Kansas Kid Leads Jayhawks Over Wildcats, 68-57
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A timely meeting, the 280th edition of the Sunflower Showdown, pitted No. 9/11 Kansas against Kansas State just two days after Kansas Day. Wichita, Kansas native Perry Ellis enjoyed every minute, chalking up a double-double by halftime and leading KU past KSU, 68-57, inside Allen Fieldhouse Saturday.
Kansas (18-3, 7-1) controlled the first half against Kansas State (12-10, 5-4), making it possible to withstand the Wildcats’ much stronger attack in the final frame. The victory not only strengthened KU’s footing atop the Big 12 standings, but also marked the 550th win of head coach Bill Self’s 22-year career. After Saturday, 24 of those W’s have come at the expense of Kansas State.
Ellis, the only Kansan in the starting lineup on either side, led the way for the Jayhawks with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and paced the floor with a game-high 12 rebounds. He set the tone in the opening 20 minutes, busting out 13 points and 10 boards by halftime.
Sophomore guards Wayne Selden, Jr., and Brannen Greene cranked out all six of KU’s threes by themselves. Selden came through on both ends with 14 points and a career-high four blocks. Greene, the sharp-shooter, missed just once as he went 4-for-5 and finished with 11 points. Fellow sophomore Frank Mason III was uncharacteristic with a 3-for-12 shooting performance and no points at halftime – yet still managed to extend his double-digit scoring streak with his 10 points in the second half.
Sophomore guard Wayne Selden, Jr., swatted a
career-high four blocks against Kansas State.Self stuck with his eight-man lineup for the fourth time this year, but all eight played major roles. Every Jayhawk that checked in on Saturday contributed at least one assist, pulled down at least one rebound and all but one scored. KU ran the rebound column, 42-37, and outshot the visiting Wildcats, 44.8 percent to 33.3 percent.
On the opposing bench, senior center Thomas Gipson and sophomore guard Marcus Foster carried the load with 19 points apiece. Fellow senior Nino Williams, who’s injury status was questionable entering the game before appearing with the starting five, was held to only four points. Williams had been KSU’s second-leading scorer entering the contest.
With Ellis rolling out his early scoring barrage, KU made five of its first shots to open a 10-4 in the first five minutes. Meanwhile, the visitors started a chilly 1-for-12 from the floor to give the Jayhawks all kinds of room to grow. Back-to-back threes from Greene and Selden forced a timeout from the Wildcat bench, trailing 16-5.
Kansas pressed on. Freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr., and Ellis got to the rim for close-range buckets, bumping to lead to 20-5. Gipson, the only Wildcat to hit a shot through the first 10 minutes, finally snapped the scoring drought to curb KU’s raucous start. Ellis ramped the curb, driving right over it to win the race to double-figures. His three-point play coupled with a breakaway Devonte’ Graham steal-turned-Oubre dunk kept KU firmly in command, 29-12.
A single free throw by Foster was Kansas State’s only point in the final 3:30 of the half. Heading to halftime, KU had cornered the Wildcats into a dismal first 20 minutes. The visitors connected on a meager 17 percent (6-for-35) of their shots to total just 17 points – both opponent season-lows – and missed their last seven shots on its way to the break. In fact, only three Wildcats even scored in the frame. Kansas ran the table with a 33-17 halftime advantage.
Duplicating the same suffocation in the second half was a stretch. Kansas State came out of the break to make three of its first four attempts, but Kansas was already equipped to keep pace. Selden got it going with his second and third threes of the game, pushing his team closer to the 20-point margin.
Getting to that plateau, however, was elusive. Although two-straight shots from Wesley Iwundu marked just the fourth Wildcat on the scoreboard all game, it still trimmed the deficit to 13 points. When KSU hit its second three of the game, both from Foster, the Wildcats cut it back even more, 51-40. Now creeping too close for comfort, Kansas needed a boost.
Right on cue, there was Greene.
The sophomore spark plug pulled up for his third trey of the day. Greene’s shot was big, but Kansas State made certain the Jayhawks weren’t running away with it. Not many Wildcats were scoring, but the ones who were, did so a lot. Gipson and Foster connected for five points, heading off a pair of big layups from Selden and Mason.
Out of the final media timeout, KSU had time for one more push. Junior transfer Stephen Hurt sure tried, tallying his first points of the game with consecutive threes. Kansas had what it needed to clinch the 68-57 win.
Kansas will continue its stretch of three games in six days when the Jayhawks host No. 15/16 Iowa State on Feb. 2 Iowa State at 8 p.m., for ESPN Big Monday. KU will then travel to Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 1 p.m., on either ESPN or ESPN2.
