High-Flying Jayhawks Smother Montana, 88-46
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Allen Fieldhouse set a world record off the court as No. 2 Kansas overwhelmed Montana on the court on Saturday afternoon, 88-46, for the second largest margin of victory this season (42 points). The crowd at Allen Fieldhouse set a new Guinness World Record for largest gathering of ugly holiday sweaters with 3,473 fans in holiday garb.
The Jayhawks (9-1) shot 57 percent from the field and held Montana to 26 percent shooting, while out-rebounding the Griz, 44-26. KU was led by senior forward Perry Ellis’ 18 points on 4 of 7 shooting from the field and perfect shooting at the free throw line (10 for 10). Junior guard Frank Mason III dished out nine assists with no turnovers.
“We played well – that was impressive,” Bill Self said after the game. “All 11 guys that had a chance to play ample minutes looked like a player. You could make the case that every played very well. We really moved the ball well and got some easy baskets in the second half. I thought we did a really good job on their big kid (Martin Breunig).”
Breunig led Montana (4-6) in points and rebounds entering Saturday’s game, but was held to nine points on 3-of-12 shooting with six rebounds and four personal fouls against the Jayhawks. Brandon Gfeller scored a team-high 12 points for the Griz.
The Jayhawks dazzled their sellout home crowd with seven dunks in the first home game in 10 days after completing final exams. Freshman forward Carlon Bragg Jr., sent Allen Fieldhouse into a frenzy by completing a half-court alley-oop dunk from Wayne Selden Jr., to give KU a 66-31 lead with 13:23 remaining in the second half.
Junior guard Brannen Greene made his first start of the season and gave the Jayhawks the first basket of the game with a 3-pointer in the corner. Greene finished with 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range and improved his season
Mason and Ellis converted 3-point and-1 plays on the next two trips down floor. Kansas made its first five shots of the game for an early 9-4 lead and didn’t look back. Kansas converted three and-1 plays by the 12-minute mark of the first half.
KU’s highlight reel kept rolling with an alley-oop from Selden to Cheik Diallo, a nifty no-look pass that set up a Bragg layup, a crafty loose-ball rebound which Mason quickly relayed to Diallo for a jam, and a soaring dunk from Selden dunk along the baseline that gave the Jayhawks a 31-17 lead late in the half.
Kansas led by 20 at halftime, 44-24.
Jayhawks started the second half on a 12-0 run, increasing KU’s lead to 32 with 16:12 remaining. Four of KU’s seven dunks came in the first 10 minutes of the second half, including Selden’s half-court alley-oop to Bragg.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk scored seven of his 10 points in the second half while the Jayhawks put the finishing touches on their largest scoring margin of the season at 42 points.
KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS): Jr. G Frank Mason, III (10/49), Jr. G Brannen Greene (1/3), Jr. G Wayne Selden Jr. (10/81), Sr. F Perry Ellis (10/81), Sr. F Hunter Mickelson (3/28)
- Kansas is now 2-0 all-time against Montana.
- This was the first meeting since Dec. 1, 1962, a 68-56 Kansas win in Allen Fieldhouse.
- Kansas is 17-0 all-time against current membership of the Big Sky Conference and is facing its second Big Sky opponent this season (Northern Colorado).
ATTENDANCE:16,300 (232nd-consecutive sellout)
GUINESS BOOK WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT:
- Kansas Athletics now holds the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the “Largest gathering of people wearing holiday sweaters.” The record was broken with 3,473 fans dressed in holiday sweaters.
- The former record was 1,175 people and was set December 10, 2014 at Loughborough University in Loughborough, United Kingdom.
- Gave KU eight-straight wins, which tied the longest winning streak from 2014-15
- Made the series with Montana 2-0 in favor of the Jayhawks
- Made Kansas 98-4 against non-conference opponents in Allen Fieldhouse during the Bill Self era
- Gave KU its 29th-straight win in Allen Fieldhouse, which is the seventh-longest streak in school history
- Made KU 733-109 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse, including 195-9 under Self
- Improved Self 361-79 while at Kansas and 568-184 all-time
- Made KU 2,162-832 all-time
- Montana F Fabijan Krslovic scored the game’s first points with a layup at the 19:42 mark in the first half. That marked the first time in 163:57 that the Jayhawks have trailed inside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas last found itself behind on its home floor on March 3, 2015 against West Virginia with 3:39 remaining in overtime.
