No. 1 Kansas Dominates No. 23 Texas, 86-56
AUSTIN, Texas – Top-ranked Kansas ventured into hostile territory, where No. 3 Oklahoma had just been beaten two days before, and dominated No. 23 Texas from start to finish on the way to an 86-56 victory inside Frank Erwin Center.
“We went up 15-0 in a building that wanted to be so juiced and our guys played lights-out,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “They were poised, prepared, played with great freedom, shared it – made some sloppy plays but shot the heck out of it and made the extra pass. We shot the 3-ball good, everybody did. Defensively, our first-shot defense was terrific.”
The win gives Kansas sole possession of its 12th-straight Big 12 regular season title.
Senior All-American candidate Perry Ellis played the part of a matador, enforcing his will against the Longhorns all night for 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Junior guard Frank Mason III ignited the KU offensive with six assists and just one turnover while pouring in 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including three 3-pointers.
Kansas (26-4, 14-3 Big 12) broke out to a 15-0 lead and held its largest halftime lead on an opponent’s court during the Coach Bill Self era, 47-23 (24 points). The Jayhawks shot 64 percent from the field and 11-for-16 from 3-point range to set a conference program-record 68.8 percent clip from beyond the arc.
On Senior Night, the 23rd-ranked Longhorns (19-11, 10-7) were led by seniors – 13 points from guard Javan Felix and 12 rebounds from center Prince Ibeh. UT’s three assists were a season low for a KU opponent this season.
Hours before the ESPN Big 12 Monday matchup, Kansas was vaulted to a No. 1 ranking in both national polls for the first time since Jan. 11. The Jayhawks played up to their ranking on both sides of the ball to start off the game, holding Texas scoreless for the first six minutes and 23 seconds while rattling off 15 straight points that included two 3-poiners from Mason.
Ellis out-matched the Texas defense with his patent quickness and range, pump-faking from the perimeter and blowing past his defender for two points on a number of possessions. By halftime, Ellis has 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting in just 13 minutes of action.
Ibeh was the first UT big man to make a field goal, doing so at the 6:11 mark of the first half.
Three consecutive 3-pointers from Kansas, two by Devonte’ Graham and one from Mason, and a pair of monstrous dunks from Jamari Traylor to start the second half led to the Jayhawks’ largest lead of the game of 33 points, 72-39, with 10:27 remaining.
SportsCenter was given an instant top-10 play of the night as Graham broke a UT full-court press into a transition alley-oop to Traylor who flushed not only the ball, but half of his arm down the cylinder for two points.
The pace of the game slowed down the stretch as Texas began to foul with Kansas in the bonus. The sell-out Erwin Center crowd of 16,540 dwindled enough to hear the “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” chant before the final buzzer.
Kansas will host Senior Day against Iowa State on Saturday, March 5, at 3 p.m. on ESPN to close out the regular season. In addition to a 39-game home winning streak, Kansas has won a mind-bogglingly 32-straight home finales.
Jr. G Frank Mason III (30/69), So. G Devonte’ Graham (29/29), Jr. G Wayne Selden Jr. (30/101), Sr. F Perry Ellis (30/101), Jr. F Landen Lucas (12/26)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 27-8, including five straight wins… Coach Bill Self improves to 17-8 versus Texas, including a 17-6 mark while at KU.
ATTENDANCE: 16,540 (Erwin Center sellout)… Kansas ends its regular season road slate having played in front a nine sellout crowds away from Allen Fieldhouse… Kansas drew an average capacity crowd of 96 percent in 15 games away from home during the regular season.
• Clinched sole possession of the Jayhawks’ 12th-consecutive Big 12 Conference regular-season title, 16th overall Big 12 crown, and an NCAA-leading 59th conference regular-season title.
• Made Kansas 26-4 overall, giving the Jayhawks 25 victories for the 11th-straight season (beginning in 2005-06).
• Made Kansas 26-4, 14-3 in Big 12 play… Kansas has reached 26 wins for the eighth time in the last nine seasons and 14 league victories for the seventh time in the last eight years.
• Extends KU’s NCAA third-best winning streak to 10 games, giving the Jayhawks a streak of 10 or more wins for the second time this season and 14th time in the Bill Self era.
• Improved Self to 378-82 while at Kansas and 585-187 overall.
• Made KU 2,179-835 all-time.
• Kansas started the game on a 15-0 run and forced Texas to miss its first 14 shots of the night.
• KU’s 24-point halftime lead was the largest on the road during Bill Self era, and the largest road halftime lead since leading 50-23 ( 27) at Kansas State on Feb. 12, 2000.
• The Jayhawks shot 32-for-50 (64 percent) from the field, marking the highest shooting percentage in Big 12 play during the Bill Self era, second only to a 31-for-47 (66 percent) effort against Texas Tech in 2013.
• Kansas shot 63.3 percent in the first half and 65.0 percent in the second half. The sharp-shooting performances are the third- and second-highest shooting percentages, respectively, in a half during Big 12 play this season. Kansas shot 65.2 percent in the second half against Kansas State (Feb. 3) in Lawrence.
• Kansas drained 11-of-16 3-point field goals for a 68.8 percent clip, the highest during the Bill Self era.
• Largest Big 12 road win:
• Highest 3-point field goal percentage in a conference game.
• Texas: fewest assists by a KU opponent this season (four).