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KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (21/24), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (21/56), Fr. G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (13/13), Jr. F Perry Ellis (21/58), Jr. F Jamari Traylor (12/13)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 188-92
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (222-consecutive sellouts)
- Gave head coach Bill Self his 550th-career win. Self now has an overall record of 550-177 in his 22 years as a head coach.
- Self is currently tied for 16th all-time with Miami head coach Jim Larranaga among active Division I head coaches with 550 victories.
- Made Kansas 18-3 overall and 7-1 in Big 12 play for the ninth time under Self.
- Added to KU’s all-time series advantage, which Kansas now leads 188-92, including a 41-4 mark in Big 12 games, 86-35 in games played in Lawrence and 45-18 inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- Marked the ninth-straight win against Kansas State inside Allen Fieldhouse beginning in 2007.
- Extended KU’s overall win streak in Allen Fieldhouse to 19 games, including a 10-0 record in the venue this season.
- Bettered KU’s all-time record inside Allen Fieldhouse to 723-109, including a 185-9 under Self.
- Improved Self to 343-72 while at Kansas, 24-4 against Kansas State (23-4 at Kansas) and 550-177 overall.
- Made KU 2,144-825 all-time.
- Since KU’s last loss to K-State in Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 14, 2006, Kansas is 9-0 in the Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence and has won each of the nine games by an average margin of 18.4 points.
- Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., missed a three-point attempt on the first shot of the game, but an offensive rebound by junior F Perry Ellis made way for an Oubre dunk and from that point on Kansas made five its next six shots building up a 10-4 lead at the 15:05 mark of the first half.
- After the opening bucket by Ellis, Kansas never trailed in the game and led by as many as 17 points in the contest.
- The Kansas defense held Kansas State to make just six of its 35 total shot attempts in the first half shots resulting in a meager shooting percentage of just 17 percent.
- The 17 percent was the Wildcats’ low in the first half this season, surpassing their previous low of 21.7 percent in the first half against Georgia on Dec. 31, 2014.
- Kansas also only allowed the Wildcats to score 17 points in the first half – the lowest by a Jayhawk opponent in a single half of play this season.
- Kansas took a 33-17 lead into halftime over the Wildcats and in the end emerged victorious resulting in a perfect 14-0 record for the Jayhawks when they are leading after 20 minutes this season.
- Up until the 12:02 mark in the second half, Kansas State only had three players make a shot in the game.
- For the fourth time this season, only eight players checked into the game, tying the least amount of players to see time on the court for Kansas since eight players participated against Michigan on March 29, 2013.
- In the last four games, KU’s bench has outscored the opponent’s reinforcements 111-28 (31-7 against Oklahoma, 31-8 against Texas, 35-4 at TCU and 14-9 against K-State).
- The second half of Saturday’s game, K-State made 14-of-25 shots (56 percent) to become just the seventh time this season that a team has shot over 50 percent from the field in a half against the Jayhawks.
- Junior F Perry Ellis posted his fifth double-double of the season in just over 19 minutes of play with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.
- Ellis became the first Kansas player to record a double-double in the first 20 minutes of play since Andrew Wiggins scored 11 points and secured 12 rebounds in the first half at Iowa State on Jan. 13, 2014.
- Ellis also brought home his 15th 10-plus-point game of the season after a put back with 7:50 to play in the first half gave him double digits. Ellis finished the contest with a team-best 16 points and 12 rebounds.
- Sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., set a new career-best with four blocks. Selden’s four blocks also tied the most by an individual Jayhawk this season (Cliff Alexander four against Michigan State Nov. 30, 2014).
- Selden’s four blocks are the most by a Kansas sophomore since Jeff Withey rejected four shots against Ohio on Nov. 26, 2010.
- Selden also leads the team with 10 games with multiple three-pointers this year, with Saturday being his 10th (3-of-6).
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III managed to push his double-digit scoring streak to 18-straight games after making two free throws with 25 seconds remaining in the contest. He’s moving up the all-time streak list in the Bill Self era. After Saturday, 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.
- Freshman G Devonte’ Graham’s four assists and zero turnovers against K-State now gives him an astounding 24 assists to just three turnovers in seven games since returning from an injury against Georgetown on Dec. 10, 2014.
- Sophomore G Brannen Greene has been a sharpshooter from beyond the three-point line over the last four contests. Aside from a trip to TCU where he did not attempt a three, Greene has made three or more triples in three of the last four games – including K-State (3-of-4). The marksman has only missed a trio of threes in that time and is 10-of-13 (77 percent) during this span.
POSTGAME QUOTES KANSAS
Kansas head coach Bill Self
On the difference for Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden, Jr., in the second half:
“I didn’t really think Mason was engaged as much as he has been. He got a couple of layups late. I thought Selden was pretty active and played with energy. Of course he made three three-point baskets, which was great to see the ball go through the basket for him. I thought Selden played pretty well but I don’t know if there was any one thing in the second half over the first half. In the second half, we weren’t nearly as good of a team, obviously.”
