No. 18 Kansas Dominates Showdown, Tops No. 25 Kansas State, 86-60
LAWRENCE, Kan. — A pair of 20-point performances from freshmen duo Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden, Jr., fueled No. 18/20 Kansas’ well-oiled offensive machine over No. 25 Kansas State, 86-60, in the season’s first installment of the Sunflower Showdown Saturday inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Rivals on the basketball court since 1907, Kansas (11-4, 2-0 Big 12) and Kansas State (12-4, 2-1 Big 12) kept up with each other through the opening minutes until a 16-3 KU run set a pace the Wildcats could not keep up with. The 26-point victory marked the Jayhawks’ largest over its rival in nearly seven years (97-70, 2/7/07).
Selden’s three-pointer in the final seconds of the first half put an exclamation point on the Jayhawks’ dominant opening stanza. The 19-for-29 mark equated into a 65.5 percent accuracy, the fifth time this season KU has hit more than 60 percent of its shots in half. The turnover margin was perhaps more impressive as Kansas hasn’t seen half without a turnover committed since the second half of the Towson game on Nov. 11, 2011. The Jayhawks finished the game with a season-low seven turnovers and a 56 percent shooting efficiency.
Selden took center stage in the first half, cranking out 14 points in the first 20 minutes and finishing with 20 on 7-for-10 shooting. His partner took over in the second half as Wiggins recorded five points in the first frame, but erupted for 17 in the second to lead all scorers with 22 points.
Sophomore forward, and Kansas native, Perry Ellis contributed a solid 12 points and five rebounds as all but one of the 11 Jayhawks who checked in on Saturday scored. Freshman center Joel Embiid was likely on his way to his third double-double in the last four games (11 points/nine rebounds), but his ejection with less than six minutes to play derailed those hopes.
Pulling it all together, junior point guard Naadir Tharpe was incredibly efficient, dishing out nine assists and committing no turnovers for the second time in his last three games.
Kansas State was led by junior forwards Nino Williams and Thomas Gipson, who tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively. Freshman guard Marcus Foster, who has also made a big splash among the league’s freshmen, was held to seven points on 3-for-12 shooting.
In the early going, an Embiid dunk backed by Selden’s second make of the day watched Kansas take a 15-10 lead until senior guard Shane Southwell answered with a drive to the basket.
That’s as close as the visitors would get as the door began to swing open, starting off the hands of freshman guard Conner Frankamp. The Kansas native hit his second three in as many games to grow the lead. Back-to-back layups for sophomore forward Jamari Traylor and senior forward Tarik Black, which doubled as his 1,000th career point, sandwiched a KU defensive stand that forced Southwell to throw a pass directly out of bounds. Twelve minutes in, the Jayhawks had their first double-digit lead of the afternoon, 24-14. By the time Traylor converted on a three-point play and Selden bolted down the floor for a layup, Kansas State needed its first timeout.
While the Wildcats had jumped out to a hot start, their 6-for-11 shooting debut quickly turned to a 6-for-18 cold spell. Kansas used every miss to its advantage, storming out to a 16-3 run. Four different Jayhawks pulled together on the scoreboard, but only one started the game as Selden’s four points during the rally was backed by a combined 12 from his bench in Black, Frankamp and Traylor.
Up 31-15 with the final media timeout on the way, Kansas State kicked back into gear. Unfortunately for the visitors, KU never kicked out of it. Thus, the 14-13 back-and-forth scoring to end the half simply maintained the Jayhawks’ advantage as the home team took a 45-28 lead into halftime.
The breakneck pace would be tough to maintain, but that didn’t stop the Jayhawks from trying. Embiid came out of the break with his first three-pointer of the year, immediately pushing the Kansas lead to 20 points, 48-28.
There the margin would remain for the remainder of the day – and the Big 12’s choice for Preseason Freshman of the Year had much to do with it.
When Southwell and Omari Lawrence hit shots to slightly trim the lead, Wiggins fired back with two three-pointers in a mere 37 seconds. Foster and Williams came at them with back-to-back buckets, Wiggins swiped an inbounds pass and tomahawk slammed a dunk, igniting the sold-out crowd that needed no help as it was. Twelve minutes into the final frame, Wiggins had 15 of the Jayhawks’ 24 second-half points and KU charged ahead, 69-50.
