and give guys open shots.”
On the team’s energy:
“I think that helps us out a lot. Once we see it go through the hoop we all just feel like the basket gets bigger. We just feed off each other’s energy. That’s why coach stresses having energy. Especially me. I feel like the guys feed of me a lot if its just out there screaming or doing anything just to get the guys going. We started off good so we had a lot of energy and it just ran through the team.”
Kansas Guard Wayne Selden Jr.
On where confidence comes from:
“Just playing with smart guys. They make it a lot easier for me. They make it a lot easier for everyone else. They get in the paint.”
On being a complete player:
“I don’t know if I am a complete player. I’m just trying to be aggressive and do things to try to help the team win. I know I have to rebound the ball more and play better defense.”
Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew
“I think there’s no doubt who the No. 1 team in the nation is. I thought Kansas really came out of the gates. (Wayne) Selden was on fire. We thought if we could do what our zone did last year to them, slow them down a little bit, give ourselves a chance to make it a game and take the crowd out of it. (That was) everything we wanted to do by starting fast, which obviously didn’t happen so you have to credit them for making shots out the gate. We had some opportunities at the rim where we didn’t finish. We have to get better at finishing early so we can keep them out of transition because at the end of the day, Kansas in transition at home is not a good thing for any team that faces them. I’m very impressed with them. As far as us, it was a great opportunity to see how much we get better between now and the next time we face them so I am excited to get to work on that.”
On Kansas’ offense:
“It gave us a lot of concern which is why we went man. Obviously that wasn’t the answer either.”
On Wayne Selden Jr.:
“He’s a much more mature player, confident. He can do more so at the end of the day you look out there and he’s a man now. That’s what you get when you get juniors and seniors. I think that a lot of that maturation process took place this summer.”
On Kansas’ weaknesses:
“I think if anything, they might be tough to coach because they have too many options and too many weapons, trying to figure out what you want to go to and what you want to do. I think at the end of the day if they’re shooting like this and they take care of the basketball, it’s going to be hard for anybody to beat them.”
Baylor Senior Forward Taurean Prince
On opening conference play against Kansas:
“They’re a good team, they came out hot and we didn’t. That’s just the moral of the story.”
On if it’s a disadvantage to begin conference play against KU:
“I don’t think that really matters. Everybody plays each other twice, no matter when you play them, so that’s irrelevant.”
On if he sees a difference in Wayne Selden’s play this season:
“For sure, he has definitely improved his three-point threat and he’s always been a good driver. When you become a good three-point shooter, it really opens a lot for you. As far as he goes, he has really improved from last year and definitely put on a show tonight.”
Baylor Senior Guard Lester Medford
On what went wrong:
“They just hit some great shots, they play good basketball and they got a run on us. It was a good run and they stuck with it the whole game.”
On if they were expecting Kansas to jump out on a big run:
“Yeah, they’re a great team. Anytime you come to Kansas, you know that they are going to bring it and bring their best game. So we just have to get better as a team.”
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