Second-Half Sting Powers Kansas Past Hornets

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Kansas defense was relentless in the opening half, allowing just seven Emporia State baskets, yet the Jayhawk offense needed time to catch up. The wait was worth it as KU ignited for 63 points in the final 20 minutes en route to an overwhelming 109-56 exhibition win at Allen Fieldhouse Tuesday night.
Despite a 21-point halftime advantage, Kansas came out of the break ready to change the lackluster offensive tempo. Sophomore guard Frank Mason III pulled the trigger on an alley-oop pass to sophomore guard Wayne Selden, Jr., for a dunk just 13 seconds into the half. Moments later, Selden was in on a trap at half court that forced the Hornets into an over-and-back turnover.
Just like that, the tempo was changed.
Freshman forward Cliff Alexander, who scored just four points in the opening frame, unleashed for three second-half dunks to light up the sold-out building. At halftime, five other Jayhawks had more points than the incoming Naismith High School Player of the Year. By night’s end, however, Alexander was the first Jayhawk to double-figures and finished with 12 points.
He wasn’t alone. Kansas was fair in the first half, scoring 46 points on 50 percent shooting, but went berserk in the next 20 minutes – hitting 66 percent from the floor (23-for-35). KU doubled its first-half scoring total in less than 14 minutes, while eight of its 15 players finished the game in double-figures. What resulted was the Jayhawks’ highest-scoring exhibition effort in 10 years (115-70 vs. Emporia State, 11/7/04).
Like Alexander, junior forward Perry Ellis was also slow to score in the first half, tallying only two points. He let loose for 11 points in 11 minutes in the final frame to tie for the team lead with 13 points. Fellow big man, sophomore Landen Lucas, missed just one from the floor (4-for-5) and once from the free throw line (5-for-6) to tie Ellis with a team-high 13 points.
 Perry Ellis scored 11 second-half points, 
and tied for the team-high with 13 total
points Tuesday night.Selden finished behind them with 12 points, all of which came in the second half. Redshirt junior forward Hunter Mickelson chalked up 11 points before becoming KU’s only foul-out victim and sophomore guard Frank Mason III hung up 11 points, as well. Guards Brannen Greene and Devonte’ Graham sparked an impressive 61 points off the bench with their 10 points apiece. Junior forward Jamari Traylor just missed the 10-point mark as his perfect 4-for-4 shooting left him with nine points.
Freshman guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk made his first start, albeit unofficial, marking the only change in the starting lineup from the Jayhawks’ first exhibition. The other changes, however, were more significant. Most notably, was the Jayhawks’ much improved free-throw accuracy as well as their rebound (45-29) and assist (26-6) margins.
By the end of the first half, the pesky Kansas defense held Emporia State to 7-of-26 shooting in the first half and a lowly 29 percent (15-for-51) for the game. Sophomore guard Jay Temaat actually led the floor with his 16 points, but he was the only Hornet in double-figures.
Three offensive rebounds in their first possession provided multiple opportunities for the Hornets to score the first points the night. ESU sophomore forward Terrence Sardin obliged with a put-back layup, while his team kept the Jayhawks off the board for nearly two-and-a-half minutes. In fact, neither team caught much fire early on. In the first 10 attempts on both sides, ESU made just two buckets, KU only four. The Jayhawks righted the ship, making 12 of their next 22 to finish the half at 50 percent shooting, thanks in large part to the input off the bench.
When Greene and Graham checked in and delivered a quick five-point burst, KU saw its first double-digit lead, but it wasn’t a lasting one until Hunter Mickelson found Kelly Oubre, Jr. sprinting toward the basket. The open look resulted in an easy two points for Oubre and a 20-8 lead midway through the first half. Emporia State would never get within single digits again.
Though Kansas built a lead that remained intact, it was slow to grow as more than two minutes passed with the same 20-8 score on the board. Adding to it, 10 minutes still remained in the first half when Emporia State was whistled for its seventh team foul to drag the opening frame out with bonus free throws. Kansas certainly converted – hitting 13-of-14 from the line – but the excitement was lacking.
Right on cue, Alexander slammed a Mickelson pass through the basket. Oubre swatted a shot into the hands of Graham, who laid it in on the other end and suddenly the Jayhawks broke open the game. Waiting it out, Graham let the final seconds tick away before driving the lane for the last bucket of the half and Kansas took a 46-25 lead to the lockerroom.
Head coach Bill Self and company flipped the switch during the break and came back out aggressive and ready to score. Not three minutes into the second half, Kansas shot out to a 30-point lead. The offense finally in gear, Greene knocked down and three, while Selden found Ellis for another lob-to-dunk pass. Meanwhile the Jayhawks were still money from the free throw line when Ellis connected on two more, putting KU up big, 60-28.
Mykhailiuk shot and missed four threes in the first half. Fittingly, he landed his first one of the night during the Jayhawks’ second-half fireworks show. Although it was the only ‘Svi for Three’ of the night, his trey doubled up the score, 84-42.
It was flat-out fun after that, watching eight different Jayhawks shoot their way to double-digits. All 15 Jayhawks saw time in the landslide, including junior guard Evan Manning who’s three-pointer put the finishing touches on KU’s 109-56 win.
Kansas will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 14 against UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. That contest is also on the Jayhawk IMG Television, ESPN Full Court and ESPN3 outside the state of Kansas. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.


