Mason charges No. 3 Kansas to 92-74 exhibition win over Washburn

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Jayhawk faithful received their first chance to welcome Kansas basketball’s group of newcomers inside game-atmosphere Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night as the third-ranked Jayhawks defeated Washburn, 92-74.

Senior guard Frank Mason III led the Jayhawks in scoring, nearly reaching a triple-double, with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk drained four 3-pointers to finish with 16 points, while freshman guard Josh Jackson poured in 14 second-half points.

Jackson was in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s contest, highlighting five Jayhawks who made their debut. Joining Jackson who ran under the tunnel to James Naismith Court for the first time were freshmen Mitch Lightfoot and Udoka Azubuike, and juniors Dwight Coleby and Tucker Vang.

“It was good for our freshmen to get an eye-opening experience,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “I’d say we labored; it wasn’t a great outing by our freshmen but certainly I don’t know that that is all bad because it opens their eyes to things we need to do a lot better.”

Kansas shot 54 percent from the floor, while holding the Ichabods to 38 percent shooting. The majority of Washburn’s 45-to-44 rebounding advantage came from pulling down 19 offensive boards off the glass.

Washburn struck first with a 3-pointer by David Salach just under a minute into regulation. KU junior Devonte’ Graham responded by making the first bucket of the season for the Jayhawks – a 3-point to tie the game at three. Azubuike was the first player off the bench for Lucas, who committed two fouls in the first two minutes of the game. The 7-footer from Nigeria contributed early with a blocked shot, followed by a dunk on the opposite end of the floor to put Kansas up, 7-3.

KU’s defense began to clamp down in the lane as Kansas began to pull away in the first half. Kansas held a 7-6 lead before going a 13-2 run to take a 20-8 lead at the 11:11 mark on a layup by sophomore guard Lagerald Vick.

Washburn didn’t have a solution for Mason’s dribble-drive penetration, converting on a number of contested layups to pad the Jayhawks’ double-digit lead.

Graham connected with sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr., for a dunk to give Kansas a 26-16 lead at the 8:01 mark of the first half.

Jackson registered his third foul at the 5:37 mark of the first half, which limited his first-half playing time to nine minutes.

Lightfoot got fouled going to the bucket on three-straight possessions and converted three of his six free throws during that stretch as Kansas maintained a 39-28 lead.

Mason continued to go aggressive to rim as the first half was coming to a close, making an and-1 layup, 44-29. A late Washburn 5-0 flurry with a minute remaining in the first half cut KU’s lead to 10, but Graham and Mykhailiuk restored KU’s cushion to 16 points with a pair of 3-pointers with under 35 second to go in the half.

Mason headlined the opening half with 11 points, eight assists and four rebounds as Kansas went into the locker room with a 50-34 lead. The Jayhawks shot 61 percent from the floor in the first half.

Washburn started the second half on a run 9-2 run, cutting KU’s 16-point lead down to nine points with 17:01 left to play.

Jackson began to show glimpses of his offensive prowess which garnered him so much attention during the recruiting process as one of the top prospects in the country. The Detroit native scored his first basket as a Jayhawk on a layup with 13:50 reminding in the game, putting Kansas up 62-49.

Kansas pulled away in the closing stages of regulation with an 11-0 run, capped off by a pair of free throws by Mykhailiuk with 4:26 remaining which gave KU a 85-63 lead.

Fan-favorite, senior guard Tyler Self, checked in the game late and scored two points before ushering in a 92-74 victory for the Jayhawks.

Frank Mason III stuffed the stat sheet for a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds assists and nine rebounds on Tuesday. Mason would have become the first Jayhawk to record a triple-double during exhibition play since Jeff Withey posted 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks exactly five years ago on Nov. 1, 2011, against Pittsburg State.

KU’s starting lineup featured senior guard Frank Mason III, junior guard Devonte’ Graham, freshman guard Josh Jackson, sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr. and senior center Landen Lucas.

Kansas leads the regular-season series with Washburn, 30-3, and the exhibition series, 8-0. The series dates back to 1906. Since, 1944, Kansas has won 10-straight games against Washburn which includes seven exhibition contests. 

Kansas has won 44-straight exhibition contests in Allen Fieldhouse. The last home loss in exhibition play was 93-82 to Australia on Nov. 29, 1993. 

Junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk drained four 3-pointers to finish with 16 points – a career high during exhibition play for the Ukraine native.

In the first half, Kansas held a 7-6 lead before going a 13-2 run to take a 20-8 lead at the 11:11 mark on a Lagerald Vick layup. Washburn started the second half on a run 9-2 run, cutting KU’s 16-point lead down to nine points with 17:01 left to play. Kansas pulled away in the closing stages of regulation with an 11-0 run, capped off by a pair of free throws by Mykhailiuk with 4:26 remaining which gave KU a 85-63 lead.

