No. 4 Kansas Defeats Loyola in Diallo Debut, 94-61
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Allen Fieldhouse raised to a standing ovation to welcome highly-touted freshman Cheick Diallo in his career debut as the University of Kansas defeated Loyola on Tuesday night, 94-61.
The crowd of 16,300 was sent into a frenzy as Diallo capped off his 13-point unveiling with a fast break jam in the second half. Diallo’s 13 points in his first game as a Jayhawk came on 6-of-8 shooting with six rebounds and three blocks in just 16 minutes of action.
Kansas (5-1) held a four-point lead at halftime, but came out of the locker room with a purpose – going on a 15-1 run to set the tone for a dominating conclusion. The run was capped off by a behind-the-back pass from Wayne Selden Jr., to Diallo for a dunk to give Kansas a 55-37 lead.
Selden contributed a game-high 18 points for the Jayhawks on 7-of-12 shooting and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. Junior Frank Mason III dished out five assists with just one turnover, improving his total in the last three games to 15 assists and two turnovers.
Loyola (1-6) was led by 16 points off the bench from Eric Laster. The Greyhounds’ leading scorer, Jarred Jones was held to four points of 2-of-8 shooting.
Diallo checked in for first time in his collegiate career at the 12:58 mark of the first half. Although he fumbled his first offensive possession for a turnover, Diallo showed his well-known exuberant energy and resolve by hustling back on defense to block the ensuing fast break Loyola layup.
The 6-foot-9 forward from Mali, Africa, missed the first five games of the season while awaiting clearance from the NCAA Eligibility Center.
The 3-pointer lived up to its reputation as the great equalizer at the tail end of the first half. Loyola made three treys in consecutive possessions to eliminate a nine-point KU lead in less than a minute. Three different Greyhounds accounted for the trio of 3-pointers. Laster tied the game at the 3:01 mark, 34-34.
Kansas went into halftime leading, 40-36. Mason (10 points) and Selden (11) both reached double-figure points in the first half. Loyola’s Andre Walker scored 10 points in the first half, but was held scoreless in the second half.
The Jayhawks came out of the locker room in full-court press and it paid off in the form of three steals during its 15-1 run to begin the second half. Kansas held Loyola to zero field goals in the second half until the 14:07 mark.
(4/6) Kansas 94, Loyola (MD.) 61
December 1, 2015
KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS): Jr. G Frank Mason, III (6/45), So. G Devonte Graham (6/6), Jr. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (6/77), Sr. F Perry Ellis (6/77), Sr. F Jamari Traylor (6/25)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 2-0
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (229th-consecutive sellout)
• Made KU 8-2 all-time against current membership of the Patriot League
• Gave KU its 26th-straight win in Allen Fieldhouse, which ties for the eighth-longest streak in school history
• Made KU 730-109 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse, including 192-9 under Bill Self
• Made Self 357-79 while at Kansas and 564-184 all-time
• Made KU 2,158-832 all-time.
• The Jayhawks have now scored 90 or more points in four of their first six games and have tallied a total of 561 points, the most by a KU squad in its first six outings since the
2000-01 team combined for 565 points over its first six games.
• Kansas came out of the locker room in the second half with a 15-1 run over the first 5:04 of the period after leading Loyola just 40-36 at halftime.
• The Jayhawks went on to outscore the Greyhounds 54-26 in the second half, marking the sixth time this season the Jayhawks have scored 50 or more points in a half.
• Kansas forced 21 Loyola turnovers, marking the most by a Jayhawk opponent in a 40-minute game since Howard turned the ball over 24 times against KU on Dec. 29, 2011.
• KU tallied eight blocked shots against Loyola, the most rejections by KU since it posted nine against TCU on March 12, 2015.
• Kansas has now outshot five of six opponents this season. The Jayhawks have also outrebounded five of six foes, bringing down 47 boards to Loyola’s 40.
• The KU bench combined for 41 points and is now averaging 33.5 points per game in 2015-16, compared to 20.8 by its opponents.
• The Jayhawks poured in 8-of-20 from three-point range against the Greyhounds. KU has now made eight or more three-pointers in five of six games this season.
• Kansas converted a season-low 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from the free throw line and has hit just 24 of its last 48 attempts (50 percent) over its last two outings.
• Freshman F Cheick Diallo checked in for the first time as a Jayhawk with 12:57 left in the first half. He finished the game with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. All of which came in the second half.
• Diallo’s 13 points came in just 16 minutes of action. Greg Ostertag is the only other true freshman to score more points (15) in fewer minutes (12) in his Jayhawk debut (since 1988-89).
• Diallo also notched three blocks in the game, putting his name among David Padgett (5), Darrell Arthur (3) and Ben McLemore (3) as Jayhawks to post three or more blocks in their KU debut (since the stat began being kept in 1989).
