No. 7 Kansas Outmuscles TCU, 75-56
FORT WORTH, Texas – No. 7 Kansas outmuscled TCU in the paint with a plus-21 rebound margin and a plus-32 scoring margin in the lane on the way to a 75-56 road victory at Schollmaier Arena.
Kansas (19-4, 7-3 Big 12) snaps a three-game road losing streak in league play while maintaining at least a tie for second in the Big 12 standings entering Tuesday’s tilt against West Virginia for the upper hand in the Big 12 title race.
Senior forward Perry Ellis scored 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting with 10 rebounds for his third double-double this season. Ellis scored 22 of his 23 points in the paint on 11-of-11 shooting in the lane.
“Perry was so efficient and solid today,” KU head coach Bill Self said after the game. “I thought he went after the ball today and played with great urgency.”
KU’s backcourt effectively controlled the pace of the game as sophomore Devonte’ Graham scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting and junior Frank Mason III contributed 12 points with six assists and four rebounds.
Jamari Traylor’s stat line of six points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes didn’t accurately reflect the impact the senior forward had on the Jayhawks’ effort on the road.
“I thought we played hard together as a team,” Bill Self said after the game. “Jamari Traylor was the best player of the game. He extended plays and gave us confidence that made us really, really good on the glass.”
KU’s strength on the glass was highlighted by advantages of 46 to 25 in rebounding and 46 to 14 in points in the paint. It is KU’s highest scoring margin in the paint this season and highest rebound margin during Big 12 play this season.
The Jayhawks shot 50 percent from the field while holding TCU (10-13, 1-9) to 29 percent from the field. TCU’s J.D. Miller came off the bench to record 13 points and five rebounds in just 21 minutes.
Kansas returns home to face West Virginia on Tuesday night (6 p.m., ESPN2) in Allen Fieldhouse. The second matchup between the Jayhawks and Mountaineers will prove to be pivotal in the Big 12 regular season title race as KU enters Tuesday in a tie for second place in the Big 12 standings, while WVU began Saturday in a tie for first place.
KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS):
• Jr. G Frank Mason III (23/62)
• So. G Devonte’ Graham (22/22)
• Jr. G Wayne Selden Jr. (23/94)
• Sr. F Perry Ellis (24/94)
• Jr. F Landen Lucas (5/19)
• Kansas has won eight-straight against TCU and lead the all-time series 12-1.
ATTENDANCE: 6,516 Schollmaier Arena (6,800 capacity)
• Makes Kansas 19-4, 7-3 in Big 12 play.
• Gives Kansas its eighth-straight win against TCU, making the series 12-1 in favor of the Jayhawks.
• Makes KU 6-4 in games away from Allen Fieldhouse this season, including 3-3 in true road contests.
• Makes Bill Self 371-78 while at Kansas, 578-187 all-time and 16-4 versus TCU (9-1 while at Kansas).
• Makes KU 2,172-835 all-time.
• Kansas breaks a three-game road losing streak, improving to 3-3 in true road games and 2-3 in Big 12 road games this season.
• TCU’s 20 first-half points marks the lowest scoring output by a KU opponent in a half since Baylor scored 18 points in the first half on March 13, 2015. The Horned Frogs’ 14 field goals (28.6%) ties the lowest amount of field goals made against KU this season with the Montana game (Dec. 19).
• Kansas outscored TCU in the paint, 46 to 14, for a margin of plus-32. TCU’s 14 points in the paint ties the fewest from a KU opponent this season with the Montana (Dec. 19) and Holy Cross (Dec. 9) games.
• Kansas outrebounded TCU, 46 to 25. KU’s plus-21 rebound margin is the largest rebound margin this season. TCU’s total 25 rebounds are the fewest by a KU opponent this season. KU is 16-1 when outrebounding its opponent.
• After just 23 games this season, three Jayhawks have reached 300 points this season — Perry Ellis (385), Wayne Selden Jr. (334), Frank Mason III (300).
• Kansas scored 11 points in transition to TCU’s two points in transition. In the last two games, the Jayhawks have a 23 to 2 fast-break scoring advantage.
• Kansas shot 11 for 13 from the free throw line.
• KU’s 18-point halftime lead (38-20) was the largest during Big 12 play this season.
• Kansas never trailed and led for 39 minutes and 44 seconds — 99 percent of regulation. It is the seventh time this season and first time during Big 12 play that a KU opponent has not lead at any point during regulation.
• Kansas improves to 9-0 on Saturdays this season.
• Kansas improves to 13-0 when holding opponents to under 70 points.
Senior F Perry Ellis
• Scored 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting with 10 rebounds in 34 minutes.
• Shot 11-for-11 in the paint, scoring 22 of 23 total points in the lane.
• His 11 FGs are the second-most by a Jayhawk in a game this season behind Wayne Selden Jr., 12 buckets against Kentucky.
