Selden Soars, Kansas Takes Command Over Iowa State, 89-76
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Scoring just one point in the first half didn’t matter to Wayne Selden, Jr., but maintaining sole possession of first place in the Big 12 Conference race certainly did. The sophomore guard erupted for 19 second-half points to power No. 8/9 Kansas to a commanding 89-76 win against No. 11/14 Iowa State on ESPN Big Monday inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Monday’s matchup marked the midway point of the Big 12 Conference season, putting all the more emphasis on the meeting between first-place Kansas (19-3, 8-1) and second-place Iowa State (16-5, 6-3).
Everyone in the packed building was well-aware of the game’s importance, screaming their support through a game that never slowed. The Cyclones entered the night as the best scorers in the conference and had posted a league leading field-goal percentage to match. Their junior forward, Georges Niang – a former Tilton School and AAU teammate of Selden – led an offense which was just one of six teams in the NCAA with five players averaging double-figures.
The duo didn’t disappoint inside the raucous arena. Selden’s second-half onslaught saw him lead the Jayhawks with 20 points on a season-best 5-of-7 from three-point range, while Niang tallied a game-high 24 points on 3-of-5 efficiency from beyond the arc. The two were supported by a stellar cast on both sides, but it was Kansas who finished with five players in double-figures for the fifth time this season.
Junior forward Perry Ellis followed Selden with 17 points and tied sophomore forward Landen Lucas with six boards. Freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr., came up with 16 points and sophomore guard Brannen Greene added 11. For the second-straight game, sophomore guard Frank Mason III went scoreless in the first half but still found a way to extend his double-digit scoring streak to 19-straight games. He finished with 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Big 12 assists leader, ISU’s Monte’ Morris, dished out five dimes to go with his 12 points. Guards Bryce Dejean-Jones and Naz Long rounded out the scoreboard with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
For the night, Kansas posted its fourth game of the year over 50 percent shooting (32-of-63), but held Iowa State far below its Big 12-leading 49.1 field-goal percentage on the season (41.7, 30-for-72).
Six minutes in, neither team was hitting much of anything. Both made just two of their first nine shots and ISU took an early 8-5 advantage. Niang, as expected, impacted the night from the beginning with ISU’s first pair of threes to spark his Cyclones to an 18-11 advantage. The momentum belonged to the visitors – momentarily.
Greene did what he does. He pulled up for a crucial three and nailed it. A less likely threat from three-point range, Ellis duplicated the result nonetheless for an instant 6-0 run. After watching his team trail for more than 10-straight minutes, Greene did it again. This time the long ball put KU back in front, 21-20. The sharpshooter sparked a 20-6 Kansas rally, where he was joined by Ellis, Graham and two more threes from Oubre.
By halftime’s arrival, Kansas turned a seven-point deficit into a seven-point lead, 35-28. The Jayhawks had to get hot to make it happen, waking up from a 2-of-12 shooting start to sprint into the lockerroom shooting 57 percent (12-of-21) over the final 12 minutes. Though KU posted a 42 percent efficiency for the half (14-of-33), the home team held ISU to a season-low 35 percent (12-of-34) in the opening frame.
A joyful Wayne Selden and Evan Manning celebrate KU’s win over Iowa State.
In the second half, Iowa State benefitted from close-range makes from Morris and Long, but again fell victim to the three-ball moments later. Selden let loose for his first and second treys of the night, blowing open KU’s largest lead of the game, 49-34.
Niang retaliated, and there’s no way he wouldn’t. His back-to-back shots started chipping away at the deficit. His first three of the half trimmed it to 10, 51-41. So did Selden. He went punch-for-punch with his former prep school teammate. Niang’s third three meant Selden’s third three and Kansas stayed in front.
In the end, Selden overtook him. The sophomore fired off three number four, and the relentless crowd roared in approval. Kansas slammed on the gas, countering every ISU comeback attempt with something bigger and better. Mason finally started scoring, still in time to extend his streak. Throwing gas on the fire, Oubre slammed a dunk, shoving KU’s shooting percentage over 60 percent for the half.