Things didn’t get much easier with Wiggins out for a quick rest. Selden caught a Tharpe pass in front of the Kansas bench, squared to the basket and drained KU’s seventh trey of the day. In fact, even when the Jayhawks were slapped with Embiid’s ejection, they never slumped. KSU’s free throws that resulted from the technical foul were negated by another steal and put-back dunk – this time from Ellis – and Kansas marched on.
The Jayhawk reserves took over for the last 90 seconds, where freshman guard Brannen Greene promptly made a pair of free throws to close out the impressive 86-60 victory.
Kansas will have a short turnaround as the Jayhawks will play their first of four ESPN Big Monday games at No. 9/7 Iowa State on Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. Kansas and No. 11/12 Oklahoma State were co-preseason Big 12 favorites and the Cowboys will come to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m. on CBS.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): Jr. Naadir Tharpe (12/12), Fr. Wayne Selden, Jr. (15/15), Fr. Andrew Wiggins(15/15), So. Perry Ellis (15/18), Fr. Joel Embiid (7/7)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 187-91.
• Improved Kansas to 11-4 on the season
• Gave Kansas its eighth-straight, home-conference-opening win and its 30th league home-opening victory in the last 31 seasons.
• Made Kansas 2-0 in conference play for the 10th time in the 11-year Bill Self era.
• Extended Kansas’ win streak over Sunflower Showdown rival K-State to six games.
• Improved the Jayhawks to 44-18 all-time against the Wildcats in Allen Fieldhouse, including the last eight meetings.
• Moved Kansas head coach Bill Self to 23-3 all-time against K-State, 311-63 while at Kansas and 518-168 overall.
• Pushed KU’s all-time record to 2,112-816.
• Kansas shot better than 60 percent from the field in a half for the sixth time this season and improved to 9-1 when shooting 50 percent or better in the game.
• In 10 of KU’s 11 victories the Jayhawks have scored 80 points.
• The Jayhawks’ 86 points scored against K-State were the second-most given up by the Wildcats this season. In a 10-game win streak prior to Saturday, the Wildcats had allowed just 53.1 points per game and limited opponents to 36.7 percent from the field.
• The 26-point margin of victory was KU’s widest win over K-State since topping the Wildcats by 27 (97-70) in Lawrence on Feb. 7, 2007.
• The Jayhawks didn’t turn the ball over in the first half, its’ first half without a turnover since the second half of the regular season opener against Towson on Nov. 11, 2011.
• Kansas hit six threes in the second half, tying the best effort of the season (6, second half vs. Florida), and poured in 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) from beyond the arc in the game. The eight threes tied efforts at Florida (12/10) and Oklahoma (1/8) for most three-point makes in a game this season.
• On the other side, the Wildcats weren’t as proficient from long range, hitting just 1-of-11 three-point attempts for a KU-opponent season-low 9.1 percent. It was the worst three-point shooting effort by a Kansas opponent since Texas Tech made just 1-of-15 (6.7 percent) on March 4, 2013.
• Freshman G Andrew Wiggins (22) and freshman G Wayne Selden (20) each turned in 20-point efforts, marking the fourth different games this season that multiple Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points (vs. Duke; vs. Toledo; vs. Oklahoma).
• KU led 15-12 with 11:28 left in the first half before opening up some breathing room with a 16-3 run over the next 4:40. K-State missed seven straight shots during the KU run. The Jayhawks doubled up the Wildcats and led 31-15, and pushed the lead to a first-half high 17-point margin on a three pointer by Selden seconds before the break.
• The Jayhawks saw three or more players score in double figures for the 14th time this year and had four players in double figures for the eighth game.
• Freshman G Wayne Selden reached double figures in the first half for the second-consecutive game with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting while leading all scorers. He turned in 20 total points, his second-straight game with 20 or more. Prior to starting Big 12 Conference play, Selden had just four double-digit scoring efforts, but is averaging 22.0 points in league play while shooting a blistering 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the field and 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from beyond the arc.
• Not to be outdone, freshman G Andrew Wiggins poured in 17 points in the second half en route to a game-high 22 points. Wiggins scored 11 straight in the second half as Kansas saw its lead grow to more than 20. Wiggins was a respectable 7-of-13 from the field but scorched the nets from long range by hitting 3-of-4 from deep.
