No. 9/11 Kansas Survives at TCU, 64-61
FORT WORTH, Texas — Streak or not, Brannen Greene was on the free throw line when his team needed him. The sophomore guard came through, knocking down five points in the last 33 seconds to push No. 9/11 Kansas past a scrappy TCU squad inside a unique venue Wednesday night, 64-61.
Greene’s made-free throw streak, which spanned into last season, was broken the last time he had gone to the line (vs. Oklahoma, 1/19/15). With that pressure out of the way, Greene had a new pressure waiting when he went to the line in a two-point game with :33 remaining – the first of six free shots he would take before game’s end. In that crucial time slot, he came away with five free throws, a block and a rebound to seal the game.
While TCU (14-6, 1-6) spends the 2014-15 season renovating its home arena, Kansas (17-3, 6-1) faced the Horned Frogs at the Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center, the high school facility of the Fort Worth Independent School District approximately 15 minutes from TCU’s campus. Adding to the unfamiliar surroundings, Kansas shared the court with an unranked opponent for the first time in nearly three weeks. Setting up what many dubbed ‘a trap game.’
Ranked fourth in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense, TCU isn’t going unnoticed on any team’s radar. The Horned Frogs became the fifth team to outrebound KU this season, but no one had done it by 10 rebounds (50-40). Three Horned Frogs finished in double-figures, while just one – sophomore point guard Frank Mason III – scored 10 or more for Kansas. Matchups against the conference leader in scoring defense don’t have to be pretty, they just have to end in a win.
By game’s end, Greene scored seven points and set a new career-high with seven rebounds. Mason had his back, leading KU with 16 points and 10 in the second half. He tied his career-high with eight made field goals (8-for-12), more than doubling any of his teammates. Behind him, forwards Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas contributed eight points apiece. Lucas swatted a career-high three blocks, helping KU to an overwhelming 12-3 blocking advantage.
TCU senior leader Kyan Anderson led all players with 17 points. Sophomore Kenrich Williams followed with 13 points, while senior Trey Ziegler posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Kansas held the home team to a season-low 30.6 percent (22-for-72) shooting mark.
Ellis chalked up KU’s first five points, but was sent to the bench with two fouls not 90 seconds into the game. He was replaced by the usual first off the bench, freshman Cliff Alexander, and he didn’t wait long before delivering one of his signature alley oops. Adding to his repertoire, Alexander nailed a hook shot next to open up a crippling 18-3 Jayhawk rally. Freshman guard Devonte’ Graham and sophomore guard Wayne Selden, Jr., fueled the fire with a pair of threes, pushing Kansas to a quick 23-10 spread.
Yet, TCU stayed poised. Eight-straight points from the Horned Frogs made it clear they had no intention of enduring a blowout. A timeout from head coach Bill Self refocused the Jayhawks, while both sides dialed up the tempo as halftime approached. Making their first appearances since the Iowa State game, Lucas, redshirt junior Hunter Mickelson and freshman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk checked in and made major contributions. The trio tallied 11 points, including Mickelson’s last bucket of the half, to take a 36-30 lead to halftime.
TCU erupted to start the second frame, using Anderson’s sharp shooting to pile on a 7-0 run to take its first lead since the opening minute, 37-36. Finally Kansas started scoring, getting its first baskets of the half from Mason and Ellis to spark a must-have Kansas run.
Lucas set the tone, fighting under the basket for second-chance points, drawing a pair of big fouls and sinking all four freebies. His big free throws were sandwiched around made shots by Mason. When Graham broke loose for a fastbreak layup, it capped the 12-0 Kansas run that again appeared to blow the game open once and for all. Anderson broke the scoring drought for TCU, preventing Kansas from running away with it, 52-45.
In a game of runs, scoring naturally comes in spurts. After KU’s 12-straight points, however, the scoreboard slowed to an excruciating pace. More than two minutes passed between Anderson’s basket and KU’s next points, proving helpful for the team already ahead but also impossible to create separation. With three minutes to play, TCU was too close for comfort, 59-50. Closer still when Anderson was fouled from three-point range, sending the Big 12’s best free throw shooter to the line.
Though Anderson only made two of three, TCU wreaked havoc when Chris Washburn stole the inbounds pass that resulted in a layup. One minute remaining, five-point game.
The Horned Frogs weren’t done. Ziegler won the battle under the basket for the offensive board and went back up. Ziegler got his way, muscling for the layup. Ellis didn’t. He was called for foul number five and Ziegler finished the three-point play. Thirty-three seconds, two-point game.
Junior forward Jamari Traylor didn’t have the same impact he did in KU’s last time out at Texas, but he ripped down the rebound when Kansas needed it most. The Horned Frogs were on a mission to add to its second-chance point advantage, but Traylor refused to give up the ball. His persistence resulted in a free throw for Greene and a five-point lead, but TCU countered with a layup by Ziegler. Fifteen seconds, three-point game.
