No. 2/1 Kansas pressures Texas for 18th-straight win, 79-67
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 2/1 Kansas basketball won its 18th-straight game overall and 50th-straight game inside Allen Fieldhouse after pressuring Texas to a 79-67 victory on Saturday afternoon. The Jayhawks recorded a season-high 14 steals and never trailed for the entire game to remain undefeated in Big 12 play (18-1, 7-0 Big 12).
During KU’s 50-game winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse, 36 have been over Big 12 opponents. KU’s NCAA-leading home-court winning streak of 53 games includes three games at Sprint Center which have been part of KU’s season ticket package.
National player of the year front-runner Frank Mason III became the 21st Jayhawk to reach 1,500 career points when he made a 3-pointer at the 18:51 mark of the first half, giving Kansas an early 6-0 lead. Mason finished with 17 points, adding seven assists, to vault himself in the top-20 of all-time scorers at KU with 1,514 career points.
Frank Mason III reached 1,500 career points on Saturday (1,514).Junior guard Devonte’ Graham led the Jayhawks in scoring with 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting beyond the arc. Despite dealing with an illness this weekend, senior center Landen Lucas contributed a team-high 14 rebounds as Kansas benefited from a 40-33 rebounding advantage against the over-sized Longhorns.
Texas (7-12, 1-6) was led by 22 points and 19 rebounds from freshman Jarrett Allen. Allen’s 19 rebounds are the most by a KU opponent since 2004. The Longhorns were plagued by 19 turnovers. Freshman guard Josh Jackson was responsible for four of those UT turnovers, as he finished with four steals and 15 points.
The Jayhawks’ early pressure on the Longhorns paid dividends throughout. Kansas took a 14-2 lead in the first five minutes of regulation and didn’t look back. KU scored 12 points off of six UT turnovers during that span, which included two steals from Jackson.
Kansas scored quick-and-easy in the first ten minutes, highlighted by Graham dishing to Vick for a 3-pointer, quickly followed by a pull-up jumper by Graham from a fast-break pass from Mason, 19-5. Kansas worked its way to a 12-point lead, 24-12, after Carlton Bragg Jr., made a pair of free throws with 11:24 remaining the first half.
The story shifted to UT’s favor under the 10-minute mark of the first half as the Longhorns ran off a 9-0 run to cut KU’s lead to three, 24-21 at the 6:30 mark. Freshman forward Mitch Lightfoot subbed in around the seven-minute mark and stopped UT’s run with a tip-in layup of a Mason missed fast-break layup.
Kansas recovered its double-figure lead by draining back-to-back 3-pointers from Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Graham for a 35-25 lead in the waning moments of the first half.
UT’s Allen reached a double-double in the first half as he grabbed an offensive rebound and made a second-chance jumper at the final buzzer before halftime for a 41-33 score at the break. Allen went into halftime with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Graham led the Jayhawks with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the first half. Despite early foul trouble – two fouls, Mason scored five points with three assists to open the game. The Jayhawks recorded 10 steals and forced 12 Texas turnovers in the first half.
Kansas brought the pressure again to start the second half. The Jayhawks forced three Texas turnovers in nearly the first two minutes of the second half. Mason put KU’s lead at 11, 47-36, after taking a round from Lucas coast-to-coast for a fast-break layup.
With the help of making its first three 3-point shots to open the second half, Texas cut KU’s deficit to four, 53-49, with nearly 14 minutes remaining. That would be as close as the Longhorns came to KU’s lead.
Mason poured in 12 of his 17 points in the second half to help Kansas keep a safe scoring margin over the Longhorns down the stretch.
The Jayhawks put the finishing touches on its 50th-straight Allen Fieldhouse victory as Graham drained a corner 3-pointer just before the one-minute mark to put Kansas up by 12, 76-64. In the exact same spot on the next possession Mykhailiuk drained another trey for a 15-point KU lead, 79-64. Texas answered with a 3-pointer of its own before Mason dribbled out the final seconds of regulation for KU’s 18th-straight win.
