No. 1 Kansas Downs No. 21 Iowa State on Senior Day, 85-78
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A 17-7 run over the final five minutes proved to be the difference as the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks topped the No. 21 Iowa State Cyclones, 85-78, in the regular-season finale Saturday inside Allen Fieldhouse. Senior Perry Ellis led Kansas with 22 points and added seven rebounds in his final outing inside Allen Fieldhouse.
The win moved Kansas’ record to 27-4 to close out the regular season and boosted its Big 12 record to 15-3. Iowa State’s loss dropped the Cyclones to 22-10 in 2015-16 and 10-8 in the league.
In a game that featured nine ties and 14 lead changes, it took 36 minutes before the Jayhawks could finally shake a pesky Iowa State squad that entered Saturday with four wins in its last five outings against Kansas.
The Jayhawks trailed ISU by three, 71-68, with just over five minutes to play after ISU senior Georges Niang connected on a pair of free throws for his 21st and 22nd points of the day. Unfortunately for the visitors, their leading scorer and preseason All-American would be held scoreless for the remainder of the game.
The next three-minute stretch was all Kansas. Four different players scored KU’s next four baskets with Ellis’ lay-up at the 1:38 mark giving the Jayhawks a 76-71 lead. The dagger came from Devonte’ Graham with 47 seconds remaining when Frank Mason found Graham open in the corner for his fourth three-pointer of the game.
The last KU field goal came from none other than Ellis, who hammered home his final dunk on James Naismith Court with 27 seconds to play. Junior Brannen Greene shot in four free throws to put the final touches on the Jayhawks’ 11th-straight victory and 41st-consecutive win inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Selden and Graham both added 16 points behind Ellis’ 22. For just the second time this season, Mason was held to single-figures in scoring with nine points but posted five assists and no turnovers. Traylor added eight points and three blocks in his final home outing.
Niang tied Ellis for the game’s top scoring honors with 22 points while fellow Cyclone big man Jameel McKay poured in 19 on 7-of-9 shooting and led all players with nine rebounds. Monte Morris also reached double figures for ISU with 13 points.
With Kansas’ four seniors, Jamari Traylor, Evan Manning, Hunter Mickelson and Ellis, in the starting lineup the senior-day game atmosphere was ripe with anticipation, as KU looked to claim its 33rd-consecutive home finale, however Iowa State made sure a KU victory would be anything but certain.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair. Ellis got out to a fast start, scoring eight of the Jayhawks’ first 17 points. The Wichita product also drew two quick fouls against Niang after the Cyclone senior tallied 12 points up to that point, but would be sidelined for the final nine minutes of the opening frame.
It appeared the Jayhawks would put some space between them and the Cyclones after Kansas – highlighted by a pair of Wayne Selden buckets – got out a five-point lead with just over five minutes to play in the first half. However, both teams combined to shoot 5-of-20 over the final five minutes of the half and, after Morris connected on his first three of the game at the halftime buzzer, the Jayhawks headed to the locker room with just a one-point edge at 37-36.
It was more of the same in the second half with KU unable to shake Iowa State, despite connecting on it eight of its first 12 field goal attempts. A three pointer by Selden gave KU a five-point advantage, 51-46, less than five minutes into the half, a lead the Jayhawks got up to seven two minutes later with a Graham jumper. However, Iowa State forward Deonte Burton capped a 13-2 Iowa State run five minutes later to grab the Cyclones its largest lead of the game at 63-59 with 8:48 remaining.
Both teams then traded baskets over the next three minutes until Kansas sprinted to the finish over the last five minutes. A Selden layup and a tip-in from junior forward Landen Lucas got KU a lead back with 3:13 left, a lead it would not relinquish.
Graham was then found wide open under the basket after the Jayhawks came away with a loose ball, a play that prompted ISU head man Steve Prohm to call a timeout. The stoppage didn’t faze Kansas, who added another Lucas lay-up before Graham’s corner three put the win on ice.