• Kansas has not trailed in the last two games (83 minutes) against Texas Tech and No. 23 Texas. The last time KU trailed was with 3:53 remaining in regulation at Baylor (Feb. 23), during an eventual 66-60 Jayhawk victory.
Senior F Perry Ellis
• Reached 20 points for the 10th time this season and third consecutive time against Texas, finishing with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting in 28 minutes. Scored 28 and 26 points in the previous two meetings against the Longhorns.
• Now has 1,645 career points, passing Mark Randall (1987-91; 1,627) for 12th on KU’s all-time scoring list. Ellis remains the second-leading scorer during the Bill Self era behind Sherron Collins (2007-10; 1,888).
• Made nine of his first 10 shots.
Junior G Frank Mason III
• Scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting with six assists and just one turnover.
• Shot 3-for-3 beyond the 3-point line, including two treys during KU’s 15-0 run to begin the game.
Junior F Landen Lucas
• Set a career high in blocks (five).
• Grabbed eight rebounds to lead KU in rebounding for the seventh straight game. Lucas is averaging 10.0 rebounds per game during that seven-game stretch.
Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham
• Tied his career high for rebounds (seven).
Kansas head coach Bill Self
On concerns about team still being hungry: Well, this was one game, but they were alleviated early. Yesterday, I was shocked how much energy we had in the short practice. Today, we had a really good shoot around. It meant something to the guys tonight and they were on point and focused. We’re fortunate, too. They missed shots and we made shots early to get a lead and then basically took the crowd out of it. Our guys played tonight. For about 25, 28 minutes, that was about as well as I think we can play.
On Frank Mason’s contributions: Yeah, he’s great. But Perry [Ellis] was unbelievable. Frank was great. Wayne [Selden Jr.] was solid. I thought Devonte’ [Graham] had another good game and was really solid. We didn’t rebound the ball well and we obviously missed free throws. But to come down here against a really good defensive team and miss 18 shots, we just made the extra pass and were fortunate when we got open looks, that we made them in the first half. When they got open looks in the first half, we were fortunate they didn’t knock them down.
On watching the team click: To me, the 15-0 [run] or the 18-6, we got off to a good start, but big deal. But it was good. Every coach will tell you, “you get off to a good start, try to get the crowd out of it”, but that doesn’t happen very often. This is one of the few times it actually happened and in large part, because our first shot defense was really good. And the open looks they got, we were fortunate they didn’t make them. If we play them again, it’d be a coin flip game. But tonight, we were about as good as we’ve been all year.
On the team’s ball movement: I thought it was great. I thought the ball stuck some of the first half, because they switched a lot on ball screens, so guys were kind of sizing their man up and playing “take ’em” there. So it probably didn’t move like it can move. But as far as making the extra pass, playing out of ball screen traps, all those things, we did a really nice job with that.
Senior F Perry Ellis
On the win: We just wanted to come out and play aggressively and show the great team that we are. We came out and defended well and their shots weren’t falling early in the half.
On their confidence after big lead: It was high. Everyone was getting energized and pumped up. Everyone was getting into it and that really helps on the court.
Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham
On holding onto a large lead: At halftime, Coach [Self] talked about that the whole time, how we give up leads after the half and we needed to come out and play defense. They had a bunch of offensive rebounds, but we still made them take tough shots. We contested every shot and played our butts off on defense.
On winning the Big 12 title outright: That was motivation. After last game, we were celebrating and we didn’t want to come out flat and think the league was over. We wanted to come out and win it outright.
On guarding Texas G Isaiah Taylor: I tried to make him uncomfortable. He missed some tough shots–floaters that he usually makes–he was missing. We did a good job of keeping strong help when he drove to the lane and little stuff like that.
Texas head coach Shaka Smart
On the disappointment tonight: It was very disappointing. Kansas was terrific. They really played well. Their guys shot the ball well and attacked. They were aggressive. I thought that they were really free and loose and aggressive, part of that was that our defensive energy and fight was nowhere near where it needed to be.
On the perimeter defensive performance: I always want to give the other team credit. Kansas, they really attacked and played well. The way that we won the Oklahoma game in the last five minutes, when we went on a 22-0 run, that’s how we have to be against a high-level basketball team, and to be able to compete with a team like Kansas, who is No. 1 in the country and has won the Big 12 for all these years in a row. We were not that team and maybe there are a few reasons for that. It is disappointing, but we just have to find a way to learn from it and keep it from happening again.
On the ability to handle a win: I think from our end, that was one of our biggest issues tonight. We did not handle Saturday well. I was concerned about it and I addressed it with the team yesterday. Obviously, I didn’t do a very good job, but that was a really big win on Saturday. It was an emotional game. It was a great run at the end of the game. We didn’t handle the aftermath of that that way that we needed to and that went in to us being less than our best coming into the game. If you are less than your best and you are playing against the No. 1 team in the country, you are in trouble.
On the motivation drawn from tonight: It is interesting. Some people are motivated by success and some people are motivated by failure. There are special players, teams, people who are able to find motivation in anything. There is no question that we should be highly motivated, but try to be motivated and bummed out at the same time. You have to get past that and realize that no one is going to feel sorry for you as a team, as a player, or as a coach. You have to focus on what the things are that you can do better. Our team tonight bore no resemblance to the way we have been when we played at a high level. I am not just talking about defense, I am talking about everything, all around. It starts with me. We have to figure out how to be who we want to be more consistently. Pretty soon here if you are not that, you get sent home.
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