No. 2 Jayhawks Cruise Past Crusaders, 92-59
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas saw six players score in double figures while the Jayhawks scorched the nets from deep as they downed the Holy Cross Crusaders, 92-59, Wednesday night inside Allen Fieldhouse. Junior G Wayne Selden, Jr., led the KU scoring effort for the third time in four games, scoring 15 points and adding a trio of three pointers to help the Jayhawks claim their sixth-straight win.
The win moved the second-ranked Jayhawks to 7-1 in their 2015-16 campaign, while Holy Cross fell to 3-5 in its season.
As it has done all season, Kansas lived well from three-point land, connecting on a season-high 60 percent (12-of-20) of its tries. The Jayhawks used an 8-of-10 clip from long range in the first half to build their lead to as much as 20 points before heading to the locker room.
Selden got the game started in what eventually proved to be fitting fashion when he nailed a three-pointer just 14 seconds into the game, the first of eight Jayhawk three-pointers to come during the first 20 minutes of action. Selden’s shot sparked a Kansas run that put Holy Cross on its heels early. By the time the game got to the under-12 minute media timeout, the Jayhawks had built a 21-12 lead with the help of eight field goals in their first nine attempts.
With just over 11 minutes to play before half, junior G Brannen Greene returned to the floor for the first time in five games and promptly nailed his first three-point attempt to give the Jayhawks their first double-digit lead. Two minutes later, Greene again connected from long range and followed that up by converting on an and-one opportunity to put the Jayhawks up 32-20 at the 7:13 mark.
Three more Jayhawk threes over the next 3:30, one each from Selden, Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham, got Kansas’ lead up to 20 points (45-25) for the first time and still with more than three minutes to play before the halftime buzzer.
Kansas put the finishing touches on its sixth 50-point half of the year and went into the locker room with a 50-33 lead. KU went 8-of-10 from behind the arc in the first half, the best three-point percentage by a KU team in a half with a minimum of 10 attempts.
The Jayhawks were unable to carry their first-half momentum into the second as Holy Cross clawed itself back into the game right out of the locker room. The Crusaders cut the KU lead to six points (52-46) less than four minutes into the half. The Holy Cross 13-2 run to start the half was capped by the team’s second four-point play of the game after Crusader junior C Matt Husek was fouled and connected on a three and shot in the ensuing free throw.
Six points was a close the visitors were able to get though, as the Jayhawks responded with a big run of their own. A Perry Ellis lay-up and a Graham steal and dunk got the Jayhawk lead back to double figures less than a minute after the Husek four-point play and sparked a 15-1 KU run over the next six minutes. That run pushed the KU lead back over 20 points and ended any Crusader hopes of a comeback.
While the Jayhawk shooters may have cooled some from their 70 percent shooting in the first half, the drop off wasn’t much, as KU put in 15-of-27 (55.6 percent) in the second frame including four more three-pointers.
Senior Evan Manning got into the three-point party with his third trey of the season, in what was the 12th and final KU three of the game.
Freshman F Cheick Diallo and sophomore F Clay Young added a field goal apiece to put the finishing touches on KU’s 92-59 win over the Crusaders.
Selden led all scorers with 15 points but was joined by five teammates in double figures. Mason tallied 13 points on five-of-six shooting and added five assists. Greene put in 14 points in 17 minutes after going 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Ellis scored six points in each half to end the night with 12. Diallo and Graham rounded out the KU double-digit scorers with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
KU ended the game shooting 63 percent (34-of-54) from the field, the second time Kansas has been over 60-percent from the field. The Jayhawks’ 12 threes also marked the third time this year, Kansas has shot in 10 or more from deep.
The hot KU shooting carried over to the charity stripe. After seeing just 47 percent (24-of-51) shooting from the free throw line in its last two outings, Kansas rebounded against the Crusaders, hitting a perfect 12-of-12 from the charity stripe. The number marked the fourth time in program history that a Kansas team has hit each of its free throw attempts when shooting 11 or more.
Kansas will head to its home away from home on Saturday, Dec. 12 when it will play host to Oregon State inside Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Tipoff between the Jayhawks and Beavers is set for 7 p.m., on ESPN2. The Jayhawks will then take a week off for final exams and return to Allen Fieldhouse to host Montana on Dec. 19 at 1 p.m., on Jayhawk IMG TV and ESPN3.
KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS): Jr. G Frank Mason, III (8/47), So. G Devonte Graham (8/8), Jr. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (8/79), Sr. F Perry Ellis (8/79), Sr. F Hunter Mickelson (1/1)
•Kansas and Holy Cross are meeting for the fourth time in men’s basketball with KU leading the series 3-1.
•Holy Cross is the second member of the Patriot League Kansas has played this season. The Jayhawks defeated Loyola Maryland, 94-61, on Dec. 1 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU is 9-2 all-time against current membership of the Patriot League.
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (231st-consecutive sellout)
•Makes Kansas 7-1 in 2015-16 and 97-4 against non-conference opponents in Allen Fieldhouse in the Bill Self era.
•Gives KU its 28th-straight win in Allen Fieldhouse, which ties for the seventh-longest streak in school history.
•Makes KU 732-109 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse, including 194-9 under Self.
•Makes Self 359-79 while at Kansas and 566-184 all-time.
•Makes KU 2,160-832 all-time.
• Kansas finished the first half shooting 80 percent (8-of-10) from beyond the arc, marking the best three-point shooting percentage in the first half this season. The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or higher from the three-point line in a half on four occasions during the 2015-16 campaign.
• The Jayhawks’ 80 percent from the three-point line in the opening 20 minutes against the Crusaders is the highest shooting percentage from behind the arc this season with a minimum of 10 attempts. The eight threes tied for the second-most three-point makes in a half. This season, Kansas has drained eight treys in a half four times.
• KU headed to the locker room with 50 points on the scoreboard for the seventh time this season.
• The Jayhawks finished the night with 12 three-point baskets, marking the fourth time in 2015-16 that Kansas made 10 or more treys.
• Kansas hasn’t trailed in 138:52 consecutive minutes. The last time KU trailed an opponent was with 18:52 left in the second half against Vanderbilt in the championship game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational (11/25).
• Six Jayhawks posted a double-digit scoring effort against Holy Cross. Kansas has had five or more score in double figures four times this season and twice had six or more net double-digits.
• KU concluded the game 12-of-12 from the free throw line, marking the best free throw percentage in a game. Prior to tonight, Kansas had been perfect from the charity stripe three times with 11 or more attempts, but Wednesday night against the Crusaders marked the first with 12 or more attempts. The last time the Jayhawks shot 100 percent from the free throw line with 11 or more attempts was against Kansas State (2/25/84).
• From the field, the Jayhawks shot 63 percent, which is the second time this season that Kansas has shot 60 percent or better from the floor. The last time that KU shot 60 percent or higher from the field on multiple occasions was during the 2013-14 season when KU connected on 60 percent or better three times.
• With 13:54 left to play in the first half, senior F Perry Ellis recorded his 1,265th career point as a Jayhawk, a hook shot under the basket, moving into 31st on Kansas’ all-time scoring list. Ellis surpassed Jerod Haase (the current head coach at UAB), who netted 2,164 points in his career from 1996-97. The Wichita, Kansas native scored 12 points against Holy Cross, increasing his career points total to 1,273. Ellis is nine points away from becoming one of the top 30 scorers in KU basketball history.
• Junior G Frank Mason III finished the night with 13 points behind a 5-of-6 effort from the floor. Mason’s 83.3 percent shooting percentage from the field marks the third time in his career to connect on 80 percent of his shots with at least five makes. It also marked his highest shooting percentage since making 85.7 percent in the NCAA Tournament against vs. New Mexico State (3/20/15).
• Junior G Wayne Selden Jr. ended the night with a game-high 15 points, marking the seventh time this season he has posted a double-digit scoring effort. Selden has led the squad in scoring four times in 2015-16.
• Selden went 3-of-4 from the three-point line Wednesday night. His four three-point attempts brought his career total to 296, tying Russell Robinson for 21st in KU history in three-point field goal attempts. He needs three more attempts to rank No. 20 in Kansas history.
• Junior G Brannen Greene connected on his first seven three-point attempts of the season before ending his streak on his third attempt of the night against Holy Cross. Greene scored 14 points in his first game back from a five-game suspension.
