No. 9/10 Kansas Wins Slugfest vs. No. 24 Oklahoma State, 67-57
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Emotions flared at will during a grueling Big 12 Conference matchup that played witness to nearly 50 fouls and more than 70 free throws. Led by a 30-point combo effort from Frank Mason III and Kelly Oubre, Jr., No. 9/10 Kansas withstood the battle to power past No. 24 Oklahoma State, 67-57, Tuesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas (14-2, 3-0) welcomed Oklahoma State (12-4, 2-2) to Lawrence just three days after the Cowboys knocked off the 10th-ranked Texas Longhorns, giving them the final push needed to enter the top-25 rankings. With the Big 12’s first and second leading scorers on the roster in junior guard Phil Forte III and senior forward Le’Bryan Nash, OSU didn’t need much more reasoning to become the sixth, ranked team KU has faced this season. With the win, KU is now 5-1 against top-25 opponents in 2014-15.
The opening minutes alone told the story of the passion behind every Big 12 win even a mere 10 days into the conference slate. Not yet midway through the first half, three technical fouls were issued between the two as Kansas defended its home court and OSU fought to take down one of the last two unbeaten teams in the league. Neither team shot better than 40 percent from the floor, but they extended the game with a 54-for-71 combined mark from the free throw line.
Mason led the Jayhawks with 16 points, extending his double-digit scoring streak to 13-straight games. That ties former Kansas guard Ben McLemore for the long such streak since the 2012-13 season. Oubre was the only other Jayhawk to crack the 10-point mark, chalking up 14 points for the second-straight game. Mason led the charge from the free throw line with his season-high 9-for-11 made. The Jayhawk point guard also paced the floor with a game-high nine rebounds.
Forte started hot, racking up 10 points in no time. By halftime, the Cowboys’ leading scorer had 16 points to his name, doubling up everyone but Mason. Meanwhile, Nash scored just two points in the opening frame. The duo switched roles in the second half. KU locked down Forte, allowing him two more points for the rest of the night, but Nash busted out for 19 second-half points. Like the Jayhawks, the Cowboys also had just two double-digit scorers. Nash led them all with 21, including and 11-of-12 mark from the free throw line. Nine of Forte’s 18 points came from his perfect free throws (9-for-9).
The game’s atmosphere withstood a 1-for-11 performance by both teams heading into halftime and multiple scoring droughts throughout the night. The emotions simmered and settled into a hard-nosed contest, not one of flash, but one that requires teams to score whichever way they can. The difference came with KU’s 32 made free throws, the most since Dec. 1, 2008 (32 vs. Kent State) and a lofty rebound margin (43-26).
After Forte scored the Cowboys’ first bucket, he then swooped in for a steal that he immediately converted into his only three-pointer of the night. In response to an Oubre three on KU’s end, Forte fired up another but was instead sent to the line to shoot three free throws – electrifying an already electric crowd. Though Forte made all three free shots, freshman forward Cliff Alexander sent a message with a monster dunk on the other end.
When Alexander was called for the technical following the dunk, he had the support of a crowd that wouldn’t stop roaring. The technical free throws did nothing but ignite the Kansas offense. The Jayhawks erupted for a 9-0 run as Oubre, Perry Ellis, Graham and Mason all turned in points, all the while completely muting the Cowboys. As the Jayhawks rattled off their scoring streak, OSU did not hit a field goal for more than seven minutes. Instead, the visitors committed four turnovers and missed five-straight shots, which KU used to build a 24-16 lead.
As the raucous environment would suggest, a blowout score was not in the cards on Tuesday. Nash’s first points of the night and a three from senior guard Antony Hickey returned it back to a one-possession game.Cliff Alexander finished with authority in an emotionally charged contest against Oklahoma State.Yet, Kansas refused to surrender the upper hand. Both teams made just one of their last 11 attempts heading to halftime, but KU’s single make was a big one. Sophomore guard Wayne Selden, Jr. ran down Tavarius Shine and swatted his layup from behind, delighting the fans that had slightly cooled from the sizzling start. Alexander converted Selden’s effort into another crushing dunk, sending one more rush through the building before going to break with the 32-28 lead.
Kansas found its shot promptly in the second half, beginning with Selden. An Oubre steal paved the way for a Selden dunk. The duo kept at it as Oubre executed a three-point play and passed off the assist on a Selden three. The close contest suddenly spotted KU a double-digit lead, 42-32.
Though more controlled in the second half, the raw emotion was everywhere. With less than 10 minutes to play, Ellis got a hand in front of an Oklahoma State pass to knock it away. When the ball got loose, he and three orange jerseys hit the ground in a desperate attempt to keep the ball alive. The effort didn’t result in points, but the next trip did. KU got after back-to-back offensive rebounds, giving its perimeter shooters three-straight looks at the basket. Third time was a charm as Mason knocked down the three to give his guys their largest lead of the game, 55-44.