NOV. 1 
Kansas is 3-0 all-time on Nov. 1. All three wins have been exhibition contests. 

78-9 all-time in exhibition games … 46-2 in exhibition play under Bill Self, including a 27-0 mark inside Allen Fieldhouse … 56-4 in exhibition games inside Allen Fieldhouse. 

Kansas concludes its two-game exhibition slate against Emporia State this Sunday night (7 p.m., JTV/ESPN3) inside Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas head coach Bill Self
On positives taken from tonight:
“Nobody got hurt; I’d say that’s the biggest positive. We didn’t play well at all as a team or individually. We said we weren’t going to show anything, which we didn’t, but still the couple of things that we did try to do were pretty brutal. Give them credit, they played faster and tougher and they were quicker and certainly they rebounded the ball better. It’s amazing to me how our two starting bigs can get three rebounds in 31 minutes and Frank (Mason III) can go get 10 or Dwight (Coleby) and Mitch (Lightfoot) can combine for 13 in 20 minutes. That’s obviously a huge weakness within our team is our toughness and rebounding but we have to build off of that. I thought Frank did some good things. I thought Lagerald (Vick) played good early. Svi (Mykhailiuk) made some shots, but obviously our passing and ball handling was pretty brutal and certainly they took advantage of our carelessness and our softness.”

On a breakdown of the freshmen (Josh Jackson, Udoka Azubuike, Mitch Lightfoot):
“I really don’t think Udoka had the chance to play much; he got five fouls and fouled out in eight minutes. I thought that he looked okay while he was out there. Mitch is active and tries hard, but he was sped up and he’s got to get where he’s more under control, obviously. I thought that Josh had a rough night. He scored the ball some in the second half, but had a rough night. I think that was good for our freshmen to kind of get them an eye-opening experience. When we made layups or the big guys finished underneath the rim, that was the only way that we scored. You know you’re not going to get baskets like that against Big 12 opponents or against Indiana or Duke, so it’s a little bit of fool’s gold looking at the stat line. But the freshmen, I would say, labored. I would say it wasn’t a great outing tonight by our freshmen, but certainly I don’t that that’s all bad because I think they needed it. It’s kind of an eye-opener and (there are) some things we need to do a lot better.”

On his positivity with this team and the teaching opportunity tonight:
“I think it should be a good one. The tables show they’re quicker. The tables show they’re tougher, but we’ll get better at that. I do think our guard play is going to be pretty good; it’s not right now, but I think it’s going to be pretty good. I have some serious concerns about what we’re going to do inside. Let’s just call it like it is, how are we going to make a basket inside? How are we going to rebound our position? You know Perry (Ellis) wasn’t a great rebounder, but he got seven a game. That’s a heck of a lot better than what we’re getting now. It’s been this way in practice too so we’ve got to certainly do some things to play tougher or we’ve just got to come up with a mode where we play four guards at all times.”

Kansas senior guard Frank Mason III
On how he would have had a triple double if he had one more assist:
“It doesn’t really matter, I’m just disappointed with the way we played as a team. We definitely have a lot of things we have to get better at. I’m just looking forward to the next game.”

On what disappointed him most about the game: 
“I would say on the defensive end, it wasn’t sound, guys weren’t in the right spots and I don’t think we rebounded the ball as well as we should have.”

On Josh Jackson’s aggressiveness in the second half:
“Yeah, he was definitely more aggressive the second half. He was driving the ball down and that’s what we need from him.”

On his defensive rebounds tonight:
“I always play that way. I just put myself in position to rebound the ball because usually the opposing team’s point guard gets back and I have the chase the ball down and be in the right spot.”

On how disappointing the team’s transition defense was:
“We were awful. We did a bad job with communicating and calling out who we had on defense. It led to easy baskets and we can’t have that moving forward.”

On working with the four-guard lineup:
“I think it could be good for us. I just don’t think we executed as well as we could have tonight. We’ll just keep practicing and (have to) get better at it. Hopefully it will work better for us moving forward.”

On his expectations from the four-guard lineup:
“I expected a lot more from it, but things didn’t go the way that we planned. We just have to get ready for practice and try to execute it to get ready for the next game.”

On the team’s communication problems tonight:
“It was definitely a serious problem. I expect everyone to communicate because I tell the guys that talking makes up for mistakes and helps guys out. I was just telling the guys we need to talk, we need to communicate and say who has who on defense so we can be sorted out better on the defensive end.”

On his ability to communicate his freshman year:
“I think I did well in transition and matching up as a freshman. I can’t really remember; I think I was good, though.”

On if his vertical has gotten higher:
“I’m not sure, but I’ve been working hard with (strength and conditioning coach Andrea) Hudy all summer and all fall. I’ve gotten my legs stronger, (my)upper body and everything. I’m just proud to have Hudy in my life and have her help me and get the best instructions from her. Once the ball is in the air, it’s anyone’s ball; so I just jump and go after it aggressively to try to hopefully get it.”