  • Made Kansas 65-9 in exhibition games.
  • Extended KU’s home exhibition winning streak to 42 games, dating back to the 1994 season.
  • Upped Kansas’ all-time record against Emporia State to 20-3 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 7-0 in exhibition games.
  • Improved head coach Bill Self to a 33-2 record in exhibition games at Kansas, including 24-0 in home exhibition contests.
  • Made KU 56-4 in exhibition games inside Allen Fieldhouse. 


  • Kansas reached triple digits for the first time in exhibition play since scoring 101 against Fort Hays State (101-52) on Nov. 8, 2011. It was KU’s 25th 100-point game in exhibition play (since 1978), including nine times under Bill Self.
  • The 109 points were the most scored by a Kansas squad in exhibition play since pouring in 115 against Emporia State on Nov. 7, 2004.
  • Eight Jayhawks turned in double digit scoring efforts, including Perry Ellis (13), Landen Lucas (13), Cliff Alexander (12), Wayne Selden, Jr. (12), Frank Mason III (11), Hunter Mickelson (11), Devonte Graham (10) and Brannen Greene (10).
  • The Jayhawk front court was efficient from the field, connecting on 22-of-30 (73.3 percent) shot attempts in the game, including a 4-for-4 effort from Jamari Traylor and just one miss each on five attempts from Lucas and Mickelson.
  • KU starters Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis combined for just two points in the game’s first 20 minutes, but the starting tandem scored four of the first six buckets of the second half and finished the game with 25 combined points.
  • Kansas shot 65.7 percent (23-of-35) in the second half and finished a scorching 58.2 percent (39-of-67) for the game.
  • Kansas led 46-25 at the break, holding the Hornets to a 26.9 percent (7-of-26) shooting percentage from the field. The Jayhawks used 31 bench points to push to the 21 point first-half lead.
  • After hitting just 50 percent (16-of-32) of free throws attempted in the exhibition opener against Washburn, Kansas shot 92.9 percent (13-of-14) in the first half against Emporia State.
  • That’s offensive – both teams combined to log more fouls in the first half (25) than made baskets (23).
  • Ellis gave KU its first points, with his own use of the offensive glass, laying in a putback at the 17:37 mark.
  • Terrence Sardin scored the game’s first points at 18:58 as the Hornets kept their first possession alive with three offensive rebounds. The two-point margin represented the Hornets’ largest advantage in the contest. 


  • After being held in single digits for the first time in an exhibition game on US soil against Washburn, Junior F Perry Ellis tied for the team lead Tuesday night with 13 points, his sixth career double-digit scoring effort in exhibition play.
  • Freshman F Cliff Alexander put in four straight baskets, including three dunks, for Kansas early in the second half to reach double figures. He finished 6-of-10 from the field with 12 points.
  • Alexander led all KU players with 26 points in exhibition play, and added 15 rebounds and four blocks in the two games.
  • Sophomore F Landen Lucas chipped in 13 points 4-of-5 shooting from the field, finishing exhibition play a near-perfect 8-of-9 from the field with 10 boards and three blocks.
  • Sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., missed both shot attempts and was held scoreless in the first half, but erupted for 12 points while hitting all five buckets in the game’s final 20 minutes. Selden dished out a game-best six assists.
  • Sophomore G Frank Mason III reached double digits for the second game in a row, dropping in 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including a three-pointer.  