More than three minutes spanned between Mason’s three and the next KU basket, but the defense took over. The Jayhawks forced a 1-for-6 shooting stretch to keep themselves ahead until the offense could catch up. With Ellis and Traylor on the bench with four fouls apiece, sophomore Landen Lucas was called upon. He didn’t see the floor in the first half, but his dunk finished a heads-up play from Graham, securing the 10-point lead.
Yet with five minutes still on the clock, a 10-point lead could be anybody’s game. Just over two-and-a-half minutes remained when Forte connected on his only points of the second half and Nash followed with a layup. In 90 seconds, OSU trimmed its deficit to six points, 61-55. Not about to give it away, Mason and Graham went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 90 seconds and Traylor closed with a dunk.
Kansas will travel to Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. for a game on ESPN. ESPN College GameDay will originate from Ames, Iowa, that day. KU will return to Allen Fieldhouse to host Oklahoma on Monday, Jan. 19, at 8 p.m., in its first of four ESPN Big Monday appearances during the 2014-15 season. KU will then play at Texas on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 1 p.m., on CBS.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (16/19), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (16/51), Fr. G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (8/8), Jr. F Perry Ellis (16/53), Jr. F Jamari Traylor (7/8)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 110-55
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (220th-consecutive sellout)
- Made Kansas 14-2 or better for the second time in the past three seasons and the seventh time in Bill Self’s 12 seasons at KU.
- Saw Kansas go 3-0 to start Big 12 play for the ninth-straight season and the 11th time under Self.
- Increased Kansas’ lead in the all-time series record against Oklahoma State to 110-55, including 60-11 in games played in Lawrence and 45-9 inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- Extended Kansas’ win streak inside Allen Fieldhouse to 17 games, which includes an 8-0 mark this season (9-0 home record).
- Changed KU’s all-time record inside Allen Fieldhouse to 721-109, including 183-9 under Self.
- Improved Self to 339-71 while at Kansas, 14-9 against his alma mater (13-6 at Kansas) and 546-176 overall.
- Made KU 2,140-824 all-time.
- Oklahoma State set a KU opponent-high with 29 fouls in the contest, surpassing the previous season-high of 28 fouls by Tennessee on Nov. 28, 2014.
- The Cowboy’s 29 fouls were the most by a Kansas opponent since Texas committed 31 personal fouls on Feb. 1, 2014.
- Due to Oklahoma State’s fouling, Kansas shot a season-high 46 free throw attempts – converting a season’s-best 32 shots from the charity stripe.
- The 32 makes are the most by a Kansas team since Dec. 1, 2008 against Kent State (32-for-36), while the 46 attempts were the highest since Feb. 9, 2008 when Kansas made 36-of-46 foul shots against Baylor in a 100-90 victory.
- Kansas held Oklahoma State to 16 field goals (31.4 percent) and three made three-point field goals, evening out to an 18.8 three-point percentage, while only giving up four offensive rebounds. All of these totals are Kansas opponent season lows.
- Oklahoma State’s 22-of-25 performance (88 percent) from the free throw line was most made free throws by the opposition since West Virginia made 29 free throws on March 8, 2014.
- There were as many combined free throws made between Oklahoma State and Kansas (54) on Tuesday as there were in the KU vs. Kentucky game on Dec. 9, 1989 when the Jayhawks won 150-95. Kansas and Kentucky combined for 54 made free throws while the Jayhawks and Cowboys also combined for 54 made free throws.
- Kansas and Oklahoma State’s 54 combined made free throws are the most since KU and Niagra made 56 (KU 38, Niagra 18) on Jan. 9, 1997.
- The 54 combined free throws are the most made in a conference game since Kansas and Missouri combined for 57 (KU 31, MU 26) on March 8, 1992.
- KU and Oklahoma State’s 32 combined made field goals are the fewest since Kansas and Ohio combined for 30 made buckets (16 KU, 14 Ohio) in a 49-38 Kansas victory in the NCAA Tournament on March 14, 1985.
- The 94 combined field goal attempts by both teams are the fewest since KU (43) and Louisiana at Monroe (49) combined for 92 attempts on Nov. 8, 2013.
- Just seven minutes and 50 seconds into the game the two teams had combined for three technical fouls – two of which were given to the Jayhawks and one to the Cowboys. The three technicals were the most a Kansas team has combined for in a single game since there were four total technical fouls assessed when the Jayhawks defeated Oklahoma State 80-78 on Jan. 18, 2014. Oklahoma State had three, while Kansas was charged with one technical in the contest.
