Big Men Lead No. 18 Kansas Past Georgetown, 86-64
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Senior forward Tarik Black checked into the game with 8:26 to play in the first half and broke his season-high by halftime en route to a 17-point effort that led No. 18/19 Kansas to a 86-64 win against Georgetown Saturday morning.
Twenty-nine days since last tipping off in Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas (8-3) and its sold-out crowd didn’t mind the unusual 11 a.m. start against the perennial power Georgetown Hoyas (7-3). The Kansas big men, Black and freshman center Joel Embiid, minded the least as the duo erupted for 17 points apiece to power the offense. They combined for a perfect 9-for-9 performance from the floor and between the two of them missed just five of their 21 free throw attempts.
Junior guard Naadir Tharpe made the start at point guard and tallied 10 points in the process, while freshman guard Andrew Wiggins scored 12 to join him on the leaderboard. The guards spread out the assist responsibility as Tharpe, Wiggins, Wayne Selden, Jr. and Frank Mason each dished out four helpers.
As a unit, the Jayhawks finished the day at 54.3 percent (25-for-46) from the field, while holding Georgetown to a 40.7 mark, including just 10-of-27 made in the second half. On the boards, Kansas kept its rebounding dominance intact, pulling down 39 boards to GU’s 29.
Georgetown senior guard Markel Starks led all scorers with 19 points, while fellow guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera recorded 12 points as the only Hoyas in double-figures on Saturday.
Embiid got off to a smooth start, knocking down both shots attempted and all five free throws until he was lifted for Black after being whistled for his second foul with more than eight minutes to play in the first half. Although the KU center would check back in and out to close the first half, Black stayed put and made the most of the opportunity. The senior transfer cranked out a new season-high with 10 points in the final 7:47 of the opening frame to lead the Jayhawks in scoring by halftime.
The teams held each other accountable in the opening moments, both missing just one shot through the first six minutes of the game. An and-one opportunity for Embiid put KU ahead, 15-12. Following his own layup, Georgetown senior Aaron Bowen turned around and swiped the ensuing inbounds pass for another quick score. The heads-up move sparked a 9-0 run as the Hoyas surged ahead, 21-15.
When Bowen tried a third time, however, Embiid was ready and waiting. The KU 7-footer swatted away Bowen’s layup before heading back down the court to sink a pair of free throws and cut the Georgetown lead to two. With just under nine minutes to play, Tharpe’s floater in the lane evened the score at 23-23. When Tharpe found Black for the alley-oop dunk, Kansas reversed the Hoyas’ earlier run with a 14-4 rally of its own, securing a 29-25 lead with five minutes to play in the opening frame.
The biggest boost may have come from the Hoyas. After starting out red-hot, hitting nine of its first 11 shots, the Georgetown offense went cold. Smith-Rivera and Starks each knocked down a bucket with less than a minute remaining, but those were the first field goals since the 11:19 mark as GU made just three of its 16 attempts in that span. They made plenty of trips to the free throw line, but didn’t fare much better from there, shooting just 53.8 percent (7-for-13) in the first half and 57.1 percent (16-for-28) for the game.
Kansas made the Hoyas pay – shooting over 60 percent (13-for-21) from the floor in a half for the fourth time this season. Although Selden drilled his second three-pointer of the game, Black and Tharpe led the charge. The duo teamed up to score 15 of KU’s last 21 points of the half, and Kansas took a double-digit lead into halftime, 44-34.
The hot start that got the game rolling in the first half disappeared momentarily to start the second. Georgetown took more than three minutes to hit its first shot, while Kansas needed more than four. With 15:35 to play, Wiggins broke the silence with a three-pointer and kept the lead at a comfortable distance, 49-38.
Joining him, Black and Tharpe added back-to-back layups before sophomore forward Jamari Traylor drove to the basket for a three-point play. Suddenly, the Jayhawks were out to their largest lead of the game, 56-38. Georgetown pushed back, chalking up a 7-1 run to shrink the gap, but it only momentarily nicked the Jayhawks. Black came right back with a layup to spark a 7-1 run on the other side – and the Jayhawks had all the momentum they needed.