On if the win today was a step in the right direction:
“I don’t know – we played good in spurts today. We defended well, didn’t rebound great but not bad. I think we missed three or four layups in transition where usually we come away with points. I think (Jamari) Traylor fumbled an uncontested pass down the middle. We could’ve done some things to look better in the first half. The second half was just a trade-basket game. There wasn’t a lot of energy from either team. So we certainly have to tighten that up. It’s a step forward because we won, but I don’t know if it’s a huge step forward as far as us playing the way we need to, to win consistently.”
On the rebounding battle today:
“I think we were plus-seven or eight in the first half. (In the) Second half, I think they may have been plus-two, but I think they’re a good rebounding team. I think it hurt their team a little bit with (Nino) Williams not being healthy. He’s tough to keep off of the glass. He obviously didn’t play the number of minutes he would have if he was healthy so we may have caught a break there. I thought we rebounded decently, but not great.”
On if the plan was to play through Perry Ellis early in the game:
“Sure, we always do though. I think that’s important. If you watched us play, historically, we want to play inside-out early, but this is not an inside-out team. So we want to play through Ellis as much as we can, maybe as a perimeter player to work back inside off the drive or whatnot. Ellis delivered early; he had 13 points and 10 rebounds at halftime. I thought he played very well.”
On if he has seen a difference in Ellis the last few games:
“I think there has been. He was good at Texas. If I remember right, he was pretty good against Oklahoma. I thought he played pretty well in Ames. I didn’t think anyone played particularly well in Fort Worth. I would say he’s on a uptick, without question.”
Kansas junior forward Perry Ellis
On his double-double in the first half:
“It’s always a fun game playing against them so I just went out there and played aggressive and tried to get rebounds.”
On after taking a 20-5 lead if it was tough to remain focused:
“I wouldn’t say it was tough. They started to make shots and we need to learn to just keep making stops and that will be the key for this team.”
On what they need to do different this time around against Iowa State:
“Get back on defense and limit transition.”
On if rebounding had improved since TCU:
“It definitely has during practice. We’ve been doing rebounding drills with the pads and it has been working out so we just need to keep pressing on getting rebounds.”
Kansas freshman forward Kelly Oubre
On his comfort level and how his game has improved thus far:
“I would say on the defensive end and just keeping my man in front of me the majority of the time. Doing the little things that keep me on the court and playing with great guys keeps my confidence up.”
On how quickly they focus on Iowa State:
“Right now. We owe them.”
On what Perry’s play early in the game meant to the team:
“We had a feeling it would be his night in points and on rebounds because it was personal for him playing an in-state rival. We expected a big night out of him and that’s what we got. He had his first double-double of the season and played like Perry does.”
Kansas sophomore guard Wayne Selden
On having four blocked shots:
“I had messed up by not being back already so I felt I had to make up for it.”
On if he saw something ahead of time to get him ready for the game or if he started feeling good during the game:
“Just playing basketball and coming out for an in-state game and we really take a lot of pride in those games. We try to bring our best game which we didn’t do but next time we need to bring more energy.”
On if they fed off having a bad outing vs TCU and coach being critical of their play:
“I think we did, we took a small step forward. We’re not where we need to be or played anywhere near where we should have played tonight. I think we took a small step and didn’t go backwards, so that’s a good way to look at it and we’re just trying to get better for Monday.”
POSTGAME QUOTES KANSAS STATE
Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber
“I think you’ve got to give credit to Coach Self on what he has done with this group. To be 8-1 at the turn in the best league in the country, with a mixture of some veterans. I think Frank Mason’s involvement and Kelly (Oubre) making some strides, but Perry (Ellis), he’s just rock solid. I think even last year I thought he could be MVP of the league. He’s always there for them and I think it’s like our Will (Spradling) and Shane (Southwell) last year. Because they are no frills guys, I think people just forget about them.
“I was very disappointed in our competitive spirits, especially on the defensive end at the beginning of the game. We are a good defensive team; we talked about staying in character and doing what you do. We just let them get layup after layup to start the game and you spot them too many points to try to come back. You know they did some good, we kept battling back, and we got it to 11. Nigel (Johnson) had two free throws, missed them, Malek (Harris) got the rebound and either got it blocked or missed the layup and then you know (Wayne) Selden hit a three and Frank had a drive on the next one and it was pretty much over. When we were able to get it to Thomas (Gipson) – for some reason they decided not to trap him – he was very effective. I thought Marcus (Foster) settled down in the second half and did a better job, but we just didn’t get much off the bench. Justin Edwards went to the hoop hard, he’s just got to finish. This is all new for him, new game, new level, and new atmosphere. He had the dunk, the drives in the first half. I thought we missed at least four or five layups in the first half that could have kept us a little closer, but that’s to their credit, they have good athletes that protect the lane and they do a good job defensively. I think we had nine offensive rebounds in the first half, but we only had four or five points off of that. We had more offensive rebound than them, but they ended up with more points. We took a chance and just didn’t finish and they just outplayed us. “
On being fired up in the huddle at the first media timeout:
“I was just disappointed. We talked about not going one-on-one, and having some pride and guarding, and not letting them just dribble down the lane and make layups. The big thing our coaches talked about, the last two years here they make a little run. They’re going to make a run. They’re a good team. They’re always a good team, but when they do make a run you have to keep your poise and make them guard. Jevon (Thomas) shoots a tough shot, Marcus shoots a tough shot, and somebody else shoots a tough shot. We are a team that when we win, we have assists and at halftime we had two assists. Trying to challenge them to play at a higher level, maybe I did in the second half, you know I don’t know.”