Kansas will play three-straight top-10 teams in the next three games. Two of the three will be on the road starting with No. 7/8 West Virginia on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. (Central) on ESPN2. Kansas will then travel to No. 5/5 Kentucky for the SONIC SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 5:15 p.m., on ESPN. The Jayhawks return home to host No. 6/6 Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m., on ESPN2.
The last time Kansas faced three-straight top-10 teams was the end of the 2011-12 season, when the Jayhawks defeated No. 4 North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament regional finals, No. 7 Ohio State in the Final Four, and lost to No. 1 Kentucky in the title game.
FEB. 4 TIPOFF ANNOUNCED
The tipoff time for KU’s home game against Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 4, has been set for 1 p.m. Central time, ESPN and Big 12 Conference officials announced on Saturday. The contest will be televised on ESPN.
KU STARTERS (CONSECUTIVE / SEASON / CAREER STARTS)
Sr. G Frank Mason III (93 / 19 / 96)
Jr. G Devonte’ Graham (26 / 19 / 55)
Jr. G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (9 / 9 / 15)
Fr. G Josh Jackson (19 / 19 / 19)
Sr. C Landen Lucas (8 / 13 / 46)
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (253rd-straight sellout)
• Kansas has won six-straight in the series against Texas, including four-straight wins in Allen Fieldhouse.
• The Jayhawks lead the all-time series with the Longhorns, 28-8, including a 13-1 record inside Allen Fieldhouse.
• 50-STRAIGHT IN AFH: KU’s 79-67 win over Texas marks the 50th-straight victory for the Jayhawks inside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas owns the longest home-court winning streak in NCAA Division I of 53 games, which includes three home games at Sprint Center. KU is 10-0 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, 755-109 all-time in the venue, and 216-9 under Bill Self.
• WINNING STREAK: Kansas extends its winning streak to 18 games. The streak ties for the second-longest winning streak during the Bill Self era. It also ties for the longest active winning streak in NCAA Division I with Gonzaga, which plays tonight at 7 p.m. (CT).
• 18-1 START: Kansas is 18-1 or better for the sixth time in the Bill Self era and first since the 2012-13 Jayhawks went 19-1.
• BIG 12 START: Kansas is 7-0 in Big 12 play for the ninth time in the 21-year history of the league.
• SEASON HIGH IN STEALS: The Jayhawks had a season-high 14 steals, 10 in the first half. The last time KU had 10 steals in one half was January 5th, 2011, against UMKC. Those 14 steals were the most in a game since the Jayhawks had 14 against Oklahoma on January 7th, 2012.
• DEFENSIVE EFFORT: The Longhorns 67 points is the fewest points the Jayhawks have given up this season.
• MULTIPLE TREYS: Kansas has made 11 or more 3-pointers in three of its seven Big 12 games this season.
Kansas maintains these active streaks, all of which lead the nation:
• 12 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles
• 27 NCAA Tournament appearances
• 27 seasons with 20+ wins
• 53 wins at home, including 50 in Allen Fieldhouse
• 151 weeks ranked in AP Top 25; 157 weeks in the USA Today NABC Coaches’ Poll
Senior G Frank Mason III
• Mason’s first field goal of the game eclipsed the 1,500-all-time career point mark. With 17 points this game, he moved to no. 20 on the all-time scoring list, passing Ron Kellogg., with 1,514 points
• With two 3-pointers, Mason tied Elijah Johnson with 147 3-point field goals made.
• Mason added seven assists this game, bringing his career total to 491. In 14th place he passed Ryan Robertson for the 11th most in Kansas basketball history.
Senior C Landen Lucas
• Lucas’s 11 defensive rebounds are the most by a Jayhawk this season.
• Lucas, currently ranking fifth in the conference, pulled down 14 rebounds, his sixth game of the season with double-digit rebounds, five of which came against Big 12 opponents.
Junior G Devonte’ Graham
• Graham’s four 3-pointers moved him to 17th all-time for 3-point field goals made. With 138 career 3-pointers, Graham passed previous record holder, J.R. Giddens.