- Kansas’ 42-point margin of victory was its second largest of the season and the largest at home. KU defeated Chaminade 123-72 (51 points) in the opening bracket play at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Nov. 23 in Lahiana, Hawaii.
- In the second halves of their last three outings, the Jayhawks have combined to shoot 62.8 percent (54-of-86) from the field.
- The Jayhawks held an opponent under 50 points for the first time this season.
- The Grizzlies shot 26.4 percent (14-of-53) from the field, the lowest field goal percentage by a KU opponent this season. Montana’s 60 percent (12-of-20) from the free throw stripe tied a Jayhawk opponent low for 2015-16.
- Kansas outrebounded Montana by a margin of 18, its second-largest margin of year ( 25 vs. Chaminade). The Jayhawks have now outrebounded eight of 10 foes.
- Out of its nine victories of the season, Kansas has won by 15 or more points in seven of those wins. Five of those wins have been by 30 points or more.
- The Kansas bench scored 48 points, surpassing the 40-point mark for the fifth time this season. The KU bench is now averaging 32.1 points per game in 2015-16, compared to 22.5 by its opponents. KU’s bench has now outscored its opponents’ bench in seven of 10 games this season.
- The Jayhawks hit 43.8 percent (7-of-16) of their three-point attempts, marking the eighth-straight game Kansas has shot 40 percent or better from behind the three-point arc. KU has also now made seven or more three-pointers in eight of 10 games this season.
- Senior F Perry Ellis scored a game-high 18 points and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. It marked the fourth time in Ellis’ career that he was perfect from the charity stripe when he’s had a minimum of five attempts.
- Ellis also added nine rebounds, the seventh time this year he has pulled down six or more boards.
- Junior G Brannen Greene was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and has now missed just three three-point attempts on the year (11-of-14).
- Junior G Frank Mason III tied a career-high with nine assists and had no turnovers. He now boasts an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.5 on the year, including a mark of 6.7 over his last three outings.
- Junior G Wayne Selden Jr., failed to make a three pointer (0-of-4) for the first time this season. Selden had made at least two threes in each of the Jayhawks’ first nine outings.
- Selden was 5-of-10 from the field, marking the eighth-straight game the junior has shot 50 percent of better from the field.
- Sophomore G Svi Mykhailiuk scored in double figures for the fourth time this season and connected on multiple three pointers (2-of-4) for the second time in 2015-16.
“We played well. That was pretty impressive. I thought all eleven guys that had a chance to play ample minutes, I thought everyone looked like a player. I think you could make a case that everybody played very well. Wayne didn’t make shots, but how does he help the team win when he doesn’t make shots? And he certainly did [help the team win]. Frank wasn’t totally engaged offensively because of the way the game went. Who would ever think Frank would just take five shots in a game and he has nine assists and no turnovers. Perry looked like Perry. I thought we played really really well. I was really pleased with how we played and I thought we did a really good job on (Martin Breunig). “
On Wayne Selden’s assist to Carlton Bragg:
“That was a great pass. We’re getting out and running well.”
“Montana is a good defensive transition team. They haven’t given up a lot of points in transition. They only send a couple to the glass. We did a real good job of scoring early in transition, but we really moved the ball well and got some easy baskets in the second half.”
On the Grizzlies’ missed shots and KU’s defensive effort:
“They missed some shots that normally they are going make and shoot a higher percentage. They aren’t going to shoot 26 percent again this year. We emphasized that we need to get our defensive stats back to where they remotely belong. And today was a good step in that direction.”