Embiid’s free throw with just over five minutes to play stretched KU’s lead to 20, but it was his next score that made the most noise. After Wiggins squared up and took a long three from the right side, Embiid caught the offensive rebound with both hands and slammed it right back through the hoop. The crowd roared. When Mason flipped the ball behind his back to assist a Selden dunk, they roared louder.
Firmly in command and ready to wrap it up, head coach Bill Self cleared his starters from the floor and his reserves closed out the 86-64 win.
Kansas will take a holiday break, then host Toledo on Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk IMG TV and close out non-conference play when San Diego State comes to Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 5. That game will be televised on CBS and will start at either 12:30 or 3:30 p.m. depending on the NFL playoffs.
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Postgame Notes KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): Jr. Naadir Tharpe (7/7), Fr. Wayne Selden, Jr. (11/11), Fr. Andrew Wiggins (11/11), So. Perry Ellis (11/14), Fr. Joel Embiid (3/3) SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 2-1
- Improved Kansas to 8-3 on the season
- Made the Kansas-Georgetown series 2-1 in favor of KU
- Gave Kansas its 67th-consecutive win against non-conference opponents in Allen Fieldhouse
- Pushed Kansas to 4-0 in Allen Fieldhouse this season and 5-0 in home games (Sprint Center)
- Upped Bill Self to 308-62 while at Kansas and 514-167 overall
- Made KU 2,109-815 all-time
- Kansas’ swatted seven shots against the Hoyas, marking the team’s fifth straight game with five or more blocks.
- With 14:17 left in the first half the Hoyas used a 9-0 run to gain an early 21-15 advantage.
- Kansas responded with a run of its own to end the half. Trailing 21-15 with 11:56 left in the first half, a pair of free throws by freshman G Frank Mason kicked off a 29-13 Jayhawk run to end the half leading by 10, 44-34.
- KU took the lead, 25-24, on a made free throw by senior F Tarik Black with 7:47 left in the first half. The Jayhawks never surrendered their lead from that point on.
- Georgetown opened the game by shooting 82 percent (9-11) from the field with 11:19 left in the first half. The Hoyas didn’t record a basket for the next 10:10 of the half until a layup with 48 seconds left cut KU’s lead down to 11 points, 42-31.
- Kansas shot 61.9 percent in the first half making that the fourth time this season the Jayhawks have shot over 60 percent in a half. The 61.9 percent was the highest since KU shot 69.2 percent in the first half of a win over Towson on Nov. 22, 2013.
- Prior to Saturday’s game when Georgetown trailed by 10 at the break, the Hoyas largest halftime deficit was three points to Oregon on Nov. 8, 2013.
- Neither team shot well to begin the second half. Kansas first scored at the 15:35 mark while its last basket came with 38 seconds left in the first half. Georgetown first scored from the field with 16:57 left after last scoring with four seconds in the first half.
- Georgetown trailed by as many as 28 points in the second half, the Hoyas’ largest second half deficit was previously seven against Northeastern Nov. 21, 2013.
- Kansas shot 54.3 percent from the floor, making that the highest field goal percentage given up by Georgetown this season. The Hoyas highest opponent shooting percentage prior to today was 50 percent vs. Elon on Dec. 17, 2013.
- Kansas’ 46 free throw attempts are the most by a Jayhawk squad since KU attempted 46 against Baylor on Feb. 9, 2008.
- The 31 free throws made were the most by the Jayhawks this season, and the most since the Jayhawks made 32 against Kent State on Dec. 1, 2008.
- For the second time this season Kansas had an equal number of attempts from the field and the line, lofting both 46 shots and 46 free throws. Kansas first achieved the feat against Louisiana at Monroe on Nov. 8, 2013.
- Junior G Naadir Tharpe has made at least one three-pointer in 8-of-10 games and is the most consistent Jayhawk from beyond the arc, while freshman G Andrew Wiggins ranks behind him with at least one trey in 8-of-11 games played. Wiggins still leads on the season with 13 threes compared to Tharpe’s 11.
- Wiggins finished the day with 12 points for his fourth straight game and 10th game overall scoring in double figures.
- Freshman C Joel Embiid scored 17 points and added a season-high nine made free throws. He also set a new career-high of free throw attempts (12). His 17-point effort marks the sixth time in his short career reaching double figures.