Freshman G Josh Jackson
• Jackson’s six turnovers are the most by a Jayhawk this season.
• Jackson’s four steals tied for the most by a Jayhawk this season.
• Freshman Jarrett Allen’s career-high 19 rebounds are the most for a KU opponent since Jackson Vroman of Iowa State grabbed 19 boards on February 21st, 2004.
• Allen recorded his first career 20-point game. He also recorded his seventh career double-double, and tied his career high for blocks with three.
Kansas head coach Bill Self
On the Jayhawks’ performance throughout the game:
“We played great early. They cut it to four at one time in the second half. We had no answer for Jarrett Allen – Landen (Lucas) tried his butt off inside. He’s sick as a dog and he wasn’t himself, but still gave us our only low-post defense. He was also certainly our best rebounder. I thought we did some good things. We were really good early and then we got really average, but certainly (we) made enough plays in the second half.”
On KU’s 14 steals:
“We had about nine or 10 at half time. I’ll tell you what we’re not very good at – at least here lately – is finishing in transition off of those plays. We have numbers on one and Lagerald (Vick) makes an awful play (leading) to a five-point swing with him throwing it away and them scoring when it was an easy lob. Svi (Mykhailiuk) made a couple of really bad plays also with the ball. I thought we didn’t play very smart. We didn’t play poorly, I just didn’t think we played very smart.”
On KU’s senior leadership stepping up with Frank Mason III’s 17 points and seven assists and Landen Lucas’ 14 rebounds:
“Landen had Shaq(uille) Cleare too and Jarrett (Allen) had 19 in the first half. In the second half Jarrett just dominated us. For him to get 22 points and 19 rebounds as a freshman coming in here is pretty good. Of course, we recruited him hard and everybody knows now why we wanted him so badly. He’s not only a great college player, but he’ll be a great pro too. It was a good win and what it does is sets up what is a huge week – probably about as big of a next two weeks as we’ve had in several years.”
On the upcoming gauntlet of a trip to West Virginia on Jan. 24 and Kentucky on Jan. 28 and then in Lawrence against Baylor on Feb. 1:
“Yeah, you get Baylor back and then Iowa State and then at K-State. I know there’s good teams after that, but just in the foreseeable future those are five games that are monster games. We need to pick this time of year to be playing our best basketball.”
Kansas junior guard Devonte’ Graham
On the team’s offense:
“Coming out we did a good job. We were moving the ball well. I think we went into a little slump where we didn’t score for about four or five minutes. I think, for the most part, we did a god job of being aggressive, trying to drop downhill and execute when Coach (Self) called plays.”
On Texas’ frontcourt:
“We were trying to go at them and get them in foul trouble while also trapping them down on the other end and keeping our bigs out of foul trouble.”
On his evaluation of the team halfway through conference play:
“We’re in a pretty good spot. Obviously, we know we can play better even though we’ve been playing pretty well. Everybody can be more aggressive. Rebounding is a big thing for us that everybody needs to work on. We’ve still got to lock in on defense and get more stops.”
On practicing the half-court pressure:
“We work on it at practice all the time, just trying to cause a little chaos in the back court and then unexpectedly get some turnovers.”
Kansas senior guard Frank Mason III
On the struggle with maintaining early leads this season:
“I think we’re pretty active and then they started to go on a run and we kind of broke down on the defensive end. We didn’t do our job and they made some tough shots. We didn’t really communicate on transition (situations).”
On KU’s aggressive start to the game:
“I think that’s the best we’ve started a game, especially in the last few games that we played. We have to do that in every game moving forward so that we can have momentum throughout the game.”
On how this game was different than the past few Big 12 Conference games:
“I think we’re pretty active and we were in the right spots. You know, Coach Self tells us all the time, ‘You don’t even have to play good defense if you’re just in the right spot.’ Sometimes other teams just give you the ball and I think we were in great position on the defensive end and we made some plays.”