On the match-up with San Diego State:
“They’re terrific defensively. They labor to score. They labored to score two years ago when they beat us. It wasn’t a major upset that they won. It just seemed that way because it was in our building. I could be wrong, but they said this is the hottest ticket that their basketball program has ever had during the regular season. It’s been sold out forever. It’ll be a rowdy atmosphere, and we need to play a true road game because we’ve played a lot of neutral games, but we haven’t played true road. We need to learn how to do that on the road. I’m excited. We usually historically haven’t played great the game before, but I think our guys will have a different approach, which certainly doesn’t mean we’ll play well guaranteed, but I certainly think we’ll have a better chance to play well.”
Kansas Senior Forward Perry Ellis
On his play against Montana:
“I felt I was being really aggressive. That’s all that they’re asking of me. I felt like I got out there and started attacking and not worrying about what’s happening. Then good things happen for me. “
On the potential of Carlton Bragg, Jr.:
“He’s great, he’s tremendous. In practice, he acts the same way as he does in games. He’s always attacking and always energetic, happy and having fun. He has a tremendous skillset. He’s going to be great.”
On exploiting Montana in the paint:
“That was the key. They wanted to get the ball inside, so we tried to trap and create havoc that way.”
On making 10-of-10 free throws:
“That just comes with being aggressive. When you’re aggressive you get to the line so it’s definitely a plus.”
On not overlooking Montana:
“It was our defense. We all want to get better defensively and we showed it in practice. We are really trying to get after it and get better. We wanted to step out today and do that to show we can improve.”
On Coach Self’s attention in practice:
“I know that I haven’t been playing at the level that I want to be playing at. (Coach Self) continues to motivate me to get me to that level again and I’m feeling really well right now. The key is to keep attacking.”
On what an All-American level means to him:
“It goes back to the stretch that I had last year. I put a few good games together even though I was missing some shots at that time. I was still attacking and going after the ball though, focusing on defense and all aspects of the game. I brought a lot of energy to the court and that is key.”
On playing San Diego State next week after losing to them two years ago:
“That game will definitely be on some of our minds. We want to go on break with a win. We don’t want to have a little break right after a loss. We are going to do the best we can in practice and go out to San Diego and compete at a high level.”
Kansas Freshman Forward Carlton Bragg, Jr.
On his alley-oop dunk from Wayne Selden, Jr.:
“I was running the floor and with his vision, he was looking up, and we saw each other, I raised my hand, he threw it and we connected. He was going crazy (after).”
On some energy plays that he can show:
“I can provide hustle plays by rebounding, blocking shots, and running the floor. Those are the things that Coach asks me do to.”
On Wayne Selden still getting his hustle plays:
“We feed off of his energy very much. He has been one of the leaders on our team so we just follow from his lead.”
On having a good understanding of the game for a freshman:
“I have a great feel for the game and always doing what the coaches ask. I give it my all, all the time.”
Kansas Sophomore Guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
On his move to the basket in the second half:
“That was probably a crossover move that I made against my opponent. I think I have pretty good handles, so I was just trying to make a play.”
Montana Head Coach Travis DeCuire
“For us, it’s a great opportunity to go on the road and face a team that expects to compete for a National Championship. It’s not often for a Division I basketball player at the mid-level to play in this environment and this atmosphere. For us, it’s great for our team to go back and prepare for conference play after playing such a high-level team. I think it’s something they’ll always remember playing in front of 16,000 people, so we thank the Jayhawks for this opportunity.”
On what aspects of play led to the loss:
“It’s a little bit of everything. At the end of the day, to come in here and perform and compete, and be in the game down the stretch, you have to do almost everything right. We give up weight, we give up length, we give up speed; there’s nothing on paper that makes sense for us. So we had to come in and take care of the details. We started off early, doing that. We had good possessions, we were in the right place defensively, we made them work, and we made them take the shots we wanted them to take. And then it got a little more difficult for us offensively, and the offense turned into the defense. That’s where the transitions and all those things took place. It’s important for us to execute offensively and take care of the ball, and I don’t think we did that today.”
On what the difference was for Kansas:
“More defense. More length. Their physicality – they ran through screens. They recovered when you tried to make them pay. When we got to the basket they contested shots and made things difficult. A guy like Martin (Breunig) who typically plays above the defender was forced to play through contact and move the ball. They made it very difficult and then they doubled him. And the doubles came faster with more length and made it difficult for him to find guys. When he did, we didn’t make them pay.”