KU ended the game with a 47.9 percent (34-of-71) clip from the field, but shot a scorching 58.1 percent (18-of-31) in the second half. The Jayhawks also connected on eight of its 20 tries from three-point range (40 percent).
The Jayhawks will now head to Kansas City, Missouri for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Kansas will be the No. 1 seed and will play its first quarterfinal game on March 10 at 1:30 p.m., against the winner of the No.-8 seed Kansas State vs. No. 9-seed Oklahoma State game to be played on March. 9.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): Jr. G Frank Mason, III (31/70), Sr. G Evan Manning (1/1), Sr. F Perry Ellis (30/101), Sr. F Jamari Traylor (8/27), Sr. F Hunter Mickelson (11/36)
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 178-63 // 92-15 in Allen Fieldhouse
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (243rd-consecutive sellout)
- Made Kansas 27-4 overall and 15-3 in Big 12 play.
- Extended KU’s winning streak to 11 games.
- Enhanced Kansas’ Big 12 Conference win streak to 10 in a row, a feat not accomplished by the Jayhawks since 2009-10 when the team won 13 in a row in conference play.
- Prolonged KU’s home finale win streak to 33 games – a streak that began in 1984.
- Secured Kansas’ 26th win for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.
- Gave the Jayhawks their 11th-straight win over Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse.
- Extended the nation’s longest active home court winning streak to 42 games, including 40-straight in Allen Fieldhouse.
- Gave KU an undefeated record in Allen Fieldhouse for the second-straight season, and 19th overall at 16-0.
- Continued a streak since 2001 of no team Kansas has played more than once in a conference season sweeping the Jayhawks.
- Made KU’s all-time record 744-109 in Allen Fieldhouse and 206-9 under Bill Self.
- Gave Bill Self an overall record of 586-187, including a 379-82 mark at Kansas.
- Improved KU’s overall record to 2,180-835.
- Kansas only turned the ball over five times, a season low, besting the previous mark of six set against Michigan State on Nov. 17, 2015.
- It was the fewest lost possessions Kansas has posted since only being turned over three times at Texas on Jan. 24, 2015.
- KU’s first turnover came with 6:18 to play in the first half. Overall in the first 20 minutes, Kansas lost possessions only twice, tying a season-low set five other times in the 2015-16 season.
- Kansas made just 4-of-12 three’s in the first half of play. In the second half, the Jayhawks connected on 50 percent of their three’s, shooting a 4-of-8 clip from beyond the arc and finishing with eight makes on 20 tries (40 percent).
- Kansas trailed 71-70 with five minutes to play in the second half, the eighth time the Jayhawks have been at a deficit with less than five minutes to play on the clock. KU is now 4-4 in those such games.
- Iowa State reclaimed the lead with 9:10 to play in the second half, 60-58, the byproduct of an 8-0 run over two minutes midway through the second portion.
- A tip-in by junior F Landen Lucas gave Kansas its final advantage of the contest at the 3:13 mark. Kansas then went on to hold Iowa State to two of its last 10 shots, while the Jayhawks made five of their last five field goals.
- The Jayhawk bench contributed 46 points, in large part to missing four normal starters due to Senior Day, but held ISU’s bench scoreless until midway through the second half. The final margin on bench production was 46-11.
- The usual starters in the backcourt, Mason, Selden and Graham posted a 12-to-2 assist-to-turnover ratio
- For the 18th time this season, Kansas hit eight or more shots from beyond the arc. In 2014-15, KU made eight or more treys 12 times. Throughout the 12-consecutive Big 12 titles Kansas has only made eight or more three-point buckets in conference action one time – this season – in which the team has eclipsed eight three’s, 11 different times.
- 2015-16 – 11
- 2014-15 – Six
- 2013-14 – Five
- 2012-13 – Five
- 2011-12 – Four
- 2010-11 – Eight
- 2009-10 – Seven
- 2008-09 – Six
- 2007-08 – Five
- 2006-07 – Six
- 2005-06 – Four
- 2004-05 – Five
- KU’s eight three’s gives them eight or more made three-point attempts in six of the last seven contests.