- Embiid’s jump shot with 19:34 remaining in the first half marks the first time Embiid has scored the first points for KU this season.
- In the last two games Embiid is shooting 9-10 (90 percent) from the floor and is 17-22 (77.3 percent) from the line while also averaging seven rebounds.
- Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr. tied a career high in three-point baskets made after his second three of the half gave the Jayhawks a 35-27 advantage with 4:08 remaining in the game’s first 20 minutes.
- Senior F Tarik Black posted a season-high 17 points while finishing a perfect 5-for-5 from the field
- Black tied his highest scoring output in a Jayhawk uniform with eight points after making a layup with 2:19 remaining in the first half.
- Black also went to the free throw line nine times setting a new Jayhawk career high. Black made a season-high seven free throws total. Seven of Black’s nine free throw attempts were in the first half and the senior scored six of his 10 first-half points from the charity stripe.
- Black scored all 10 of his first half points after the 7:47 mark.
- Black’s blocked shot with 13:51 left in the second half tied a season high (2) in that category.
- Sophomore F Jamari Traylor completed two separate three-point plays on his way to setting a new career-high with eight points.
- Sophomore G Evan Manning recorded his first points of the season after making a free throw with 1:53 to play in the game.
Kansas head coach Bill Self
On his team’s defensive performance:
“We guarded their actions really well. In the first half we didn’t have much energy. It was like we were scared of them ‘back-dooring’ us, so we didn’t get to them. In the second half we did a better job. Our scout team did a great job. Niko (Roberts), Evan (Manning), Justin (Wesley) and Hunter (Mickelson) did a great job of preparing our team for this game. You take away the first 10 minutes defensively, that was a much better defensive basketball team out there.”
On Tarik Black’s performance:
“We need to have his mother and father come to more games. This is the first time they’ve had a chance to see him play. It’s a perfect example because Tarik’s attitude has been fantastic. He knows he hasn’t played as well and a lot of it is self-caused and a lot of it is bad luck. He lost a little confidence but he kept working hard and he never took practices off, even a few possessions off. Hard work paid off. The way he played today, he may not always have 17 points, he didn’t do anything spectacular. He just played to his strengths. So if we can keep getting production out of him and Joel (Embiid), we’ll be a hard team to deal with. Jamari (Traylor) was great off the bench as well.”
On the starters’ performances:
“It was good to see them get out and run and make some nice plays. Andrew (Wiggins) did some good things but is still not as aggressive as we need him to be. Perry (Ellis) got hit hard. He may have a mild concussion, but he did something to his neck that threw off his equilibrium. At least I hope it did, based on the free throw he shot. He got hit hard and there was no reason for him to come back. Offensively, he and Andrew didn’t do much at all in the first half but we still managed to score 44 points, which was a positive.”
Kansas junior guard Naadir Tharpe
On defensive changes allowed them to shut Georgetown down:
“We just started to pressure the ball more, get the guards out of their game. That is how they like to play, they like to slow the game down. We just wanted to get out there and wreak a little havoc.”
On how much the team has seen Embiid’s confidence grow throughout the season”
“It grows every day in practice. It comes from those two (Black and Embiid) battling in practice. It is only going to make them better, so we just need to make sure they continue to do that.”
On if he knew a big game was coming for Tarik Black:
“Definitely. Every practice, he is a guy that is always talking. He never comes in down on himself, or try to put the other team down. The one thing about him is, the time he was down, he was still a good teammate the whole time. That is important because guys are going to get down, but as long as we come together we will be fine.”
On playing at home after a long road trip:
“It felt good. Between the last couple of practices before this game, and coming into this game, I told the guys this is going to be a fun game. Being able to come home and play in front of our fans, we will get to go out with a bang before Christmas break. I knew it was going to be “turnt up” in there (Allen Fieldhouse).”
Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid
On if Georgetown was one of the more physical opponents they faced:
“Definitely. Josh Smith is a big guy, very difficult to guard. I did my best.”
On if he expected to be this good so early in the season:
“I didn’t expect anything, but I knew coming in to Kansas that I needed to work hard and listen to what coach Self says every day. I knew all I had to do is work hard and keep improving.”