• Junior G Wayne Selden went 3-of-6 from behind the three-point arc. He has now hit three or more three pointers each of the six games to start the season.
• Selden led the team in scoring for the third time this year and the second-straight game. He is shooting 64 percent (27-of-42) from the field and 65.2 percent (15-of-23) from three-point range in his last four games.
• Junior G Frank Mason III collected four steals, the most by a Jayhawk this season. He also added five assists and just one turnover to add to his 4.9 assist-to-turnover ratio. In his last three outings, Mason has posted 15 assists to just two turnovers.
• Mason also brought down six rebounds, the fifth-straight game in which he has collected five or more boards. He is now averaging 5.8 rebounds per game in his last eight outings dating back to last season.
• Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham turned in an eight-point scoring effort. He is averaging 11.0 ppg in his last four games and is shooting 50.0 percent (17-of-34) from the field in that same span, including 7-for-13 (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc.
• Senior F Hunter Mickelson tallied three-blocked shots, marking the second time as a Jayhawk and the 19th of his career after swatting at least three blocks in 17 games while at Arkansas.
• Mickelson also added eight points (3-of-5), tying for his highest output as a Jayhawk.
• Senior F Perry Ellis scored 15 points and moved past Steve Woodberry on KU’s all-time scoring chart to No. 32 with 1,249 career points.
• Junior G Tyler Self connected on a three pointer with 1:53 remaining in regulation, the first three-pointer of his career.
On what he thought of Perry Ellis’s play tonight:
“I didn’t much at all. I think that Perry, for whatever reason, wasn’t out there at all the first half so I didn’t play him much. But I thought he was much better the second half.”
On Cheick Diallo affecting the game:
“He’s not going to score 13 points every game. This was a good game because he could score over their smaller guys, but he did fine. He played well. He tries hard. He’s just so raw, but he does have pretty good touch for a guy that’s so raw. We’re not going to get 13 points and six rebounds out of him every night, but if he can give us energy and be a shot-blocker and things like that, it will certainly help our team be better on offense because then we’ll be able to run more.”
On Wayne Selden, Jr.’s improvement as a player this year:
“I thought Maui really helped him. Wayne hasn’t been very good. He’d be the first to tell you (that). Preseason, first exhibition game, and the Michigan State game, we talked about how he needs to be consistently better for us. But in Maui, he was great based on all three games and he did some really good things offensively tonight too. Maybe it’s just his time, but to me he’s as big of a key on our team because he’s a guy that can make a bad shot and it gives you a physical presence even though he’s just a wing because he’s so strong. I think he gives everybody else confidence through that. He’s important as anybody on our team.”
On Cheick’s personality and celebration on the court:
“I thought that was cute. That was nice. I told him afterward, ‘Cheick, we don’t do that.’ But that’s what he did. That’s fine though, he was having fun. That’s great. I am happy for him, the kid waited a long time to get out there.”
On Cheick’s personality on the court tonight being the same in practice:
“Sometimes you could see he got pretty frustrated. I don’t think we saw it. When he didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel in his mind, I think it was harder for him to be enthused and energetic like he is now. He’s a pretty excitable kid. I think that’s great — those guys with youthful exuberance — he’s younger than most because he’s so new to the game and so raw. I think it’s so much fun to see guys out there playing with energy, like Jamari (Traylor). Jamari was the best player in the game tonight and I don’t know if anybody even asked to interview him. He was the best player in the game because he totally changed the second half with his energy and got everybody in it and it became contagious. I think Cheick will be able to do similar things like that.”
On Cheick’s nerves tonight:
“He told me two days ago that he doesn’t get nervous, ‘I don’t get nervous, Coach.’ Then yesterday he said, ‘Coach, I’m very nervous.’ I know he was nervous, but I don’t know how much. We don’t bet, but we made a friendly handshake wager with what would happen to the first shot he took. The over-under was air ball. That’s what the majority of the guys’ thoughts, or turn it over. Fortunately, he got an easy basket and after that happened I think he was fine from a nervous standpoint.”
On Cheick fouling a lot tonight:
“He’s going to foul a lot, but that’s ok. He’ll be aggressive and foul. He’s got to figure out how to play defense before his man catches it as opposed to playing behind. That way, when his man catches it and backs off two feet further there is no body contact when he goes to jump, which that’s how shot blockers do it. He’s got to get where he can play his man before he catches.”
On it being a relief that Cheick is cleared:
“It hadn’t been a big deal to me. To be honest, I have kind of enjoyed it. I think when you have something that you believe so strongly in and you know that it’s right, I think it’s fun to fight. I have enjoyed that part of it. But I haven’t enjoyed the part of him not being able to participate. Getting past ‘this’, there is no ‘this’ with me. All we have to do is just try to get our team better and certainly it was maybe a bigger deal to other people that Cheick was playing but it really worked out well for the timing standpoint. This being his first game was a perfect scenario to get out there and run and get his legs underneath him.”