• Senior F Tarik Black scored four points off the bench Saturday. His first bucket, a lay-up with 7:46 to play in the first half, pushed him to the 1,000-point plateau for his collegiate career, having played three seasons at Memphis before graduating and transferring to Kansas for the 2013-14 season.
• Sophomore F Perry Ellis contributed 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, his 11th double-digit game this season and 18th of his career. Ellis also tied for second among Jayhawks with five rebounds Saturday.
• Freshman C Joel Embiid pulled down a game-high nine rebounds and chipped in 11 points before being ejected with 5:49 to play in the second half.
• Kansas improved to 6-0 when freshman G Conner Frankamp scores, as the Wichita, Kan., product drained his only three-point attempt of the game in the first half.
• Junior G Naadir Tharpe struggled from the field but found a way to contribute with a game-high nine assists. It was the third time he chipped in nine or more assists this season with a season-best 10 dimes coming against Iona (11/19/13).
• Kansas swatted six shots including two from Embiid and two from Black.
Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
On the team’s performance compared to its performance against Oklahoma:
“I thought we played good in Norman. I thought we guarded better today even though, statistically, (Kansas State’s field goal percentage) was still 44 percent. I thought we gave up some layups there late. We guarded well, we rebounded the ball pretty well and we certainly took care of the basketball in the first half against a good defensive team. K-State, they’re sound defensively and their stats show it. But we were pretty efficient offensively and played with a lot of energy. I think it’s one of our better overall performances we’ve had this year.”
On the Kansas offense:
“It helps when the ball goes in the hole, but we got some good shots. The ball moved and I think we got 19 baskets in the first half and 14 assists. I don’t think we’ve ever had 14 assists in a half, with no turnovers, and of course that helped. We did a good job taking care of the ball, Naadir (Tharpe)’s line wasn’t good scoring, obviously, but it was good; nine assists, zero turnovers. One thing that really concerned us was their ability, especially No. 5’s (Jevon Thomas) ability to pressure the ball and I thought our guards did a real good job of being sound with it. It was good. Tarik (Black) and obviously Jamari (Traylor) off the bench, they were good bigs for us today.
On the defense:
“I thought we handled the traps so poorly against San Diego State, and of course a lot better against Oklahoma, then a lot better than the Oklahoma game here today. We passed out of it well, and were patient and we actually acted like it didn’t bother us to be trapped, which was a positive. I thought the kids played hard and the crowd was great. It’s always good to have success when you’re playing a game against a team that’s just down the road.”
On the road game against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa:
“This is a huge game for both of us. But since they lost in Norman today, that place will be jumping. And they’re so talented and can score from all five spots, and (DeAndre) Kane is probably the early favorite for player-of-the-year in the league, I would say so far. It’ll be a tough contest but one we always enjoy going up there and playing in. Hopefully it will be the same case (this year). Go up there, let’s have some fun on Monday.”
Kansas junior guard Naadir Tharpe
On the team becoming familiar with each other and their playing styles:
“It just starts off at practice. Getting after one another, competing, repetition, going over the plays and learning from one another on where we like to get the ball and stuff like that. I think it’s just guys going out there and playing. I feel like Wayne (Selden) and Wiggs (Andrew Wiggins) now just go out there and play their game, just being loose and having fun. When they play like that you see what happens.”
On not having any turnovers during the first half:
“It just shows us being aggressive. If we just go out there and play instead of thinking, there is going to be less chance of us making turnovers which you see. Guys are just going to the hoop and finishing and knocking down shots.”
On the big men being able to crack the double team:
“Once again just repetition, going to practice and guys just wanting to get the trap instead of shying away from it. I always tell guys in practice just to let the trap come because it’s going to be easy once, you know we have tall guys and guys that can pass the ball really well and the showed today. Tarik (Black) made a good pass to Jamari (Traylor) and JoJo (Joel Embiid) as well; he’s a seven-footer and can see over the defense. I just try to tell them at practice, just try to absorb the trap and once we get out of the trap we have players that can make plays.”
On how long they are going to celebrate this win before their next game Monday at Iowa State:
“The celebration is over because tomorrow we have practice and leave the same day. Everybody knows that this game is already in the past, good thing we came out here and played like we did but we have to go do the same thing at Iowa State. Turn it up another notch because those guys out there (Iowa State) have really been playing really well.”