On whether or not breaking a KU scoring record is a goal for him:
“I’m not really focused on that. I mean, it’s a good accomplishment, but I’m just focused on how we play as a team and how we guard.”
On grading the offense in today’s game:
“On a 1-out-of-10 (scale), I would say 7 or 8. I think we could’ve executed a little bit better on the offensive end. I think we will be better moving forward.”
On the team’s identity halfway through Big 12 Conference play:
“Toughness and we do a good job of responding to everything Coach Self wants us to do on the offensive and defensive ends. I think we just have to come out to the start the game more aggressively and get off to a better start.”
On the improvements he would like to see the most:
“We have to improve on the defensive end. We have to improve our free throws – those have to be huge for us moving forward. A lot of games will probably come down to a free throw. Just those things, rebounding, free throws and the defensive end.”
On KU’s upcoming game at West Virginia:
“It’s definitely up there with K-State, Iowa State, and then I would say it’s West Virginia. Sometimes they’re up there for one of the best places to play.”
On if winning in Morgantown, W.Va., is on his bucket list:
“Yeah definitely, you know, I’m 0-3 so far, it’s not about my bucket list or whatever, but I just want to win that one. I want to win every game I play in, so it’s just another goal. Hopefully everybody will be healthy and ready to go to play a good game and hopefully we can get the win.”
Kansas freshman guard Josh Jackson
On if KU turnovers were result of Texas’ defense or Kansas’ sloppiness:
“A combination of both (Texas’ defense and Kansas’ sloppiness.) Being a little sloppy – they switched defenses a couple of times out there so it kind of threw us off a little bit.”
On his two 3-point field goals:
“It was pretty big. I haven’t been shooting it that well this year, but the biggest thing that Coach and my teammates tell me is when I’m open just to shoot it. They believe I’m a decent shooter, so you’ve just got to have confidence in it and let it go.”
On the team’s success in the paint:
“I just feel like the closer you are on the inside, the easier it is to score. We start scoring on the inside and it opens it up for everyone else. The defense kind of collapses in a little bit, and we’ve got some pretty good shooters on the outside, so it just makes the whole game flow better.”
On the difficulty of Kansas’ upcoming schedule:
“We’re going to just try to come out on top and play hard. We’ve got three really, really tough games coming up but hopefully we can have everybody healthy and at 100 percent and come out like we did tonight.”
On the challenges defending Jarrett Allen today:
“Definitely his length and athleticism. He’s really big and can jump pretty high. Definitely, the height difference was a factor. But when he got it on the post, we kind of trapped him out a little bit. I think coming out they were really surprised by that, and that’s how we got a couple turnovers at the beginning.”
On Kansas’ identity as a team and ability to make big plays:
“I believe so (that team’s identity is to deny opposing team’s runs and hit big shots.) We’ve got to fix that a little bit. We know that all year we won’t be able to hit big shots like that, so we’ve got to get it done on the defensive end a little more.”
Texas head coach Shaka Smart
On the first five minutes of the first half:
“Kansas did a good job with their aggressiveness when the ball went to Shaquille (Cleare) and Jarrett (Allen). It is really situational play-by-play. The first play of the game Shaquille was one-on-one and he should have shot the ball and he tried to throw it to Jarrett but there wasn’t anything there so that was a turnover. A couple of times it went to Jarrett and Kansas did a really nice job closing down a double team and that led to turnovers. But I thought our guys responded well and showed a lot of fight today. We had some times today when we cut the lead down to a number (of points) where we thought we could get even or get ahead, but Kansas had an answer every time. That’s what great teams do.”
On what he said to his team during the first media timeout:
“I told them to respond. We always focus on response. And our bench did a nice job trying to help our guys that were in the game. Our guys didn’t seem shaken or rattled even though we were down 14 to two. I think they knew that we could play better and that we would play better. We just settled in and once we started getting good shots, we made a decent percentage of them. We had a stretch late in the game where our execution and the shots we ended up getting were not good.”