Greene’s final free throws with 11 seconds to play provided just enough distance to withstand the last dunk from TCU. The excruciatingly-long waning moments of the game closed with a 64-61 KU win.
Kansas will continue its stretch of three games in six days when the Jayhawks return to Allen Fieldhouse for two contests. On Saturday, Jan. 31, the Jayhawks will host Kansas State at 1 p.m., on ESPN, and on Feb. 2 Iowa State comes to Lawrence for ESPN Big Monday at 8 p.m.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (20/23), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (20/55), Fr. G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12/12), Jr. F Perry Ellis (20/57), Jr. F Jamari Traylor (11/12)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 8-1
- Made Kansas 17-3 overall and 6-1 in Big 12 play for the 10th time under head coach Bill Self.
- Added to KU’s all-time series advantage, which Kansas now leads 8-1, including a 5-1 mark in Big 12 games and 3-1 in Fort Worth.
- Marked the fourth-straight win against TCU.
- Improved Self to 342-72 while at Kansas, 12-4 against TCU (6-1 at Kansas) and 549-177 overall.
- Made KU 2,143-825 all-time.
- Kansas held TCU to a season-low 30.6 (22-for-72) shooting efficiency.
- TCU’s 72 attempted shots are the most by a Kansas opponent this season and are the most shots taken by the opposition since North Carolina took 73 shots in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on March 24, 2013.
- Kansas’ 12 rejections at the rim are a team-high for the 2014-15 season, surpassing eight blocks against Kent State on Dec. 30, 2014. The 12 blocked shots are the most by a Kansas team since turning away 13 shots against San Diego State on Jan. 5, 2014.
- Seven different Jayhawks got in on the block party against TCU, tying the most individuals to reject a field goal attempt his season. Seven Kansas players also recorded a block in a win over Kent State on Dec. 30, 2014.
- Kansas’ 64 points mark its second-lowest point total in the all-time series against TCU. The lowest being the 62-55 loss (2/6/13).
- For just the fifth time this season, KU was outrebounded, but it was the first time the Jayhawks were outrebounded by double-digits (50-40). TCU is the first opponent to grab 50 or more boards against KU since Iowa State pulled down 53 (1/13/14).
- TCU’s 26 offensive rebounds were the most offensive boards given up by a Kansas team since surrendering 27 second chances off the glass to Arizona on Dec. 1, 2001.
- TCU also grabbed more offensive rebounds (26) than it did defensive rebounds (23) marking the first time a Kansas opponent has secured more possessions on the offensive glass since Texas grabbed 19 offensive rebounds compared to 18 defensive boards on Feb. 22, 2014.
- Kansas is 13-0 when leading after the first 20 minutes of play in 2014.
- After TCU senior G Kyan Anderson hit a three-pointer to put the Frogs up 7-5, they went on to make just one of their next 12 shots. That left Kansas room to open an 18-3 run.
- TCU responded, setting up what was a game of crucial runs. The Horned Frogs’ 8-0 run in the first half curbed KU’s 23-10 lead in the first half, while TCU came out on a 7-0 run to start the second half to take the 37-36 lead. TCU fought in the final seconds, outscoring KU 13-5 in the final 3:35.
- Kansas fouled TCU a season-high 26 times on the night, surpassing the previous high of 23 fouls at Iowa State on Jan. 17, 2015.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III chalked up a team-high 16 points to push his double-digit scoring streak to 17 games, tying Travis Releford’s 17-game streak in the 2012-13 season. He’s moving up the all-time streak list in the Bill Self era. After Wednesday, he’s tied for fifth-longest. Thomas Robinson (2011-12) and Marcus Morris (2010-11) hold the longest double-digit streaks in the Self era at 27 games.
- For the first time this year, Mason did not attempt a three-pointer.
- Junior F Perry Ellis scored the first points for Kansas for the 10th time this season, doubling the second-best Jayhawk in that category (Frank Mason III, 5).
- While Ellis scored the first two baskets, he also picked up the first two fouls. With 18:44 on the clock in the first half, Ellis was forced to the bench. He didn’t return until the start of the second half. By night’s end, he had fouled out for the second time this season (at Iowa State, 1/17).
- Sophomore F Landen Lucas, redshirt junior F Hunter Mickelson and freshman G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk checked in for the first time since each checked in at Iowa State (1/17). The three of them had a total of 11 points by halftime.
- Lucas finished with a career-high three blocks and tied his career-best with seven rebounds. His eight points came just one shy of tying his career-high (9 vs. Rider, 11/24/14).
- Sophomore G Brannen Greene scored all seven of his points in the second half and five of them with 33 seconds remaining. This season, Greene is 19-for-21 from the line with less than five minutes remaining.
- Greene pulled down a personal-best seven rebounds and tied his career-high with one block.
- Redshirt junior F Hunter Mickelson tied his KU career-best with two blocks.
- For the first time since returning from an injury suffered against Georgetown on Dec. 10, 2014, freshman G Devonte’ Graham did not record an assists. He now has 20 assists and three turnovers in his seven games back.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.