Kansas senior forward Tarik Black
On how he feels about his breakout game:
“I feel really good. I have a great coaching staff that told me to keep my head up and keep working hard. My teammates push me every day and tell me the same things. Na (Naadir Tharpe) always tells me every day, you need to play games like you come to practice and play hard. I kept my faith and when the opportunity comes, you have to take advantage of it.”
On how big of a role patience played in today’s game:
“It was tough because as a basketball player, we obviously want to perform good every day, night-in and night-out. At the same time, I knew coming here that it wasn’t going to be perfect. I knew there were things I would go through. The thing that made it easier was knowing that I have played many college games and knew what I was capable of. It was just a matter of finding it in this system and having faith that the time was going to come.”
On if the KU’s big men are overwhelming to opponents:
“Look at this guy (pointing to Joel Embiid). This right here is a load itself. We can definitely do damage on the inside. When I get my opportunities and come out and perform the way I am supposed to, plus we have Landen Lucas that can come in and perform at a high-level, we are dangerous. We are dangerous in the frontcourt.”
On if he had any family at the game:
“My mother and father were here in town. I saw my mom before the game and I looked up and saw her in the stands. I am used to being able to look up and see her in the stands back home when I was playing. I knew exactly where she would sit, and I remember she used to try and give me pointers from the stands. Having them here today was special. It is what I am used to.”
On the play where he got tangled up with Josh Smith:
“I was moving my feet side to side trying to defend him. You know he is a big guy, very talented. He caught the ball, I think I was on his left side, and I shifted over and that is the way he went with his move. He came over with his elbows high and caught me a little bit on the cheek. That is basketball though. It is a rough sport.”
Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III
On the team’s foul trouble:
“They (Kansas) did a good job of getting us into foul trouble. We got deep into the bench. They are a very good team. Their front court, I think particularly (Tarik) Black played very well today – he played very, very well. Whenever we thought we were making a step towards cutting into the lead he would get a rebound and create a three point play. I haven’t looked at the stat sheet, but I felt like he made all of his foul shots. Their front court was very good today.”
On the physicality of Georgetown:
“You thought we were physical today? I thought we were the furthest thing from it. We have to be an aggressive team in general. I think that if you look at the game, we didn’t make enough of the physical plays. When I say that, I mean a good box out. When I say that, I mean if it’s a loose ball, we have to be the one to aggressively go after it and cover the 50/50 balls. I don’t think we were physical tonight at all. We slapped and fouled, but we weren’t physical.”
On how the zone of Kansas affected their rhythm:
“I guess if you look at it that way it is easy to say that, but I didn’t feel that. They only did that for one or two possessions. I think at that point, we stopped executing. I’m not sure if (Kansas) going zone was the trigger, but there was a stretch from the mid to the end of the first half where we didn’t make them work on defense.”
On how the foul trouble affected the game:
“If the question is would we prefer not to be in foul trouble, then yes. Do we have a lack of depth? I don’t know, I don’t think necessarily the guys in foul trouble played particularly well tonight, so we’ll see.”
On how the atmosphere at Allen Fieldhouse affected the game:
“This venue is storied. Their fans are terrific, they are here early and they’re loud. With that being said, it wasn’t the venue or the fans, it was the guys on the other bench that I thought played at a high level today.”
On Joel Embiid:
“He’s pretty good, he’s pretty good. You see, just having watched all their games, not only is he pretty good, but he must be pretty smart because he is getting better and better and better with each game. I think he has a chance to be a special player, there’s no two ways about that. If, maybe, he might be at that point already.”
On if his team can learn from this loss:
“I hope so. I think you can be lazy and say let’s just forget that game and move on. We’re not going to do that and we have to take do some introspection and look across the board at how we do things and what we do. One game is not a season length, but at the same time, there are a lot of things that we have to take away from this game if we’re going to have the success that we plan on having in our conference.”
Georgetown senior forward Nate Lubick
On how they matched up with the Kansas bigs:
“Obviously, we didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game. As coach said, this is a storied program, storied arena and we didn’t make the type of plays with our frontcourt that you need to make to come and win a game here.”
On the rebound differential:
“Honestly all the credit goes to them. They made it tough for us to get rebounds, but a lot of that comes down to us and we didn’t come ready to rebound. We didn’t come ready to fight and that’s why they won the game.”