Kansas freshman guard Wayne Selden
On if this was the most complete game they’ve played in the past month:
“I feel like the pieces are starting to come together a lot better and we are starting to come together defensively. We are going pretty hard in practice so I feel like we are going to keep getting better.”
On what is enabling him to play loose and have fun:
“I feel like over time we were just getting better with it and getting more comfortable with everybody and coming together. It starts on the defensive side, being able to get out and run.”
On his performance at Oklahoma and how it carried over into today:
“I feel like it gave me a lot more confidence to come out and shoot the ball a little bit more and we are just feeding off of each other, which is the biggest thing.”
Kansas Freshman Guard Andrew Wiggins
On if the stretch in the second half where he scored 13 consecutive points was the best he’s played this season:
“I would say so. I just let the game come to me and I was calm, playing confident, and my teammates were there throughout the whole game.”
On if this was the calmest he has been all season:
“I think I was calmer than last game and the games before that. I’m just really letting the game come to me now and I have my teammates by my side to calm me down the whole by making plays and easy shots.”
On why he’s able to be calm:
“I think I’m just having fun. Like Coach (Self) mentioned today in the locker room, we have eight more games left to play in Allen Fieldhouse so I’m just trying to enjoy every one of them.”
Kansas State head Coach Bruce Weber
Opening statement: “Kansas is very good. They have great depth. I put 12 guys on the board when we were coming up with our game plan, and they are all very good players. We tried to trap the post. San Diego State did a great job, but they probably have a little bit more length than us. You try to take away something, but you have to give them something and they made shots. I’ve seen (Andrew) Wiggins shoot the basketball, (Wayne) Selden (Jr.) has played really well the last few games, and now they spread us out and got us inside. We started the game okay, but it was more when they had their second group in there. They picked us apart and made shots. They built their margin, got their confidence going, and we didn’t have any answers. I didn’t think we were very efficient, offensively. We kind of froze. They switched some things and stayed with ball screens, and we didn’t move the ball well enough. We got some open shots and went 1-11 from three-point range. That is not going to cut it when they go 8-for-18 from beyond the arc, and that was probably the difference in the game.”
On if Kansas State overlooked Kansas:
“They have so many weapons. They have size, length and athleticism. If you let them get going, then that happens. We got beat on the boards. I don’t think it even indicates the 33-25 advantage Kansas had. It seemed like whenever they finally did miss, they beat us to loose balls and they beat us on our play-hard chart. The only disappointing thing for me was that we didn’t play as hard as I wanted my team to play. All we can do is look forward to the next one, and that is Oklahoma, who beat Iowa State today. The league is tough and you have to be ready to play each game if you are going to be there for the long journey.”
On what your defense lacked:
“I didn’t think we fought for things, we didn’t get hands on balls, we weren’t aggressive enough and we let them move the ball freely. They executed their stuff to perfection. When you have no turnovers and 14 assists, I think that is what it was at halftime, you can’t spot someone 20 points and expect to get back in it.”
On Marcus Foster’s struggles today:
“They are good. They are long, have some length and stayed with him. He got his first shot blocked, and I don’t think we moved the ball well. Once they got going on the run, instead of moving and cutting, we just kind of dribbled around and that is not us. We have to be more efficient. We need Jevon (Thomas), he gives us a different element but he hasn’t practiced that much. When he is in there, we are so limited with what we can do. They stifled us and we kind of stood around and didn’t help Marcus and some of the other guys.”
On if he considered going with zone-defense:
“They went 8-for-18 from beyond the arc so I am not sure zone was the answer. During the winning-streak, we have been up on the ball pressuring and I don’t think we did a good job of that. We never disrupted them. We have to go back to what made us successful.”
On if Kansas played well or Kansas State played poorly:
“They played really well, and we didn’t play well which is why it was a 20-plus point victory. It was a great environment. For our young guys, it was interesting for them to be a part of it. I wrote on the board, ‘next game, big game’ and that is what it’s going to end up being. We have to deal with that.”