The Cyclones split up, using their incredible scoring balance to get five-straight buckets from four different guys. Dejean-Jones hit a vital three to cut the deficit to 10. Yet, the Jayhawks and their thunderous crowd had it under control. Greene and Mason locked down the final points, sending Kansas to an 8-1 league record with the 89-76 win.
Starting up the second half of its 2015 Big 12 season, Kansas hits the road for two games with a Saturday, Feb. 7 game at Oklahoma State at 1 p.m. (Central), on either ESPN or ESPN2, and a Tuesday, Feb. 10, contest at Texas Tech at 8 p.m., on ESPN2. The Jayhawks will return to Allen Fieldhouse on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, to host Baylor at 12 p.m., on CBS.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (22/25), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (22/57), Fr. G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (14/14), Jr. F Perry Ellis (22/59), Jr. F Jamari Traylor (13/14)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 176-61
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (223-consecutive sellouts)
- Made Kansas 19-3 overall and 8-1 in Big 12 play for the eighth time under head coach Bill Self.
- Added to KU’s all-time series advantage, which Kansas now leads 176-61, including a 32-10 mark in Big 12 games, 91-15 in games played in Lawrence and 50-9 inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- Marked the 10th-straight win against Iowa State inside Allen Fieldhouse beginning in 2006.
- Extended KU’s overall win streak in Allen Fieldhouse to 20 games, including an 11-0 record in the venue this season.
- Bettered KU’s all-time record inside Allen Fieldhouse to 724-109, including a 186-9 under Self.
- Improved Self to 344-72 while at Kansas, 22-5 against Kansas State (21-5 at Kansas) and 551-177 overall.
- Made KU 2,145-825 all-time.
- In regular-season play, Kansas has not been beaten twice by the same Big 12 opponent in the Bill Self era. When including the Big 12 Championship, Kansas has been beaten by the same opponent twice in a season only once (67-82 at Texas, 2/23/04; 60-64 vs. Texas, 3/13/04) in Self’s 12 years.
- KU’s 89 points on Monday against Iowa State are the most by the Jayhawks in Big 12 Conference play this season. That also ties ISU for the most points scored by any Big 12 team in conference play this season (89 vs. Texas, 1/26).
- The Jayhawk’s 54 points in the second half are also the most points scored in a half by KU this season.
- Kansas forced Iowa State sophomore G Monte’ Morris into four turnovers on just five assists. Morris entered the contest as the Big 12’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5:1.
- Iowa State’s 72 shot attempts in the game tied TCU for the most shot attempts by a Kansas opponent this season.
- Contrary to the final box score when Kansas played Iowa State in Ames, Iowa on Jan. 17, the Cyclones burst out in transition for 21 fastbreak points. On Monday, Kansas dropped back effectively on defense and outscored ISU on the run 14-12 for the game.
- Both squads were ice-cold from the floor to begin the game. At the first media timeout with 15:57 to play in the first half, Iowa State held a slim 6-4 lead while both teams were a combined 4-of-15 of the field.
- After starting 2-for-12 from the floor, the Jayhawks quickly recuperated and out of the slump, catching fire from three-point land. KU turned its fortunes into a 42 percent total by half’s end (14-of-33), finishing the first 20 minutes on a 12-of-21 (57 percent) performance from the field.
- Ignited by freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (10 first-half points), junior F Perry Ellis (nine first-half points) and Greene (seven first-half points), the Jayhawks closed out the first half on a 24-10 run, taking a 35-28 lead into halftime.
- Kansas is now 15-0 when leading at the half this season.
- Kansas forced Iowa State to shoot a well-below average 35 percent (12-of-34) from the field in the first half – the Cyclones’ lowest shooting percentage in the first half of a game this season.
- The second-half scoring for Kansas belonged to sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., who drilled two threes and a jumper just four minutes and 45 seconds into the second period, powering Kansas to its first double-digit lead of the game.
- In the last five games, KU’s bench has outscored the opponent’s reinforcements 131-36 (31-7 against Oklahoma, 31-8 against Texas, 35-4 at TCU, 14-9 against K-State and 20-8 versus Iowa State).
- Kansas was outrebounded by the Cyclones 41-38 on the night, marking just the sixth time this season the Jayhawks have lost the battle on the glass. KU is now 4-2 in these games.
