No. 5 Kansas Takes Care of Tigers to End Exhibition Play, 92-75
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Freshman guard Wayne Selden, Jr. and sophomore forward Perry Ellis led a balanced attack from the No. 5/6 Kansas offense that undid Fort Hays State in Allen Fieldhouse Tuesday night, 92-75.
Kansas needed three minutes to turn a meager one-point advantage into a 16-point ambush in its last unofficial outing before the season kicks off on Friday against Louisiana at Monroe. Kansas moved to 63-9 all-time in exhibition play on a night that saw 13 different Jayhawks score, four of those in double figures.
Ellis and Selden led the charge with 13 points apiece. Ellis missed only once, going 3-for-4 from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 at the free throw line, while Selden shot 5-for-8 and added a pair of assists. Sophomore forward Jamari Traylor set the standard for accuracy with a 4-for-4 shooting night to add 11 points and a team-high four offensive rebounds. Freshman guard Andrew Wiggins rounded out the scoring leaders with 10 points.
Earning the starting nod at point guard, freshman Frank Mason looked anything but rookie when he stripped the ball from a driving Tiger guard, flew down the court and alley-ooped a pass to a dunk-ready Wiggins with less than 10 minutes to play Tuesday night. It marked the last of his assists as the young floor general tied his mentor, junior guard Naadir Tharpe, with six assists.
Freshman guard Conner Frankamp’s highly-touted sharp shooting led the Jayhawks’ 16-1 run in the first half that ultimately led to the Tigers’ downfall. He finished the night with a pair of treys as did fellow rookie guard Brannen Greene.
Fort Hays State was led by forward Dwayne Brunson and guard Craig Nicholson, who put up 15 and 14 points, respectively. While the Jayhawks shot a red-hot 58 percent in the first half, the Tigers outdid the Jayhawks in the second half (50.0-42.9).
Neither team had shown much heading into the first media timeout, registering just two buckets apiece. Out of the first break, back-to-back jumpers by Brunson handed the Tigers the 9-7 lead five minutes into the half. A three-pointer moments later was enough to force a Kansas timeout, trailing 12-7.
Freshman center Joel Embiid rejected James Fleming’s layup attempt, creating the spark Kansas needed. A three from the corner from Greene and a pair of baskets from Embiid saw the Jayhawks take off on a 12-2 run, and it was the Tigers’ turn to use a timeout. After starting the game a chilly 2-for-7 from the floor, KU’s shooters made six of their next nine to jump back in front.
Though the Tigers crept back into it, cutting the Jayhawk lead to a single point, 21-20, Kansas answered with a little more force the second time around. KU’s second scoring spree of the first half – this one of the 16-1 variety – saw Frankamp hit both of his threes, while his teammates kept FHSU without a field goal for more than five minutes. By the time Tiger center Jared Tadlock broke up the drought, Kansas had surged ahead, 37-23.
When the final media timeout of the opening frame rolled around, Kansas had opened up a 50-28 lead. Three-pointers played a role again, off the hot hand of Greene and sophomore guard Andrew White III. Meanwhile, Wiggins logged his first points of the evening, a dunk with three minutes to play and a floater through the lane a minute later, sending the Jayhawks to the break with a 20-point advantage, 56-36.
Kansas kept firing, rolling out to a 7-0 run after halftime. Conversely, a single free throw was all the home team surrendered through the first media timeout of the second half. With less than 15 minutes on the clock, White’s layup through the lane pushed KU’s lead to the 30-point mark, 72-42.
Alley-oop dunks to Wiggins and Ellis brought flash to an otherwise uneventful last 10 minutes. A mini 5-0 run saw the Tigers dip their deficit under 30 points around the five-minute mark, but Kansas had more than enough room to close the door. All 16 available Jayhawks checked in by night’s end, allowing a small window of opportunity for the Tigers to go on a 10-2 run in the final minutes, but the Jayhawks came away with the 92-75 win.
Kansas will open regular-season play on Friday, Nov. 8 against Louisiana at Monroe in Allen Fieldhouse. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. (Central) and the game can be seen on Jayhawk IMG Television Network, ESPN Full Court and ESPN3 outside the state of Kansas. KU will then play Duke at the United Center in Chicago as part of the in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Tip time is approximately 8:30 p.m. (Central), or 30 minutes following the Michigan State-Kentucky contest (6:30 p.m.), and can be seen on ESPN.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.
Kansas now leads the all-time series with Fort Hays State 9-0, including a 6-0 mark in exhibition play. The Jayhawks and Tigers first met in 1994. Kansas has scored 90 or more points in the series eight times.
KANSAS STARTERS: Frank Mason (Fr.), Wayne Selden, Jr. (Fr.), Andrew Wiggins (Fr.), Perry Ellis (So.), Tarik Black (Sr.)