On how Kansas compared to how it looks on film:
“It’s very difficult to see on film – speed and strength. When we played Washington, I think the speed and length were similar, but they were a freshman-oriented team so they weren’t as strong or physical. This is a different style of basketball in the Midwest. It’s more physical out here and for a West Coast team to come here and adjust – it’s hard to do that in the course of a game.”
On what he tells the team in the second half:
“You start playing for minutes. You want to win the next four minutes. You’re trying to turn situations into learning experiences. We adjusted what we were doing defensively in transition and with the ball screen to make them shoot jump shots over the top, and they made some. But the adjustments we made in the last eight minutes kept them from getting a 60-point lead, and we cut into it a little bit. We were able to get some guys on the floor who hadn’t played a lot of minutes. We just coach them through each moment, each situation, and as the game changes, you change your dialogue.”
On if the team felt overwhelmed:
“Well, we were overwhelmed when the ball went up. There were a couple loose balls that we should have had; we were closer than them to the ball, but we didn’t get it. So we were shocked a little bit early with the physicality, in front of 16,000 screaming fans hollering at you, in timeouts and on the floor trying to communicate, was intimidating. There were a lot of things we had to adjust to. We just don’t get this on the West Coast. I think the guys fought. I think they kept playing and tried their hardest.”
On how he moves past the loss:
“Go home and beat Montana Western. For us, it’s about staying healthy. We want to get back and get through Monday’s practice and play at home. We want to finish the non-conference schedule undefeated at home, and then start conference play. If guys can go home and enjoy the holidays, then come back and have a couple good practices we’ll be ready.”
On what Kansas’ weaknesses are:
“No, I think they play a style of basketball where weaknesses don’t jump out and they’re hard to exploit. So if there are any, they don’t jump out. For us, we were going to try to force their posts to score over the top and not get pushed up above an area that we would call our blue line for those lobs. And we did that a little bit, but they made us pay by just pushing us under the rim and getting rebounds. I think that they’re a very good basketball team that figures out what you’re trying to take away and what you’re giving them, and then making you pay. I hadn’t seen their guards come off of ball screens and shoot over the top very much, so we played them soft. And in the second half, they adjusted and made jump shots off the bounce. So I think it’s a talented team that’s very well coached and knows how to make adjustments. They’re good enough to keep the game simple, so it’s very difficult to find those weaknesses because it’s a simply style of basketball. It allows them to play hard and aggressive, and not make many mistakes. They also play a lot of guys. When you have talent like them and are disciplined like them, you can play like that.”
Montana Freshman Guard Michael Oguine
On what the team struggled with the most:
“They were sharing the ball really well, especially in the first half. It kind of got us out of our rhythm defensively. We just have to get better at helping each other out and playing defense as a team. I feel like we learned from that today, like I said, they just did a good job of moving the ball around.”
On what was the biggest challenge Kansas threw at them:
“Their ball movement, their athleticism, they’re a great coached team. Like I said, we can learn from this game but moving the ball is something they do really well.”
On if they were expecting Kansas to be this good:
“Yes, coming in we knew that they were a great team. But then again, we also played some pretty good teams on our schedule and we have played them pretty well, for some part. Like I said, they’re a great team but we still have to come out and play hard and play the best we can. We have a standard that we set for ourselves and we obviously didn’t do that today, so we have to learn from that and move on. No matter who we are playing, just play the best we can and play has hard as we can.”
Montana Senior Forward Martin Breunig
On how the team started:
“We gave up too much baseline penetration. We were supposed to keep them off the baseline and it was an easy shot for them in the corner every time.”
On what was Montana’s game plan:
“The game plan was to pack it in. They are a really well coached team, they can shoot the ball. We expected them to play really well but the focus was on the bigs mainly and their guards were just hitting really good shots. We just have to learn from it.”
On why Kansas was effective in the paint today:
“They are really good at sealing the defender and they look at all the options they have. They play high-low, they slide it in, so it’s really hard to keep out the post and we just had to play as a team to keep them out of there.”
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