- KU’s 60 percent shooting efficiency (18-of-30) in the second half became KU’s fourth-best shooting percentage in a single half of play this season behind season’s-best 72 percent (16-of-22) in the second half against Baylor on Jan. 7, 2015. That is the fifth time this season that KU shot 60 percent or better in a half.
- In the first 20 minutes of action, sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., had only managed one point, but in the second half the Roxbury, Massachusetts native turned it on. He made an astounding 7-of-9 shots and poured on 19 points, on his way to a team-best 20 in the contest.
- Selden’s five threes in the second half are the most in a single half of play by a Jayhawk since Sherron Collins drilled five in the second half against Oklahoma on Feb. 23, 2009.
- Selden’s 19 second-half points were the most by a Kansas player since former teammate Andrew Wiggins had 24 of his total 41 points in the second half against West Virginia on March, 8 2014.
- Selden’s 20 points became the seventh time this season a Kansas player has scored 20 or more points in a single contest.
- Selden’s 20 total points are the most he’s scored since taking over in the second portion of the Florida game on Dec. 5, 2014 when he erupted for 14 second-half points en route to his season-high 21 on the night against the Gators.
- Selden also drained a career-high-tying five shots from beyond the arc. He had previously made five treys in a win over Oklahoma on Jan. 8, 2014.
- His five threes also tied for the most by a Jayhawk this season. Brannen Greene made five threes in a win over Georgetown on Dec. 10, 2014.
- Selden also leads the team with 11 games with multiple three-pointers this year, with Monday being his 11th (5-of-7).
- With sophomore G Brannen Greene’s successful free throws with 47 seconds remaining, that put five KU players in double digits on the night (Selden 20, Ellis 17, Oubre 16, Mason 12, Greene 11). That’s the fifth time this season KU has seen five players reach double-figures.
- Greene has been a sharpshooter from beyond the three-point line over the last five contests. Aside from a trip to TCU where he did not attempt a three, Greene has made multiple triples in four of the last five games – including Iowa State (2-of-3). The marksman has only missed four threes in that time and is 12-of-16 (75 percent) during this span.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III dished a personal season’s-best seven assists in the first 20 minutes of play. Mason’s previous high was six assists against Lafayette on Dec. 20, 2014. Mason completed the night one shy of his career-high with eight assists.
- For the second-straight contest, Mason’s second-half effort (zero first-half points) once again managed to push his double-digit scoring streak to 19-straight games after making two free throws with three minutes remaining in the contest. He’s moving up the all-time streak list in the Bill Self era. After Monday, he’s tied for fourth-longest. Thomas Robinson (2011-12) and Marcus Morris (2010-11) hold the longest double-digit streaks in the Self era at 27 games.
- Mason has also been taking quality care of the ball from his point guard position. His eight assists compared to two turnovers against Iowa State on Monday now give him 20 assists to eight turnovers over the previous five games.
- Freshman G Devonte’ Graham’s four assists and zero turnovers against Iowa State now gives him an astounding 28 assists to just three turnovers in eight games since returning from an injury against Georgetown on Dec. 10, 2014.
- Junior F Perry Ellis made 6-of-13 shots for 17 points while pulling down six rebounds. Over the previous six games, he is averaging 13.7 points per game and is shooting 53 percent from the field.
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POSTGAME QUOTES KANSAS
Kansas head coach Bill Self
On his feelings toward the atmosphere and enjoyment in playing in these kinds of games:
“I think we usually play better when the team we’re playing against plays with pace. I think it’s probably easier to slow a team down than it is to speed them up. Iowa State, when we play them, I think both teams try to guard without question, but neither team tries to utilize the shot clock much. We probably utilized it more in the second half and got the clock down under 10 more, but Fred (Hoiberg, Iowa State head coach) does a great job and they’re a class program. It’s fun and it’s a fun team to compete against.”
On the importance for Wayne Selden Jr., to play well in this game:
“I think when you score (almost) 20 (points) in a half, against good players, it’s going to help your confidence. He got a goose egg in the first half, and I could be wrong but was 0-1 from three. In the second half, he was 5-6 from three, so that was huge. You can’t bank on guys shooting the ball like that, but going into the game, if you were to think that we could match them from the three-point line, it’ll probably be a positive for us. For us to make three more (shots) and the same attempts, that was big for us. He was terrific. Of course, Brannen (Greene) made some shots and Kelly (Oubre, Jr.) made some shots in the first half.”