- The Jayhawks haven’t allowed an opponent to make more than 50 percent of its shots since Kentucky made 32-of-62 on Jan. 30, 2016 – a span of 10 games.
- Kansas’ 46 points in the painted-area were the second-most this season, second only to the Jayhawks’ 60 points registered against Chaminade on Nov. 23, 2015.
- Ellis’ nine made field goals and Graham and Selden’s six-made shots marked the third time this season Kansas had three players connect on six or more shots in the same game.
- The Jayhawks hoisted 40 shots in the first half, just the third time this season Kansas has taken 40 or more shots in a single half of play.
Iowa State Notes:
- Cyclones’ forward Georges Niang (12 points in the first half) exited the contest midway through the first period due to foul trouble, but senior forward Jameel McKay kept ISU in the game with a near-perfect 6-for-7 effort from the field, notching 15 points.
- McKay also snatched seven rebounds in the opening 20 minutes to help ISU claim an edge on the boards 22-21 in the first period.
- A tale of two halves, McKay only scored four points in the second 20 minutes.
- Niang tied for the lead with 22 points, making 9-of-18 shots, grabbing five rebounds and dishing five assists.
- Iowa State’s 78 points were the most given up by the Jayhawks in a regulation game since the last Iowa State contest when the Cyclones scored 85.
- The Cyclones’ two steals were the fewest by an opponent in a game since Texas also swiped two on Jan. 24, 2015.
Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham
- Notched five of his 16 total points in the last two and a half minutes to seal Kansas’ victory.
Junior G Frank Mason III
- Contributed nine points on 4-of-7 field goals to go along with five assists to zero turnovers.
- Moved to46th on KU’s all-time scoring list with 1,059-career points.
- Over the last seven games has posted a 31-to-7 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Held to single digit scoring for just the third time this season (nine points).
Junior G Wayne Selden, Jr.
- Finished with 16 points, four assists, three rebounds and a block.
- Posted eight points and made 2-of-3 three’s in the first half.
- Made 3-of-4 three’s in the contest, the 14th time this season he has made a trio or more of three-point attempts.
- Jumped past Charlie Black’s 1,082-career points (1942-43, 46-47) to now sit in 42nd place on KU’s all-time scoring leaderboard with 1,094 points.
- Is currently tied in 11th-place with Kevin Pritchard (1987-90) with 154 made three’s in his career.
Senior F Perry Ellis
- Completed his final game in Allen Fieldhouse with 22 points and seven boards.
- Connected on 5-of-9 shots for 12 points in the first half and posted eight of KU’s first 17 points.
- Cleared the glass seven or more times for the 13th time this year.
- Stayed in 12th place on KU’s all-time scoring list, but now has 1,667 points trailing Kevin Pritchard (1987-90) who has 1,692 points.
- Now has 799-career rebounds, good for 13th on KU’s all-time rebound list.
Junior G Brannen Greene
- Has made 18 of his last 18 free throw attempts dating back to a Jan. 2, 2016 contest against Baylor.
Senior G Evan Manning
- Started his first-career game and logged six minutes without recording any statistics.
- His six minutes tied a career high.
Senior F Hunter Mickelson
- Started his 11th game of the year and snatched one rebound, while blocking a shot.
Senior F Jamari Traylor
- Started his eighth game of the season and scored eight points, making 4-of-6 shots, while swiping three steals, snatching two rebounds and blocking one shot.
- Added one block to his 14th-place all-time 118-career blocked shots at Kansas.
Kansas head coach Bill Self
“Obviously Iowa State came ready to play. They were loose and efficient offensively. We couldn’t stop (Georges) Niang or (Jameel) McKay early and kind of got a break when Niang picked up his second foul. Even with him on the bench, they still played us even through the first half. I think they were 10 of their first 13 field goals. We didn’t guard them. We came out and it was a horse contest and they’re not the team you want to do that with. The last four minutes, we closed great. We played so well down the stretch.”