Kansas head coach bill self
On his opening statement:
“We didn’t play a lot better this week, but we played a lot better tonight. I thought we looked more cohesive. The ball moved pretty good. We looked semi-organized at times, not great, but pretty good. I thought everybody had a chance to play fairly significant minutes. I thought they all contributed well. I thought Landen (Lucas) and Hunter (Mickelson) may have been our two best bigs in the first half. Frank (Mason III) and Wayne (Selden, Jr.) and Perry (Ellis) didn’t really plug themselves into the second half, but I thought Wayne played great both halves. We did some good things.”
On the team’s defensive pressure:
“I thought it was pretty good. Obviously, they’re not very big, but usually when they’re not very big it usually creates some quickness and it’s hard guarding a little guy. I thought we actually got out and defended them and our ball screen defense was a little better. It’s nothing to be too excited about, but it’s better than it was last week.”
On Emporia State and their first-half performance:
“Shaun (Vandiver) will have a good team. They have quite a few guys off of last year’s team, if I’m not mistaken. They’re pretty good, but to be honest, in the first half their zone slowed us down a little bit and obviously we didn’t make any shots. We didn’t make any shots at all. We actually executed fairly well, but were 1-of-9 from three. Although they didn’t score, we went through a period of time where we didn’t score the ball very easily. I thought we got some decent looks, though.”
On Landen Lucas’ improvement:
“Landen has improved. The thing that Landen does better than our other bigs, Jamari (Traylor) and Perry (Ellis) is have a great feel for what’s going on. Landen has the best feel of the guys coming off of the bench without question. He knows what we’re doing, he’s smart and he knows how to use his body and seal pretty well. He’s much improved. I think all of our big guys have a chance to be pretty good players, but he may be as improved as anybody around. I think he’s made great strides.”
Kansas sophomore guard Brannen Greene
On how he felt this week after suffering a concussion last week:
“At the beginning of the week, my head hurt a little bit, I had some stiffness in the back of my neck and I felt a little dizzy. Toward the end of the week, around Wednesday, I started feeling better. I just wanted to get out there and play. I would still say I have some stiffness in the back of my neck, but I’m fine. I’m just ready to get out there and play, do anything I can to help the team in any way possible.”
On if the freshmen realize the talent difference coming their way in the next game:
“Immediately after the game, Coach Self told us what was coming for us. We’re already on to the next game, we know it’s a ‘real’ game. UC Santa Barbara is good; they are going to bring things that Emporia State and Washburn didn’t. They’ve got more size, so we’ve got to come in and pay attention to the scouting report even more and get the job done.”
Kansas junior forward Jamari Traylor
On freshman guard Devonte’ Graham’s improvement from game one to game two:
“He was a little more under control, he managed the game. He turned the ball over less and that’s pretty much what we need out of him. He definitely pressured the ball a lot, which is (also) what we need from him.”
On Kansas’ defensive pressure in the first half:
“We did really good picking the ball up from full court. We forced their guys into a couple of turnovers. We hedged the ball screens and pretty much got out and ran when we got the ball.”
Kansas sophomore forward Landen Lucas
On his development after taking a redshirt year:
“These last two years have been good for me. I’ve played against some really great players who have come through here, which has definitely helped me get prepared for when it is my turn.”
On how much better he thinks he’s gotten:
“A lot; on the court, playing against those guys and off the court, with Hudy (strength and conditioning coach Andrea Hudy). The staff that we have really helps us get better and improve.”
Emporia State head coach Shaun Vandiver
On his opening statement:
“Tonight was a great opportunity. I want to thank Coach Self, his staff and the athletic program for bringing us here. I know we’re honored and privledged. We always look forward to this every two years.”
On KU’s play in the second half:
“I know, I’ve been here before in the 80s and 90s, I know. It’s a special atmosphere. This is a talented team. Their M.O. is they want to go out and impose their will. They want to be the aggressors, they go 11-deep. The good thing was when we were able to have poise and patience and execute our offense, we got some good things done. We cut it to 16, Coach Self called a timeout and they regrouped. We didn’t hand them any pressure, we didn’t capitalize on some of the mistakes they made and they capitalized on the ones we made.”
Emporia State sophomore G Jay Temaat
On how Emporia State did in general:
“We’re going to (Las) Vegas this week so we didn’t put everything in and did some basic things. Overall, we did alright. We could have moved the ball from side to side better, the simple things. Besides that I thought we did a decent job.”
On shooting the deep three:
“As a shooter, I’m working the shot around, taking what they are giving us. They might have been deep but I thought they were in the offense. I thought they were good shots and some of them went in.”
Emporia State junior G Terrence Moore
On Kansas’ defensive intensity:
“Playing these kind of teams early gives us a good look for when we go and play in conference. Them speeding us up, when we go and play in these (upcoming) tournaments and conference, it basically shows us how it’s supposed to be played; how we should impose our will on the game as a whole.”