On getting behind in the first half:
“I think they do it to everybody. We talked at halftime that Oklahoma was down by 20 at halftime and they came back. It’s what I talked about. You have to come in with the right mindset and can’t be affected. You know we go to Iowa State, we’ve been to Oklahoma and we were so focused and then we came here and we weren’t ready to guard them the way we need to guard. Bill does a good job, they have versatile parts, and they spread you. You have to be hooked up. If you ask for a common denominator, you go on your own and try to make plays. I don’t think that is selfish, but it’s the crowd and the emotion instead of just playing good basketball. We have to worry about Texas Tech now.”
On working against some kind of mystique when playing at Allen Fieldhouse:
“Not many people have won here. He’s got only nine losses in his 12 or 13 years, however many he’s been here. Obviously, if you are going to come in here you have to guard them and fight them; I’m not saying with fists, you have to battle them. If you don’t do that, if you think you are going to go in and just be pretty and soft, you aren’t going to win.”
On Nino Williams’ health:
“Luke, our trainer did a great job. He had a strained, or sprained, or irritated patella tendon, he did three to four treatments Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. He did a little with us yesterday. We told him to warmup and see what he could do. I could tell by his first couple shots, I’m not sure where his mindset was. That was our only fear of him playing was the next nine games. Hopefully he responds well. We’ve had some tough luck from the beginning with injuries. D.J. not being there from the beginning of the year, three-four guys out for two weeks or more in October getting ready, Nigel gets hurt against Iowa State, Nino against West Virginia, sometimes that happens. You can’t do anything about it. You are on the team long enough, you coach long enough, some years are just like that and you just have to keep battling.”
On where the team is halfway through the conference schedule:
“Five-and-four. Obviously competed pretty well. You go to Oklahoma and win a tough road game, competed with pretty good teams. If you have Nino against West Virginia, do you win at home? I don’t know you know, 6-3 would have been a pretty good start. We aren’t, we don’t have it, we are 5-4. We need to stay the course, mature, keep battling and come ready to play Texas Tech on Wednesday.”
On Gipson’s second half:
“We just got it to him more. We were patient. Again it’s that fine line in the first half. He missed a couple easy ones in the first half that maybe would have helped us along with some other guys. The crowd is so loud, it’s tough to control the tempo of the game. We took some tough shots, weren’t patient enough, didn’t get it to him, but he played like a senior should. Still, he rebounded, he scored, he did a lot of good things for us.”
On what the bench could do better to help:
“It would help to score, that’s for sure. Justin made some points, Nigel had some opportunities, 1-for-4 from the line. When Justin does well, usually we win games because now you have Wes and Justin giving us something. Hurt made a couple of jumpers, but maybe the game was too quick and physical for him. When we beat Oklahoma he produced and that is why we won on the road.
On Marcus Foster pressing in the first half:
“He just didn’t let the game come to him. That is what we talked about – the preparation, understanding to let the game come, play hard, be ready to guard, worry about how you’re going to stop your opponent. He’s a scorer, he’s going to make shots. He took too many quick ones that now you say when Thomas got going, we probably wish he would have been a little more patient in the first half.”
On being hesitant resting Gipson in the second half:
“He gets tired. He asked out at least one of the times. We have kicked ourselves in the butt a couple of times at Iowa State where we left him in too long with too many guys and we didn’t have anything in the end. Again, you have to have some bench guys produce if you are going to be successful.”
On noticing a difference when Gipson was guarded by Alexander rather than Traylor:
“Well, Cliff doesn’t quite know defensive techniques and preparations, we were probably able to take advantage by getting some deeper seals. Cliff is a great athlete, he can make a mistake. We got him on Steven Hurt, Hurt had him at the rim, we ran misdirection, and Alexander still came back and blocked it. Cliff is still a young guy learning, he still has great upside, a great body and great athleticism. I’ve watched him since eighth or ninth grade. He’s got a good future ahead of him.”