- The last time Kansas was assessed with multiple technical fouls in a game came on Nov. 28, 2013 in a loss to Villanova when the Jayhawks were T’d-up once as a team and once when former sophomore guard Andrew White III drew a technical.
- The last time Kansas had two individual players assessed with a technical foul in a single game occurred when Brady Morningstar and Thomas Robinson drew separate technicals in a 78-63 victory over Cal on Dec. 22, 2010.
- For the second-consecutive game, Kansas held its opponent under 30 percent from the field in the first half of play. The Jayhawks’ field goal percentage defense allowed Texas Tech to make a season-best 20 percent of its shots on Saturday, while only allowing Oklahoma State to make 28 percent of its shots in the opening session on Tuesday.
- Kansas took a 32-28 lead into the half and maintained an unblemished 10-0 record when leading after the first 20 minutes of play in 2014.
- For the third-straight game, Kansas held its opponent in the 50’s on the scoreboard. The Jayhawks allowed 54 points to Texas Tech on Jan. 10 Red Raider points, while allowing 55 points to the Baylor Bears on Jan. 7.
- For the second-straight game, KU set a season-high in the defensive rebounding category, finishing the Oklahoma State game with season-high-tying 33 defensive boards.
- In its previous matchup, Kansas held Texas Tech to 32.7 percent (18-of-55), while in the game before that the Jayhawks only allowed Baylor to make 34 percent of its shots. The below-35 percent figure posted against Oklahoma State marked the first time in 2014-15 the Jayhawks held three-straight opponents below 35 percent shooting.
- KU outrebounded Oklahoma State 43-26. Kansas has now outrebounded 12 of 16 opponents this season and is 12-0 in these games.
- Oklahoma State only managed three points from its bench on the night, compared to KU’s 20 points from substitution. OSU’s three points were the lowest total given up by Kansas this season and marked the second time in consecutive matchups between the Jayhawks and the Cowboys that Oklahoma State has only gotten three points from its bench.
- KU’s 43 field goal attempts tied a season-low that was set against Utah on Dec. 13, 2014.
- Oklahoma State’s 16 field goals made are the fewest in a conference game since Texas knocked down 12 shots on Feb. 16, 2013.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III’s 10 points with 6:20 to play in the first half extended his double-digit scoring streak to 13-straight games. KU’s longest double-digit scoring streak a year ago belonged to Andrew Wiggins (eight games). Mason is now tied with former Jayhawk guard Ben McLemore who put up double figures in 13-straight contests in 2012-13.
- Mason also led the floor in rebounding with nine boards on the night. Mason has now solely led or tied for the Jayhawk’s lead effort on the glass twice on the season.
- Each of the two times Mason has led Kansas in rebounding over his 51-career games played, he has also captured the game-high in boards (10 against Michigan State Nov. 30, 2014 and nine against Oklahoma State.)
- Mason connected on one three-pointer on Tuesday and has now tallied at least one three in 14 of his 16 outings this season.
- Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., tallied 14 points in a career-high-tying 35 minutes of play.
- Oubre, Jr.’s 14-point scoring effort also marked the fifth time in his last seven games he has scored in double figures.
- Mason (11) and Oubre (12) both had double-digit attempts from the free throw line against Oklahoma State. The last time two Kansas individuals had 10 or more attempts from the free throw line occurred on Feb. 10, 2014 when Andrew Wiggins shot 15 and Perry Ellis attempted 12 free throws against Kansas State.
- Since returning from an injury suffered against Georgetown on Dec. 10, 2014, freshman G Devonte’ Graham has recorded nine assists without a single turnover in 40 combined minutes of play over the last two games.
- Sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr. tied his career-high with two blocks, while junior F Perry Ellis tied his career-best with three steals.
POSTGAME QUOTES KANSAS
Kansas head coach Bill Self
“It was a bad game. It was a long game. The only good thing about tonight is that we won. It took forever to play.”
On the team’s response to a heated first half:
“I didn’t think we played well tonight. We obviously didn’t play smart, but why did we get a technical over this? Unbelievable. It counted as a personal, so Cliff’s was bad and Jamari’s was worse. That was discouraging to me. We did rally around it. We played fairly well to end the half. If we would have made our free throws we could have easily been up by 10. We knew the officials would take charge of the game in the second half and they blew the whistle a lot early. It was a game with no rhythm or pace, in large part to how each team approached it. I don’t think either team played particularly well.”