THE KANSAS WIN…
-Makes Kansas 63-9 all-time in exhibition games
-Extends Kansas’ home exhibition winning streak to 40 games dating back to the 1994 season
-Makes Kansas 9-0 against Fort Hays State, including 6-0 in exhibition games
-Improves Kansas head coach Bill Self to 31-2 in exhibition play while at KU
-Makes KU 54-4 in exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse
-Makes Bill Self 22-0 in home exhibition games while at Kansas.
-The lead changed hands multiple times in the game’s opening minutes and each time the Jayhawks needed a go-ahead bucket, they went to the bigs. Sophomore F Perry Ellis used a pair of free throws to put KU up 4-3, then used a lay-up to put Kansas up 7-5. KU’s next lead-redeeming score came from freshman C Joel Embiid, who poured in back-to-back buckets to give Kansas a 16-14 lead at 12:22. Fort Hays State led by as many as five points in the first half, but after the Embiid bucket, Kansas never trailed.
-The Jayhawks couldn’t miss for nearly five minutes (4:40) at the midpoint of the first half, scoring seven-straight buckets while going on an 18-6 run. The run of seven-straight makes was book ended by a pair of field goals from sophomore F Jamari Traylor and included a pair of three’s from freshman G Conner Frankamp. Kansas made four consecutive field goals to end the first half against Pittsburg State.
-The Jayhawks led 56-36 at the break, the most points in a half for Kansas in exhibition play since scoring 57 in the first half against Washburn on Nov. 4, 2008.
-Kansas held Fort Hays State scoreless for the first 4:30 of the second half while extending the lead to 66-37 (29 points). The Tigers missed their first five shots of the second half before sophomore F Jake Stoppel broke the seal with a jumper.
-Kansas shot 39 free throws in the game, which would have been one higher than in any game last season, and was the most in exhibition play since attempting 40 against Emporia State Nov. 9, 2010.
-Fort Hays State shot 49.1 percent in the game, the most by a Kansas exhibition opponent since the Swiss National Team shot 50 percent during the 2012 Europe Trip in Fribourg, Switzerland. The mark was the highest in Allen Fieldhouse since Washburn shot 50 percent on Nov. 2, 2010.
-FHSU junior G Tamislav Gabric’s five points was the most scored by a Croatian national against KU on American soil in the last three seasons. The previous three players – Sandi Marcius (Purdue, 2012), Dragan Sekelja (Baylor, 2010 – DNP) and Hrovje Vucic (Valparaiso, 2010) – were held scoreless. Gabric’s five rebounds were the most by a Croatian against Kansas since Marcius grabbed six rebounds in the 2012 NCAA Tournament for the Boilermakers.
-Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr. and sophomore F Perry Ellis tied for the team lead with 13 points. Selden more-than-doubled his total from the exhibition opener when he tallied five points. Ellis was three off his exhibition pace, having scored 16 against Pitt State. If exhibition games counted, Ellis would have averaged 11.5 points per game over his last nine contests dating back to last season.
-Freshman G Conner Frankamp appears to have calibrated his targeting mechanism, hitting both of his three-point attempts in the first half against Fort Hays State after going 0-for-3 in the first half of the exhibition opener against Pitt State. Frankamp finished the game 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and added two free throws for eight total points.
-Junior G Naadir Tharpe closed the exhibition season perfect in the turnovers category, logging 15 assists in two games with no turnovers. If the stats counted, Tharpe has a 40-to-11 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last eight contests dating back to last season.
-Freshman G Andrew Wiggins chipped in 10 points, giving him back-to-back double figure scoring games in exhibition play.
-Sophomore F Jamari Traylor pulled down a team-high-tying seven rebounds against Fort Hays State Tuesday night, giving him 13 total in the two exhibition games. Freshman C Joel Embiid and Ellis joined Traylor with seven boards against the Tigers.
Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
“We actually did some good things tonight. We got behind early and I don’t think it’s much about poor play, maybe shot selection, we shot too many perimeter shots. I thought the first unit was pretty stale, with the exception of Frank (Mason) and then when we subbed our second unit was better, in the first half. They got after it and gave us some energy. After we got down 13-8, I think we got ahead 56-32, so we really played well for a stretch. Then we played really well to start the second half, the first unit did. I thought Perry (Ellis) was good the first half then we didn’t finish the game well at all. I think it was a 14-0 run at one time to finish the game, but we did some things better and it was good that we handled the ball a little bit better. We shot it a little better, but still our field goal percentage defense is awful. Our guys just don’t quite buy in and understand, they’ll say, ‘We’re winning, it’s not a big deal Coach, we’re still going to win.’ That’s not the mindset of our players that have played here in the past.”
On when Naadir Tharpe came in and started distributing the ball:
“Brannen (Greene) stuck two threes and Conner (Frankamp) stuck two threes and that was really the start of it. Jo (Joel Embiid) kind of started the whole thing when he got a block when he first checked in. The bench did a good job in the first half. In the second half we didn’t play with any energy, the bench didn’t. I thought our starters actually did some good things, but we’ve got to get Tarik (Black) going and Jo’s got to make some easy shots and that kind of stuff. You know, all in all we’re a lot better this week than we were last week.”