• Freshman F Carlton Bragg Jr. grabbed five boards on Wednesday night, one-shy of his career-high mark of six rebounds. Bragg’s effort on the glass marks the first time in his career he’s led the squad in rebounding.
• Senior F Hunter Mickelson made his first career start as a Jayhawk against Holy Cross (12/9). The Little Rock, Arkansas native swiped a season-high two steals against the Crusaders.
• Freshman walk-on Clay Young recorded his first career field goal against Holy Cross with 43 seconds remaining in the game.
Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
On the first half offense:
“We were fine. We made shots and when you make shots everything looks good. But there was a stretch in there where I don’t think we guarded them at all. Starting the second half, that was horrendous. I think they scored 17 points the first four minutes of the second half. Then after that, we were good. We shot the ball well, got the ball where we wanted. We have good three-point shooters and they stepped up and knocked them down. We did some good things and certainly we could improve our defense tremendously.”
On second half defense:
“I didn’t see any improvement until the first TV timeout because if I’m not mistaken, I think they outscored us 17-6 in the first four minutes of the second half. We’re up 20 and had a chance to sub and didn’t finish the half very well and then didn’t start the second half well at all. Then we played pretty well after that; we did a lot of nice things. We shared it and not everybody had to play a lot of minutes and we had to make sure that everybody understands the only reason Jamari (Traylor) and Landon (Lucas) didn’t was because they’re nicked up. They were gimping around in practice so we wanted to give them another day to rest.”
On Brannen Greene:
“Brannen made shots and did some good things. Of course, he’s been practicing really well and his attitude has been really good so I thought that was enough. He definitely earned his way back on the court.”
On individual performances:
“I think we were just okay. Wayne (Selden Jr.) had four unforced errors but he made shots. Cheick (Diallo) did some good things but he’s not playing above the rim and that’s what he should do: play above the rim. We, as a group, looked pretty good collectively. Hunter (Mickelson) didn’t score and really didn’t get a lot of rebounds, but I thought he did some good things too. It was a nice effort but it wasn’t anything special by any means.”
On the upcoming game at the Sprint Center against Oregon State:
“If I’m not mistaken, they just have one loss. They’re 6-1 and Valpo of all teams beat them in a great game, but they could easily be 7-0. They’re picked in the upper half of the Pac-12 and they have a famous dad from their roster. Gary Payton’s son is really a nice player that does a lot of things like his dad did. They’re good. They’ve got a good team. Seems to me like we always play Mountain West and Pac-12 teams in the Sprint Center and certainly most of the games are ultra-competitive and I certainly think this one will be.”
Kansas Junior Guard Wayne Selden, Jr.
On knowing where the shooters are:
“On the court and off the court it is different. It is really just finding the open spots and shooting the ball when I am open.”
On Coach Self’s feeling towards the offense in the first half and defense in the second half:
“I feel like he wasn’t too happy. The first few minutes were unacceptable. We ended up picking it up and had a good defensive stretch but the first 3-4 minutes were just awful.”
On getting fired up at half time:
“He said a little motivating things that got us going but at the end of the day it is us. It is what he says, but he can only say so much. He isn’t out there with us.”
On focusing on the boards after the Harvard game:
“Yeah, we have to be a better rebounding team. I have got to get in there and rebound the ball more to help the bigs out.”
On the things they did well in the second half:
“We just didn’t give them easy buckets and didn’t allow anymore back cuts. We still went under on some of the screens for the threes, but for the most part we were just a little more active than we were and sped the game up a little bit.”
On the consistent shooting:
“Everybody is shooting the ball with confidence. Before you even shoot it you should think and know that it is going in. We are shooting the ball pretty well because we are all confident.”
Kansas Junior Guard Brannen Greene
On the difficulty of sitting out the last five games:
“It was definitely difficult watching my team play while I couldn’t be out there with them. I have to look at this incident as a positive and keep working hard. I knew I would be back out there with them.”
On his punishment serving as motivation for him:
“Yeah, for sure. Nobody wants to be suspended for five games during their junior year. I made a mistake and I have to look at it as a positive now and keep moving forward. Hopefully it will be in the past.”