On defending Forte:
“I thought Wayne (Selden) was fabulous and I thought Devonte (Graham) was fabulous. Perry (Ellis) turned it over in the first half and then backed off of (Forte) and let him shoot a three. That’s the only three he made. We did a good job of guarding him. I thought Wayne was terrific with it. I thought Devonte did as well. Their best offense was shooting freebies and our best offense was shooting free throws, too. As far as guarding him I thought we did well.”
On the flow of the game:
“I didn’t think there was any flow. It was a hard game to play, a hard game to coach and probably a hard game to officiate. (The officials) have to take control of the game. You blow your whistle a lot. It wasn’t the officials’ fault or the way it was called wasn’t why it was so slow and fragmented – it was because both teams fouled. I didn’t think the teams adjusted well to how the game was being officiated. The one thing we did do in the second have that was positive is we didn’t foul Forte and put him at the line like we did the first half.”
On the upcoming schedule:
“We don’t have a reason to say we don’t like it because we like playing national exposure games. Big Monday is great. We’ve played quite a few of them. This one will be particularly tough because we play in Ames at (8 p.m.) and then turn around and play a team that can obviously win anywhere – Oklahoma on Monday night. That is going to test us a little bit. We’re going to have to do a good job at being tough.”
Kansas freshman forward Cliff Alexander
On if you knew that technical was on Jamari (Traylor) or were you worried that it could have been on you?
“I was worried that it could have been on me. I just lost my head, wasn’t thinking. It was a nervous couple of minutes.”
On if he thought tonight’s game against Oklahoma State might be a little more intense than it has been in recent years:
“Yeah, I knew it was going to be a dog fight from the get-go. We just had to prepare ourselves for it.”
On being at the top of the Big 12 Conference standings (3-0) and even though it’s early, if the team is where it expected to be right now:
“Definitely, starting off the league 3-0 (was good), but we’ve got to continue to get better and go further from here.”
Kansas sophomore guard Frank Mason III
On how physical the play was tonight and if he welcomes that kind of play:
“Yeah, I like the physical play. I wouldn’t say it was very physical, their guys were just a little aggressive. I enjoyed it though. I think my teammates enjoyed it too.”
On if it was a ‘grind it out’ game for the Jayhawks:
“I think we missed a ton of easy shots around the rim. I would say the key for us was just trying to get out and get good transitions and easy baskets, as well as playing well on the defensive end.”
On what the game plan was against Oklahoma State:
“The game play was to stay engaged and not to lose them at all, find them in transition. We tried to play behind them and follow them off the screens. We wanted to make them a (overall) player and not just a shooter.”
Kansas freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr.
On if he felt the Jayhawks won the game at the free throw line or how he looked at this game:
“I don’t think so. We missed a lot of easy free throws that we usually make. We just need to focus when we’re at the line and continue to work on that.”
Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford
“It was a hard fought game. Congrats to Kansas. I’m not overly happy with the way we played. Kansas had a lot to do with that but then we had some opportunities that we just didn’t take advantage of. We didn’t play smart at times. We just played in too many spurts, mentally more than anything, up and down throughout the game. We had guys let little things affect them too much, but Kansas played a heck of a game. When you’re a defensive team and go out and let the other team shoot 46 free throws, it’s tough. It’s really tough, but Kansas did a really good job and deserved to win. We didn’t play too well.”
On if LeBryan Nash’s technical foul in the first half hurt Oklahoma State’s momentum:
“I don’t know, it was one of the crazier called games. It was hard to get a feel, for either team probably. I think the game took two and half hours. That’s a long time. I’ll go back and watch the tape but I think it was hard for both teams really.”
On what about this matchup brings out an added intensity from both teams:
“I have no idea. We’ve played a lot of good games against each other.”
On if the foul calls kept the team from gaining momentum:
“There’s no doubt that it did. We have to do a better job defending without fouling. The way the game was played was tough for our basketball team. It was like an uphill battle. We had opportunities several times that we just didn’t take advantage of. We had opportunities but Kansas took advantage of theirs and did a good job. They came out second half, we didn’t come out. It was a four-point game at halftime. We had the ball. We come out and turn it over. Just things we hadn’t been doing, uncharacteristic, but give Kansas credit. “
On only being down six points with less than two minutes to play:
“It was just that type of game. When there are that many fouls being called and the game is being stopped as many times as it was being stopped. You give yourself a chance to hang in there when you’re not playing well. Neither team shot the ball very well. That’s why I said we had opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of them. We have to have some other guys step up and score some more points. We have to get some other guys opportunities and spread it around a bit.”
Oklahoma State senior forward Michael Cobbins
On the flow of the game with so many whistles:
“It was just a lot of stop and go and with basketball you don’t really like that, it is hard to get into a rhythm when things are just stop and go, stop and go, stop and go. There was a lot of things that can be corrected, so we will correct those in practice.”
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