On the last time he had a triple-double:
“I can’t even remember. I don’t think I’ve ever had one. I always got close to it, you know maybe had like 25, 10 and 7, or 25, 9 and 9, something like that. I always got close, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever gotten one.”

On if he was aware that he was close to an unofficial triple-double tonight:
“I wasn’t. I didn’t know what it was until I came out at the end and Coach (Self) told me that if I wouldn’t have shot one of the three’s that I took I could have gotten an assist, but it was too late.”

On what he can do to stress better communication among the team:
“Just practice it. Take it seriously every day moving forward. I think it will definitely help us moving forward as a team.”

Kansas freshman guard Josh Jackson
On his evaluation of his first game as a Kansas Jayhawk:
“I was a little nervous for my first time out. I talked to a couple guys in the locker room and the coaching staff to gather my head a little bit. I tried to be more aggressive (in the second half).”

On the difference between his first and second halves:
“My aggressiveness and trying not to worry about making too many mistakes. I just went out and played hard.”

On playing the four position:
“Playing the four felt pretty good. We’ve worked on it before in practice all the time. Sometimes it can be a really good thing, sometimes it can be tough for me to guard bigger guys. I felt comfortable there overall.”

Kansas junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
On the four-guard lineup:
“We tried it for the first time and we’ve been working on it in practices. We didn’t do very well at it; we didn’t move the ball very well and it was a little frustrating. We will work on it.”

On the team’s goals this year:
“Try to win as many games as we can and be as great as we can.” 

On his defensive improvement:
“I would say I’ve gotten a little bit stronger, faster and more mature. I just try to keep the ball in front of me.”

Washburn head coach Bob Chipman
Opening Statement:
Well obviously the opportunity to come here was a tremendous opportunity. These guys will remember that game the rest of their life. They’ll be getting together 40 years from now talking about, hopefully the championship they win this year, and also the KU game. Great opportunity obviously, we wanted to make the most of it by playing very hard. I thought we did that, I thought we accomplished that goal. I was really proud of these guys. We out-rebounded them, we turned them over 24 times. A lot of hard work went into that. It wasn’t a thing of beauty, we missed a bunch of free throws, but KU is so good. Wow. Frank (Mason III) is an incredible guard. He’s got to be one of the best in the country. I thought they shot it well. Bill is obviously trying to play a lot of guys and figure out some things, but I was proud of our guys and how they played so hard.”

On Randall Smith’s speed:
“He’s one of the quickest guys, I think, in Division II basketball. I thought he did a great job of going around them, really disruptive. He was the reason we were able to hang within ten there into that second half. Great stuff by Randall, I thought he really disrupted. Finally hit a couple shots, that was fun to see, but also defensively trying to guard Frank. That’s not easy, Frank is just so crafty. I thought he was good on both ends and had a great stretch to keep us in the game.”

On receiving golf clubs from Kansas head coach Bill Self:
“That was awfully nice. I saw Gary Woodland      there. Bill did mention, you don’t have to have those particular clubs, you can pick out something. So I might have to talk to Gary about which clubs maybe would fit me best. KU is so classy. Bill is just incredible. I just really can’t believe how fantastic they are in every way, such a class program. You watch, that team­ – it was the first game, both teams were pretty ragged, a lot of turnovers – but that KU team is going to be one of the, probably the most fun KU team to watch in recent history before Bill’s done with them. They’re going to be fantastic.”

“I’m just so proud of these guys. They just played so hard. It’s so easy to come in here and just stand and watch these great players fly through there. I thought we hustled for most of the game, that’s what we wanted. I’m so proud to be their coach.”

Washburn junior guard Randall Smith
On Washburn’s potent second half start:
“We just said the score was 0-0. We weren’t going to play the score at all. We wanted to come out and try to win that second half. That was all that was really on our mind. We didn’t want to let up at all because it’s easy to do that in this type of an environment with the fans going (crazy). KU got going on a couple of those runs, but honestly I was pretty proud of the way we handled those runs.”

On the biggest takeaway from the game:
“The atmosphere. I think playing here and a couple more of the atmospheres we will play in the next week or so will help us in this run we plan on making in the MIAA.”

Washburn junior forward Brady Skeens
On outrebounding KU:
“We take a lot of pride in it. That was one of the main emphases we had coming into the game was trying to outplay them and outrebound them. We wanted to keep the pressure on them and not sit back and let them attack us. We wanted to bring it to them. I thought it was good.”

On playing against KU’s post players:
“It was a good challenge. It was good preparation for what we’re going to see in the MIAA. They’re obviously a little bit better. They were good; they were tough and they were strong.”

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