On the number of uncontested three-pointers for Selden:
“I think that it is a product of our scouting report as much as anything. If you watch how Iowa State guards us, they never guarded the high-post, unless it was Perry (Ellis), so there were always guys around the post area. I think a lot of it was the scouting report, but we did have decent ball movement. We kind of went into a different mode the majority of the game and it worked out for us, but I think you play percentages. I think there were some looks that he had in which Wayne’s man can dive hard off of him when the ball goes inside, and we were able to make them pay with that.”
On how the team changes when Selden plays well:
“We’re kind of a weird team, which I’ve said before, because we have to score points on the block by driving it. We don’t score by throwing it inside and guys scoring. If you look at the points tonight, Landen (Lucas) made a basket, I think Cliff (Alexander) made one off of half-court offense and Perry made one off of the half-court offense, but most of our baskets are from guys driving it to the post – either guards or Mari (Jamari Traylor) or Perry. So if teams take your low post offense away, you’ve got to have somebody make some shots and I think that’s one thing that’s been good with us. We’ve found a way to win some games where we’ve kind of done it a little differently than what we’ve practiced all the time and what we’ve emphasized — tonight was one of those nights. If we don’t make some shots, who knows if we’d been in the position we were in late. Wayne is such a key. When you have Wayne and Landen, and the way Kelly and Frank (Mason III) played, you have four really good offensive players who are hard to guard.”
Kansas sophomore guard Wayne Selden, Jr.
On coming back off the bench for a big game:
“I just remained confident. Even before I hit the three, I knew my next one was going to go in.”
On the depth of the team:
“I feel like we have a lot of guards that can play, so when you get in there you have to give it your all. We’ve got other guys that can play when you come out, we just keep it moving.”
On the mindset going into the game:
“There was a lot on our mind because we were so worried about the last game, we thought about it so much. It’s been hard ever since it happened—even playing other teams we would get away from it. We were really looking forward to this one. They outplayed us the first time, but I think we played pretty well tonight.”
On the loss in Ames leading up to Big 12 play:
“We weren’t thinking about the Big 12 race at all, we were thinking more about the loss in Ames and what we did wrong. The main thing was transition buckets, and we tried to limit those as much as we could.”
On if this game sets things right for the team and gives it momentum:
“Yeah, but we didn’t close it out how we wanted to. We didn’t take care of the ball, but we did do a lot of good things tonight and we have to take those good things and keep them moving.”
Kansas freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr.
On how much more comfortable and confident he is playing:
“When I’m playing with great guys like this, it just makes me feel comfortable on the court. I know if I mess up, they’re going to pick up my slack. I try not to mess up so I make their job easier, but playing with great guys like this really helps me out.”
On what the focus was for the game:
“Make sure they don’t get any fast breaks. That was our gameplan in Ames and we didn’t follow through with it. We were very aware of that tonight and did a much better job.”
On the ability of this team to find the hot hands:
“That’s the good thing about our team – we have so many guys that can score the ball, so many guys that can defend, so when we are on the court it is pretty much like my turn, your turn. Whoever is on, is whoever gets the ball because we just respect each other’s game and we know that each other can put the ball in the hole.”
On the mentality of owing Iowa State something after losing in Ames:
“Definitely. They are our only loss in the Big 12 Conference right now and after the loss in Ames we knew that we had to get them back.”
On his feelings about sophomore guard Wayne Selden’s big game:
“I mean, he needed that because he’s been such a great teammate this year and he hasn’t even been to the level he can play it. He found another gear tonight and it is a stepping stool for him to continue to move forward and be a great player like he is, like I know he can be.”
Kansas junior forward Perry Ellis
On the team’s guards:
“It’s going to be great. Having so many different options wing-wise – we’ve got Kelly (Oubre), Wayne (Selden), Brannen Green. It’s going to be big because it will balance everything out and people have to guard everybody.”
On trying to out-run Iowa State:
“We definitely tried to out-run them, that was the emphasis on the game. We did great on that compared to the first game.”