On if anyone has kept his head in the right place during his suspension:
“Honestly, it’s been Coach Self. He’s my guy. I know we had an argument on the court but that is not related to how we act off the court. I’m a competitor and I made a mistake, but Coach and I are fine. I look to Coach Self. His message was to stay positive and he told me that I am an important piece to winning a National Championship with this team. I knew I was going to face a punishment when the incident occurred but I just have to look at it as a positive and move forward.”
On anything he noticed from his teammates while sitting out:
“Devonte’ (Graham) and Frank (Mason III) are playing great together right now. They are creating open shots for our shooters and as long as we (shooters) are running the floor, they will find us.”
Kansas Freshman Forward Cheick Diallo
On how Carlton Bragg played tonight:
“He played pretty good. He had a lot of rebounds. He played really, really nice tonight.”
On if he is starting to feel more comfortable on the court:
“I am. I just need to be a little more confident, but I’m getting there. I just try to play hard every day.”
On if he feels sped up at times:
“The first game I played was a little fast. Now, I feel like I’m getting it. It’s becoming a little slower to me.”
On his jump shot:
“I’ve been working on my jump shot for a long time now. I don’t really want to do it, but sometimes you just have to shoot it. I prefer to drive the ball, but sometimes that option isn’t available.”
On if he is having fun after sitting out the first five games of the season:
“Now that I am playing, I have to show everyone that I can play.”
Holy Cross Head Coach Bill Carmody
“I told our team: we need to take time on offense before we shot the ball, and we had to make them take time on offense before they shot the ball. I think we did the former, but not the latter. We weren’t able to slow them down; they race down the court so much. We knew it was going to happen. I told the team not to go near an offensive rebound. (When) The shot goes up, just run back. They still beat us down the court a lot. They had 90 points; at least 40 were in transition, on the break, throwing it down to the corners for shots. So it was disappointing that we weren’t able to get back defensively.”
Then the second half, we got a little closer. The first five or six possessions, they took time running their offense. They got one shot and missed it, and we got a couple of scores. We got it down to eight (points) – six, maybe. Then they started upping the heat, I think. The pressure got to us, forcing turnovers, and then we sort of lost control of things. It was 54-48 – something like that – around six points, and they probably outscored us 40-15 to end the game after that. They’re a very good team, a good passing team. There doesn’t seem to be any greedy guys out there. Coach Self knows what he’s doing; his teams have always executed very well.”
On which aspect of Kansas is most impressive:
“Well, coming into tonight, they were shooting 45 percent from three, which is outstanding. Then I just think they’re deep – that’s another thing. And they pass the ball well. They pass really nicely, and that always helps. It seems like they make the extra pass and they’re in control. They just seem like a veteran team. They knew what they wanted to do, and when they had to do it, they did it.”
On what the game plan was defending Kansas:
“We knew who the shooters were. Then the very first play, we’re three feet away from number one (Wayne Selden, Jr.) who turns around and bangs it. What’s that Mike Tyson quote? ‘Everyone has a plan until I punch them in the mouth?’ So yes, we had a plan, but it wasn’t that successful.”
Holy Cross Freshman Forward Karl Charles
On his performance:
“I feel like I played alright, I got to the line a lot. They had a tough time staying in front of me, especially when they put a bigger guy on me. So I just attacked the basket, looked to make a lay-up and if not get to the line and knock down a couple of foul shots.”
On his team’s performance:
“I think we did alright handling the pressure. The pressure wasn’t that much but we just need to eliminate the careless turnovers. We turned the ball over a lot unforced because of careless passes and just not being crisp on offense. Our offense is predicated on timing and good cuts so if the timing is off it throws off the whole offense.”
On the toughest part playing Kansas:
“I would say their length and speed. They were always swarming to the ball. If you’re under the basket and you’re not shooting they’ll just take it from you. They were a lot bigger and stronger. You have big guys like Greene and Ellis who are moving like guards and it’s something we aren’t used to but will help us once we get into Patriot League play.”
On playing in an environment like Allen Fieldhouse:
“It’s the first time for me. It was an eye-opening experience. I kind of down played it the last couple of days but once I got out there with all those fans screaming it made a memory that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”
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