On what Joel Embiid can do:
“He’s one of those guys that played pretty good; he came away with eight points and seven rebounds. I think he could be a guy obviously that if he can make some easy shots, and bunnies and played a little stronger and made some free throws even in a game like that he could’ve had 15 points and 10 rebounds. He is big and skilled and I thought he showed great athletic ability getting out on the glass. There were some good things, but we’ve still got a long ways to go, a lot of work to do. I thought it was a step in the right direction.”
On Andrew Wiggins’ play after his time on the bench:
“If you watch the game, early on he didn’t seem as engaged as he should be, and when he came back in he had an opportunity to dunk and he didn’t run. He just didn’t run so I subbed him back out. He played about 30 seconds. He sat over there for quite a while. I love the kid, but he’s got to take everyone’s best shot every night and I didn’t think he really brought it until he got back in the game after that and he was much more aggressive.”
Kansas freshman guard Frank Mason
On how he evaluates his first game as a starter:
“I could have been a lot better. I thought I did a good job of getting my teammates involved and just communicate with them and just try to be a positive leader.”
On the difference between starting and coming off the bench:
“It was the same because I still had the same mindset as if I were coming off the bench. It was just the same for me.”
On unselfishness being a trait of this team:
“Yeah, with all the athletic guys we have on this team, we all showed up to pass, not just look to shoot first. We should do good things on our offense because everybody can create a shot.”
Kansas sophomore forward Perry Ellis
On if the team found a rhythm to stay out of foul trouble:
“Tarik (Black) got into some foul trouble, but we definitely got into a good flow in the first half. Overall, we did pretty well.”
On the biggest change teammate Jamari Traylor has made this year:
“The main thing is confidence. He has so much confidence now and that has put him over the top.”
On what’s the next step he looks for with the start of the regular season:
“Continue to listen to coach. We’ve got a lot of new guys so we are just trying to learn the system and get that chemistry together. That’s all we can do.”
Kansas sophomore forward Jamari Traylor
On having a big night:
“I bring energy, I hustle, I just play hard that’s all I really do.”
On how his teammates had 50 points before Andrew Wiggins had even scored and what that says about the team’s ability to score:
“We’ve got a lot of depth, a lot of guys that can stretch the floor. As far as (Andrew) Wiggins, he is going to get a lot more comfortable and things are going to start flowing.”
Fort Hays State Head Coach Mark Johnson
“It’s always a great experience for our guys to get to come here, but at the same time it can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. I thought we got off to a good start when we had our main group out there. Pre-foul trouble we were competing at a high level and I’m proud of our guys to be able to do that because it’s not easy sometimes when you come in here and turn the ball over early or miss some shots. I thought that first group came out there and gave us a boost. Obviously, we played a great team and eventually what happened was going to happen, but I thought while we were out there our guys did a great job. I appreciate KU always allowing us to do this every other year.”
What stood out about KU after playing them:
“Obviously, they are talented and athletic. They can get you at a lot of different positions. It’s a team with coach (Bill) Self that’s going to get better and better – this is the tip of the iceberg for them. They are probably trying to still figure it out. From my perspective, their improvement within a week you can already see. It’s going to continue to happen for them next week and the week after and it’s going to get better and better as they keep getting confidence.”
What it means to them to hang with KU for part of the first half:
“That’s the thing. It’s a great experience, but at the same time in the back of your head you have a fear that this could get ugly. You always have that fear coming in. This is my seventh time coming here and it’s just a nice feeling for your team being able to get off to a good start and it relaxes you. We never really hit the panic button. We hit the tired button in both halves, but I don’t think we ever hit the panic button and that can happen. Every game it’s critical to get off to a good start, but I think when you come into this environment and get a good start, it’ll only benefit you.”
The message at halftime:
“Just keep competing. We’re a little like them with some returners, but a lot of new guys we’re still figuring out what it takes to be tough and how hard you have to play. We’re still trying to go through that process and I’m sure they’re going through the same thing, but that was the message: we need to compete at a higher level and playing through fatigue at a better rate.”
If playing with a Division-I team will mean success down the road:
“You pay attention but it has no meaning. I’ve seen a lot of our teams compete with DI teams and not have a very good season, and I’ve seen teams have poor performances against the Big 12-caliber teams and go on to do well. I don’t think it means a whole lot except you played that game. These games come down to jump shots because you don’t get a whole lot of looks at the basket. If you hit your jump shots, you have a chance to make things look ok and we’re a pretty good shooting team.”
Fort Hays senior forward Brunson Dwayne
On his thoughts of Kansas:
“They have a lot of big men which allows them to keep going inside. There are about three of them and they are going to be really good if they can keep them all healthy.”
Fort Hays sophomore guard Craig Nicholson
On his thoughts of Kansas:
“I enjoyed being on the court with them again. It’s always good to see them and they are going to be a tough team this year. “
On Kansas freshman guard Frank Mason:
“He is really strong and fast. He is a good guard and I like his game a lot.”