On Jarrett Allen:
“He can go way farther. He’s just a really fast learner. He has gotten better and better. He’s applied himself in terms of work ethic. He’s very good when you give him something, whether it’s on film or an individual workout, to do. He’s good at applying, it but he’s good a huge upside where he can continue getting better and better. I’m just really pleased with his growth, if you look at it from the start of the season until now, how much better he’s gotten.”
On Andrew Jones and Eric Davis Jr., versus Kansas’ Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham:
“I thought Mason and Graham were awesome. Just the way they control the game and looking at the stat sheet, those guys had 12 assists and one turnover. That is what veteran guards do and then they also made some really timely shots, six 3’s between the two of them. I thought Kansas, in general, made some really timely 3-point shots and honestly they’re really a great 3-point-shooting team. I think it is a combination of passing the ball really well; they’re unselfish and they’ve got good shooters. They do a really nice job of being ready to shoot and ready to attack.”
On Kansas’ Josh Jackson:
“I have seen him a lot in AAU. So I thought in that class he was the best player in the country. Obviously, he was ranked by most people there. The thing that was impressive about him in high school was he played with a high motor, but also he could do a lot of different things from a standpoint of rebounding, handling the ball, driving. I thought two of his biggest shots today were the 3’s he hit. You have to try to take away something with him right now with where he is. We didn’t want him to be able to score in the paint but he really made us pay with those two 3’s, one in the first half and one in the second half. They were at critical junctures in the game. With a team like Kansas, you’re not going to be able to take away everything. You’ve just got to try and take away what they do best. You have to be on edge to try and defend them when they go to their next option and their next option. But I think one thing that they’ve done a terrific job at, and this is a testament to their coaching staff, is they have very well-defined roles. Jackson is going to attack and do a lot of things. And obviously he’s got a miss-match when he’s playing at the four spot. Graham and Mason are going to do what they do, they’re going to control the ball, make plays and make plays at the end of the clock. Lucas rebounds like crazy. And then they have guys that come in off the bench that have roles as well.”
On the Longhorns’ season so far:
“For us right now, our guys have shown a lot of growth, individually and collectively, that is not coordinated with winning, which is what you’re trying to do each time you get to the floor. What we want to do is be more consistent. I think a game like today is a good example, when you’re playing a great team like Kansas. You can’t have a stretch of possessions where you’re not doing what it is you need to do because they’re going to make you pay for that and they did. But if we can put more consistent play together with the growth that we’ve had, I think we can really make progress. Really, if you take away that first stretch, we played even. I know that’s not how the game works, obviously, but I think that a lot of guys have gotten better. Jarrett has gotten better, Andrew has gotten better, Eric Davis showed a lot more life today and Shaquille has done a lot of good things, so we just have to put it together. When you’re playing good teams, you have to be more consistent.”
On preparing for today’s game:
“This is a special place. One thing I was telling one of our guys on the way in was (that) this is my second time being here. Both times have been on a weekend. And it’s kind of like the twilight zone because it feels like there is nothing else going on here besides the game. Everyone is locked in on the game. Again, that is a testament to the program and Coach Self and what they’ve built over the years. As a player, I think that goes in to having an excitement about playing. But our guys prepared well in terms of their mindset. They were excited to play, even though I think they’re excited no matter who we play. We just made some mistakes early and Kansas really capitalized and it ended up being a really big difference.”
Texas senior forward Shaquille Cleare
On what the team can do to make improvements:
“I shouldn’t turn the ball over as much. I know Coach (Shaka Smart) always tells us to move on to the next play. I was a little upset, but obviously we’re going to move on and focus on the next play.”
On Texas’ rough start and finishing the game on a more positive note:
“We just need to start taking off at the beginning. That was a game for grabs. That was anybody’s game. Props to them (Kansas), they came out and executed some nice plays and got the win.”
On moving forward in Big 12 Conference play:
“We just have to keep playing. We’ve got another game we can go ahead and win. We’ve just got to flush this one. This is a hard one to come to. We’ve just got to get ready to go home and play Oklahoma.”
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.