On his thoughts of the up-tempo game:
“We have a lot of athletes on the team that like to get up and down so when we have the opportunity to do that, it’s sort of good.”
On how good he thought Wayne Selden was in the game:
“He was great. He is always positive, so I knew he was going to come out and play today.”
POSTGAME QUOTES IOWA STATE
Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg
On not being able to sustain the momentum after a positive start:
“Well, turnovers. In the first half against TCU, we tried to get into small gaps that weren’t there and I talked about coming into this building, you can’t give them those transition points. I felt like we did that. We got up seven points early. I thought we were really fighting and battling and doing a good job on the glass. Once we started turning the ball over, that gave them rhythm. They get dunks and transition points, that gives them confidence. This building explodes when they get those dunks in transition. I’ve seen it a million times. They did a good job. They were sitting in there – again, we were trying splits that weren’t there and didn’t make simple plays. We had nine turnovers and they took advantage of that.”
On the difference in this game that prevented Iowa State from getting the transition baskets that they got at home against Kansas:
“Well you look at the first half, and it was 10-0 in the fast break in their favor. Second half, we got 12 of them. A lot of those came in desperation mode down the stretch. I didn’t think we were as committed to running as we were in the first game. Our wings weren’t getting down to the corners. They were stopping at the free throw line. They weren’t really driving lanes that you need to create by being committed to running to the corners. We didn’t do a good job of that tonight. Again, we’re trying to dribble-split into there instead of swinging the ball side-to-side, and generally good things happen when we do that.”
On how sophomore guard Wayne Selden got the looks that he got in the second half:
“He was great, you have to take your hat off to him. He hit some tough shots. He hit a couple where I didn’t think our urgency was good enough. [Naz] Long pulls up short to him late in the shot clock when he hit that one in the right corner. They did a good job – they did a good job finding him. They played a great basketball game. They had a great game plan and they executed it. It’s a team that’s playing great basketball right now. It’s going to be fun to watch to see how this thing plays out down the stretch with nine games left, but I think Kansas is playing as well as they have all season right now.”
On the margin for error playing in Allen Fieldhouse:
“It’s tough. What has Bill lost – nine times in this building? It’s tougher than hell to walk out of this building with a win.”
On how this team is different from Kansas teams in the past:
“I think one thing is that they’re shooting it a lot better than they have. They’re shooting almost 40 percent as a team. Greene is shooting over 70 percent in his last five games. Oubre’s got it going. He was 2-for-15 coming into this one in his last five games, but he obviously took the lid off tonight. When they’re shooting the ball like that and have [Perry] Ellis down in the block, [Frank] Mason doing an unbelievable job running the show for this team, it’s a hard team to stop.”
Iowa State junior guard Naz Long
On what did KU do to defend in transition better than the last game:
“They were getting back a little bit. But with that being said, I feel like we could’ve pushed the pace a little harder and it went a little both ways.”
On the differences between today’s game and the meeting in Ames, aside from transition play:
“We can definitely say turnovers. Coming out of the gate we were emphasizing that and I put that a little on myself. I caused the first couple turnovers and we were just doing uncharacteristic things. It’s tough, but we came out of the gate right and it’s nothing big. Just a couple things here and there and we’ll get right back to it because the season is not over.”
Iowa State junior forward Georges Niang
On the first half turnovers:
“I think some of us were just making mental mistakes and you can’t really have that in this tough environment. We have to limit those mental mistakes and I don’t think we did that.”
On this being the best 20 minutes Kansas has played:
“Yeah, they were making shots and getting buckets in transition. They’re a really tough team to play. I’m sure they play really well and they’re going to play a little better down the stretch, but I thought they played a solid game.”
On Greene catching fire and seeming to be unable to miss:
“Yeah, when they’re shooting the ball like that they’re really tough to guard. Greene is on a hot streak right and he was really shooting it when he made those tough threes – it was tough to get going after that.”
On Selden being an X-factor:
“Yeah, I think in the first half when he was missing shots he was really out of the loop and not playing his game. When he’s playing well they’re pretty tough to stop. I think we gave them a little too much with letting them get those threes off for sure.”
On how this game impacts the Big 12 race…
“The season’s not over, so I’ll just leave it at that.”