On Perry Ellis diving on the floor for a loose ball with less than three minutes to play:
“It’s the biggest play of the game. I get on Perry quite a bit for not getting on the floor as much as what I think he should, but he did there at that point. That was the biggest possession of the game. It was huge for us. They got seven offensive rebounds in the first half. In the second half, they just had one even though they shot a decent percentage. We didn’t guard very well. I thought we played tired. I thought Frank looked tired. The make-shift lineups probably don’t help with that. It’s good to get through league play, what a grind. To win outright by two games is special. And to have the seniors go out in the way that they did. Everybody (seniors) got a chance to play until about the fourteen minute mark in the first half. They did well. When we subbed we were up one. I thought they did very well. To see them go out with a big win and be undefeated at home again this year, I think is pretty special and a day they won’t ever forget.”
On the senior speeches:
“All of them did good. When games are at night the speeches are usually a bit more emotional than in the day. Jamari attacked it in a different way, from the heart. He’s very emotional and certainly held it together. He said some really nice things from the heart because he knows this place has changed his life forever. This place has been good to everybody. But certainly in his case where he didn’t come from a situation at home where success was paved for him. He had to go out and earn it. Certainly with the love and support of his family it’s become a reality. I don’t think there’s anything stopping that kid. Regardless of what he tries to do, I know he’ll be a 10 at whatever it is.”
On the performance of senior forward Perry Ellis:
“I asked them after the game if they were tired and they said yes in a different way, we’re stressed. I think he played well offensively but I don’t think he guarded very well, especially early. But, there at the end he really locked it in and guarded and made some great plays. We take him for granted because he’s so consistent, but what a career he’s had. We’ve had some unbelievable regular seasons but we haven’t closed them all. There’s still something to say about his legacy and the other guys’ legacy, by us finishing strong and really performing our best from this point on.”
Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis
On his emotions before the game:
“There was a lot of thinking. I was thinking about so much. Last night I just kept thinking, one more. It was great to come out with the win.”
On his “save” play:
“I just wanted to do whatever I could to get over that hump. I had an opportunity to get the ball.”
On getting caught up in the excitement during the game:
“A little bit, but as the game started going on I started to calm down a little bit.”
On what has been the best memory of his four years here:
“I would say this year, it has gone by so fast. Just coming back and getting a lot better. I have definitely gotten better every year and I have been enjoying the process.”
On Devonte’s big shot in the corner:
“Yeah, it was definitely a big time shot. We had a lot of confidence in him and he got the wide open shot and knocked it down.”
Kansas senior forward Jamari Traylor
On if he has ever been as emotional around Coach Self like that ever before:
“No, I didn’t think I have. Maybe the time I was talking about but other that, no. I mean, I just know he’s got love for me and I have love for him, so it was just a little crazy feeling right there.”
Kansas sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham
On what Senior Day means to him as a sophomore:
“It’s big. I feel like most of pressure was on the guys who weren’t the seniors, but also it was a lot of pressure on them. There was a lot of emotion that went into the game. We want to do whatever we can so (the seniors) can go out with a ‘W.’ So we do a lot of thinking as well, we didn’t want these guys to go out with an ‘L’ at Allen Fieldhouse, that’s not the way to go out. It was a big day for us too because we felt a lot of pressure to make sure they had the most fun and memorable moments.”
On Jamari Traylor’s speech:
“I was about to tear up. It was just emotional, looking where he’s come from and what he’s been through in his life. Coach has definitely told us his story a couple of times and I am just happy for him.”
On Perry’s “Save” play:
“That was the biggest play of the game. We were up one at the time and I came down and lost the ball and they were about to have a fast break. Perry dove on the play and we got two points out of it, so it was definitely the biggest play of the game.”