• Has led KU in scoring in six of 10 Big 12 games, averaging 19.4 points per Big 12 contest.
• Notched his third double-double of the season and 15th of his career.
• Now has 1,542 career points, passing Drew Gooden (2000-02; 1,526) for 18th on KU’s career scoring list.
• Now has 767 career rebounds, passing Thomas Robinson (2010-12; 763) for 14th on KU’s career rebounding list.
Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham
• Scored 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting with three assists and two steals in 27 minutes.
Junior G Frank Mason III
• Led Kansas in assists for 16th time this season, dishing out six dimes with 12 points in 39 minutes.
• Moved into KU’s top-20 in career assists, passing Keith Langford (2002-05; 322) for 20th with 323.
Junior G Wayne Selden Jr.
• Dished out five assists in just 22 minutes while dealing with an illness.
• Saturday marked his third game with five assist or more this season.
• Did not make a 3-pointer for the first time during Big 12 play this season (0-4 3FG).
On their first half:
“We did play pretty efficiently in the first half. I thought early on we were really good; we just didn’t make shots. But the guys played good defense and rebounded the ball very well basically in the entire first half. We got a comfortable lead and then even though we didn’t play near as well the second half, ball percentages prevailed, we didn’t let them really put game pressure on us.”
“TCU has always given us a hard time on the glass. I thought we rebounded the ball more like men tonight than what we did in prior; we’ve been really good or not very good at all in those particular areas. That was much better. I thought our energy – Devonte’ was great, but I thought Jamari [Traylor] was really the key to the game from the energy standpoint.”
On their ability with their roster:
“I love our roster. I don’t know that there’s a team in America this year that can say they’ve got everything. Last year’s Kentucky team could say they had everything. They had premier shooting, they had depth, they had shot blockers, big bodies, and they could probably try to fit whatever the other teams were doing against them. We’re not like that but we do have bodies and we do have good players. But to me, when we play the right way, I think that we’re really, really good. I do. I love watching our team play when we play the right way, and I think these guys would agree. But when we don’t share or we’re not aggressive and things like this we can get average, and talent doesn’t prevail with us. That’s why I think it’s so important at the habits of the energy and things like that. I really drilled with our guys and become more consistent because in a six game playoff, you lose and you’re out. All it takes is for one day to be a little off. I don’t think we’re near consistent enough in that area.”
On their defense:
“I thought the first half for the most part we defended the entire clock. Didn’t have many breakdowns; second half we had more. It was basically one and done for the most part. Nobody shoots a real low percentage in this game unless they do miss some open shots too, so we were fortunate they missed some open looks. Even though statistically we didn’t get a lot of steals I thought we were more active.”
On their start:
“I thought we got off to a good start. I’m not sure that was because we challenged them or anything; I can’t figure our team out that well to know what exactly is the reason why certain things happen. I do think our guys understand that we’re, as the announcer said earlier, we’re on the back nine of the league race, so everything is magnified and you’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity.”
On TCU’s situation:
“I know I’m a big Trent fan, and Kwanza was on my staff at Tulsa with me, so I love Kwanza. The thing about it is, and I’ve been through it, we’ve lost 18 in a row at Oral Roberts; it’s hard to get over the hump and it seems like right when you’re getting close something negative can happen. The injury they had before the season was a big loss, and when you’re fighting that uphill battle there’s less margin for air. You need some positive momentum things to happen. From the outside looking in, the program’s in, to me, a much better shape. You look at the beautiful facility that you’ll be able to recruit to, and they’ve got good, young players. Those guards and stuff, those are good players. I think that they’re going to continue to get better, but you’ve got to stay healthy. They haven’t been very lucky in that area.”
Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham
On the Jayhawk crowd at the game:
“I was surprised to see, or hear, as many fans we had here, but it was nice and it kind of got it going a little bit.”
On his performance today:
“[I’m] just trying to have energy like coach has been preaching to us and getting on the floor for loose balls.”
On his performance today:
“I just try to do my job every time I step on the court, and today I played alright.”
On their ability to win today:
“A lot of it was because of offensive rebounds. Jamari [Traylor] getting second chance opportunities, just trying to play inside out. Perry did a good job of finishing his side, getting angles and different things like that. When we don’t shoot well we just got to try a way to win, so getting the ball inside is the key.”
Senior F Perry Ellis
On the Jayhawk crowd at the game:
“It’s always definitely a boost having fans there cheering us on, so that was great.”
On what helped get them this win:
“I think we’re just going after everything. Jamari [Traylor] was a big part of that, just bringing that energy, and we followed him.”
On being able to out-play TCU:
“I just know that we did real well rebounding, and I don’t know if that was the cause, but I mean I’m just proud of how we did on the boards.”
On getting this road win:
“It’s very valuable, every game is. We’re trying to take it game by game, and go out and compete every game.”