On playing three freshmen at one time:
“We didn’t want Thomas (Gipson) to get hurt. Nino (Williams) was playing well. We tried to play Shane (Southwell) and Nino together a bit, but it is a tough matchup with that and Shane hasn’t practiced there. Let those freshmen play and learn, and that’s all you can do. You are going to lose games, and no one is going undefeated. You are going to lose games, but it is important to see how we respond.”
On if Marcus Foster was bothered by an ankle injury:
“He sat out a couple days of practice, but I think it was more the way Kansas played than anything.”
On how many guys you typically game plan for:
“We usually plan for seven or eight guys, which is typically what most teams have. They have a lot of weapons that keep coming at you. There is no doubt about that.”
On if this was the Kansas team people expected to see at the beginning of the season:
“When you shoot that well, it really helps. It helps all teams. They didn’t shoot it like that against San Diego State. San Diego State is really good defensively, and I thought we were pretty good. We don’t have the same length they have. They blocked shots and maybe got to the shooters better. It is basketball, you just have to learn and live. Kansas is good, there is no doubt. They are nowhere near as good defensively as they were a year ago. Those guys were so good defensively. They were older and more mature, physically. We ran sets against them that they had never seen, and they took it right from us. We ran some things today, they took it from us, and we just froze.”
On Joel Embiid making a three-point shot today:
“You have to give them something. If you go out on him, they swing the ball, they’ll post you and have one-on-one isolation in the post. You have a game plan, you go with it, and they were better than our game plan today.”
On whether the five-minute scoring drought was the difference today:
“We maybe blew it a little bit with too many subs at one time. We probably should have got Thomas (Gipson) out a little earlier. We had four subs come in at once, but they had their bench, too, and that is when they made their run.”
Kansas State junior forward Thomas Gipson
On the outcome of the game:
“I feel like we couldn’t get a stop. We were playing hard in the beginning, we were going back-and-forth, but down the stretch they made a couple of threes and I feel like maybe we let the crowd get to us and we just froze.”
On what the team tried to do on the defensive end of the court:
“Our main focus was to try and post-trap this game and we only had two days to try and do that, so we weren’t really prepared for it. At the end of the day we just didn’t play hard enough. We knew it was going to be tough. We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in here and we just didn’t finish it.”
On looking ahead after the loss:
“We can’t worry about this loss. We have to put it behind us and we have to defend at home and defend our home-court. We can’t worry about this game anymore, it’s over. We have to move on and prepare for the next game. That’s the good thing about the Big 12, you get back-to-back games so you can’t rely on the last game you play. You always have to play the next game.”
On how the team played:
“We just didn’t defend, that’s really what it comes down to. We are all going to watch film and see what we did wrong and see if we can correct the mistakes when we play them later on in the season. We just didn’t play hard enough.”
On the younger players first time playing in Allen Fieldhouse:
“This is the first true (road conference) game and they didn’t really know what the atmosphere would be like. They knew they were going up against good freshmen, but they tried to come out and play. They played hard, but it just didn’t cut-out for them. They just can’t harp on it, they’re young so they’re going to keep thinking about it and what they should’ve done and what we should’ve done. They can’t do that, they’ve got to come out and play the next game, and I have to make sure that they’re focused right.”
Kansas State junior forward Nino Williams
On how Kansas State performed in the game:
“I think we didn’t play as well as we have the past 10 games and I feel like they came off the loss at home against San Diego State so they had to prove they had home-court advantage in the Big 12. I just think like Thomas (Gipson) said, it was an offensive game and we aren’t really a good offensive team yet, we are still working on that. We are a defensive team and we let their offense dictate our defense.”
On Kansas shooting 65 percent in the first half:
“It was really frustrating because like coach (Weber) said, we are a really good first-half defensive team and we might be one of the best in the country. We lean on first-half defense and like Gip (Thomas Gipson) said, we were going back-and-forth and you can’t go back-and-forth when you’re a defensive team.”
On playing against the Jayhawks’ front court:
“I don’t think it was hard, they’re really talented, they’re pro prospects. I think early the crowd got us rattled. People can say how hard it is to play here, but when you’re on the court and when you’re in the game it’s different. I don’t think we were that rattled, I think they just made plays and we didn’t. Like Gip (Thomas Gipson) said, it’s a long Big 12 season and we’ll be fine. We’ll go home, watch film and get better.”