Kansas Senior Forward Perry Ellis
On his 15 quiet points:
“I get that a lot, because sometimes it just comes in spurts and I don’t have a problem with it. I just try to do what I can and whatever happens in the game, happens.”
On the game plan in the first half:
“I try to attack, I missed some bunnies early on, but I kept going and my teammates picked me up telling me to keep grinding, so I kept doing that.”
On the team’s inside shooting struggles:
“I think it is just a mental thing, we aren’t focusing enough on it and taking it for granted. You really jump into each of those shots and knock those down. I think it is something we will get good at.”
On the team being tired in the first half:
“(We were) A little bit, coming back from that trip (to Maui). I felt drained myself, but I am feeling great now. Being back these last couple days have been better.”
On the change of tempo on the second half:
“Jamari (Traylor) came out and made some plays at the beginning of the half to set the intensity defensively and got the rest of us going.”
Kansas Junior Guard Wayne Selden, Jr.
On the team’s sluggishness after the Maui trip:
“Not emotional fatigue, but definitely tiredness – I find myself falling asleep randomly during the day. It’s been weird the past couple of days, but I am almost back to normal. The first half was just us being down a little bit and not too up for the game.”
On the difference of freshman forward Cheick Diallo’s play between the two halves:
“Comfortability. He got more comfortable as the game went on. He was nervous, which he should be, but he got more comfortable.”
On feeding Diallo his first basket of his collegiate career:
“That definitely helped, especially since it was a dunk. That is great for your confidence as a young guy. (It was his) First game of the season, and that’s really big to get under your belt.”
On Diallo’s contribution to the game energy-wise:
“I think he can give us more. He showed us everything tonight, but he has a lot more to give. He is a great player and great prospect so he can become a great player.”
On Perry Ellis’ quiet scoring contributions:
“For Perry, 15 points is not acceptable. He’s in a little bit of a funk right now, nothing big, but his hip is bothering him a bit and slowing him down. If he’s scoring 15 quietly, and that’s a great game – there’s 30 points. We are excited about him getting back to being himself.”
Kansas freshman forward Cheick Diallo
On being able to sleep last night:
“Not really, I was thinking about this game; like what to do, rebound, block shots. In the first half I played seven or eight minutes and got zero points and I was thinking, ‘Wow what am I supposed to do in the second half?’ I was so scared and nervous, but now I am so excited the game is over and I played really well.”
On when everyone stood and cheered when he first entered the game:
“Every time I would come here people would cheer for me, people were waiting for me, and on Twitter saying, ‘O Cheick, we can’t wait for you, we can’t wait.’ And today was the day, so I had to prove to everybody that I can play.”
On talking to his mom and dad about today’s game:
“I can’t wait to call my dad tomorrow, I don’t think they can watch it but I think there is some way I can send them a tape. Tomorrow I have to call them.”
On if not being cleared to play raised the expectations for him on social media:
“I don’t really know, with social media it is so different. People can reach you anywhere and people want to come and want to be my friend but I don’t really care because it is social media. People are going to say whatever they want. “
On his rebounds:
“I had six and I was very excited, that’s what I do. I block shots, get rebounds and run the floor.”
On if the speed of the college game caught him off guard:
“A little bit; it is the first time I played in a crowd like that. I was kind of nervous, but excited. That’s why I had two turnovers so quickly.”
Loyola (Md.) Head Coach G.G. Smith
“I want to congratulate Kansas. Coach Self has a pretty good team this year. I thought we played really hard in the first half – it was just a four-point game. We ran some offense and I thought our guys really executed offensively. We had those couple turnovers and were really able to keep it a game but the second half they went on an 11-0 run and we really couldn’t catch up. It’s Kansas, so we really appreciate the opportunity to come out here to Lawrence and play in Allen Fieldhouse. It was a great experience except the last 20 minutes.”
On how much he followed Cheick Diallo’s situation:
“We watched all three games of the Maui Invitational, so I heard the commentary and I’ll tell you what, he’s a pretty good player. I was really impressed with him. For this being his very first game, he’s very active and very athletic. He’s long and can rebound the ball. He obviously needs to work on his free throws but he’s a pretty good player for a freshman. Once he gets better, come conference play, I think he’ll elevate them to the next level and definitely be a Final Four-looking team for sure.”
On how his team prepared for a night like tonight:
“We prepared like we do every other game. We knew they would be really tired coming off the trip from Maui. I’ve been on those trips as a player and coach and it takes like a week to get back adjusted. So we knew the first half was going to be a tight game and we were just right there. The atmosphere is just tough to prepare for. Our guys have been to Syracuse before, we’ve been to West Virginia, we’ve been to Duke before in the past but this place is really, really special. The emotion takes care of it and our guys couldn’t really fight through. Plus they have three good guards who are really tough.”
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