TCU Head Coach Trent Johnson
“Well there’s really not a lot to say other than the fact that they were right when we knew they would be; they were right and we had no fight. We didn’t have a lot of fight. They did whatever they wanted to. 46 to 25 on the glass speaks volumes to how competitive they were and how competitive we weren’t. I thought we got the ball in certain spots and they’re good defensively so they physically pushed our guys off a little bit. Again we went to the free throw line 33 times, shot two and three. So this game was decided because of their maximum effort and our lack of.”
On team morale:
“Some of them [are discouraged], yeah, but it is what it is. We can sit up here and we can talk about a lot of things; you can make a lot of excuses for a lot of things, but the bottom line is the things that we can control and things that they can control are the ability to be physical, put a body on people, block out, take care of the ball on fourth turns. I thought for the most part in the last week or two, I thought we’ve done a decent job of trying to take care of the ball. But again, mentally and physically in this league, in league plays, which is where we’ve had our problems day in and day out, there’s no room and there’s no place to hide. So there’s some guys in there probably should be and are discouraged, a little down. They knew what was coming, they knew what they were getting into.”
On his team:
“You can make a lot of excuses for who’s not out there, you can make a lot excuses for youth and inexperience, but no, if you can play and you are competitive, you’ll find a way. That’s what I tend to dwell on. The things that we’ve got to do a better job of, obviously it’s starts and ends with unforced turnovers, and I’ll be the first one to say, like I told them, I didn’t see this coming from the standpoint of us. Not beating them to 50/50 balls and those kinds of things. There’s one senior, there’s a bunch of juniors and some sophomores who are talented and we brought them here to play and make plays, and there’s a couple freshman.”
On this matchup with Kansas:
“Physically there are some things that they have individually and collectively that we don’t, but when you initially can see a back door lob and you can react to it and you’re not reacting to it, or a 50/50 ball where he’s there and he’s there and you can’t get to it… All you’ve got to do is look at the stat sheet from the rebound perspective, that’s all you need to do, and that’s all that happened this game. It’s the first time in a long time here at home that that’s happened.”
On the Big 12:
“I think it’s important in this league to have veteran post presence, I think it’s important in this league to have good guard play; this league is what it is. The thing I’ve been impressed with is that the upperclassmen in this league are really improved. Yeah they’re all skilled and all that kind of stuff, but they’re tough kids. Perry Ellis has been around, he’s like a polished pro, he’s been around for a long, long time, but he is who he is. For us and for me, I’m more worried about us controlling things we can control. When you’re playing at home and you’re coming off a loss, 46 to 25 on the glass is unacceptable. So that’s just between the ears and some other places between the heart right now.”
On team improvements:
“For me personally, all I want to do right now is just get rebounding corrected, and get these guys to understand how much courage and how hard you have to play. And not be put in situations where they think, ‘oh I’m young, I’m inexperienced, I can’t do that’. The men, the wins or playing as well as you can play will take care of itself. But to sit up here and say, ‘we’re not as talented because we don’t have per say an all-league guy’ or this kind of stuff, you guys make that decision, you write that. Kids, when they get recruited, they don’t rank themselves, they’re just trying to be innocent kids who want to play. That’s all they are. Everybody else puts all these rankings on them. It’s my responsibility, my job, to get them to understand ‘hey look, this is who you are, and for you to get here, from a to b to c to d, you have to do these things’. Every one of those kids in that locker room I signed up for, I signed for them. I’m just looking forward to us finding a way to compete in the next game, and then take it after that.”
On his team:
“Toughness is one thing, and confidence is another. I fully expect these guys to bounce back a little bit.”
TCU Junior G Brandon Parrish
On team confidence:
“We came in pretty confident. We knew it was an early game, we knew that they haven’t been doing so well on the road for the last few road games. We were really confident coming in thinking we could come in here and get the W if we just executed our offense and defended well, but I think we bypassed a lot of the little aspects of the game, especially rebounding. We got beat on the glass 46 to 25, I mean, that’s the game right there.”
“I give a lot of credit to them. They’re a great team and there’s a reason they’ve dominated our league for so long, especially with their paint play. Ellis was really dominant in the paint, and I felt like we almost couldn’t stop him today. He drove them today.”
On TCU’s offense:
“I think we were trying to play a little too fast, we try to play with a lot of emotion and try to come out and start the game. This is a big game, nice crowd. I think our emotions were too high and we didn’t execute well on offense. Couldn’t get good shots and couldn’t make shots.”
On Kansas’ Senior Forward Perry Ellis:
“I think his strength more so than anything. He may not look like the strongest guy but pound for pound I think he can play with anybody. He’s relentless on the offensive glass. If he misses, he’s going to jump right back up and try and rebound it. He’s really quick off his feet.”
On the Big 12:
“Team for team it’s the best conference in the country. Game in game out you’re more than likely going to be playing someone in the top 25. If it’s not a team in the top 25 it’s probably someone who’s getting votes. You have to train physically and mentally for this because it’s definitely one of the toughest grinds.”
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