On whether or not he thought Wayne Selden would see him under the basket:
“I knew he would. I was wide open so I knew he would.”
Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm
“Congratulations to Kansas on their championship and a good win today. I’m disappointed for our guys. I thought we played really well in stretches. We put ourselves in a position up here with three minutes to go, one-point game and a chance to win up here and that was our goal, that was our focus, that was our mentality all the way throughout. These guys next to me [Georges Niang and Abdel Nader] played extremely well and we just weren’t able to finish up here. Credit to them and we’ll be ready to go on Thursday.”
On Monte Morris’ condition:
“I don’t know [how he’s doing] yet. I’ll find out, hopefully it’s nothing serious. I figured the game was decided and didn’t want to risk it by putting him in further so I just got him out of there. I think it just happened on a three-point shot.”
On Kansas’ defense:
“I watched the tape to find what they do exactly and I thought we got the ball where we wanted it to get. We had a really good rhythm offensively for a really long time. We scored, we were getting the ball inside and we were playing through the post. I thought it was a big play when Georges [Niang] was coming down the middle and I think it was a two possession game where that probably could have gone either way and it was a no call. That was a big play for us. I thought we got the ball where we wanted to we just didn’t finish some possessions, to be honest, and they came down. Really at the end of the day, their offense off the glass really hurt us with 16 offensive rebounds. They got to shoot 14 more times than we did because of that.”
On having Georges Niang on the bench towards the end of the first half:
“They were playing zone and I thought about [putting him back in] but as long as the game was within reach then I wasn’t going to risk it. He was a great cheerleader over there. Jameel [McKay] played his tail off and we were able to go into the half down one and we took the lead in the second half and put ourselves in position. We had time to score with three minutes to go left in the game, we’re up one and we just weren’t able to finish the game. Second-chance points were big with them and down the stretch they made a big three and then we didn’t finish.”
On the depth of the Kansas team against the depth of Iowa State:
“I don’t think we’ve had any issue. We’ve played very well and it’s hard to win here. They’ve only lost nine times in his [Bill Self’s] career here. So I had to take my chances. I thought our kids were resilient and put ourselves in a good position to win the game. Credit to them [Kansas] because they made a lot of big plays down the stretch.”
On entering the Big 12 Championship after today’s game:
“I think we’re playing well. Jameel [McKay] is back with good spirit and a good heart. With 19 and 9 he was terrific. His energy was great. George was great. Hallice [Cooke] is getting us some good minutes off the bench and I think these guys are in a good place. Obviously we lost and everyone hates losing but I think we’re in a good place.”
On Deonte Burton:
“He’s okay. He took a good shot and went in there and made two big free throws and got the lead. I think he executed on the offensive end. We did a good job in a lot of stretches tonight. It’s just closing on the road, especially in this environment, can be tough.”
On Kansas guarding Monte Morris:
“They put a little more pressure here and tried to keep it out of his hands more here. I thought Monte did a good job for the most part. He could have been more aggressive at times but I think we were really trying to get the ball inside and attack inside out and we did that. When Monte had opportunities he took them, whether that was in transition or off of hot balls or a screen. You have to get the ball moving and screens going just because they are so well coached.”
On Jameel McKay:
“I thought we got ball reversal. When we don’t get ball reversal we start dribbling it and you can almost hold your breath because you know something bad is going to happen. When we get the ball in reverse we drive it and that’s why Jameel was able to get some drop offs, some rotation, rebounds and some second-chance points. If we can get ball reversal and space of the floor, we’re a tough team to defend.”
Iowa State senior forward Georges Niang
On his feelings:
“Obviously I’m disappointed. Anytime you get to finish your last Big 12 regular season, it’s disappointing to end it on a loss. Winning in (Allen Fieldhouse) is something I wanted to do, so (losing) is real disappointing, but that’s not going to take away from what this team could do in the future. We have a one-game season for the rest of the year and that’s how we’ve got to take it, work on it and build from there.”
On how Kansas gained separation in the last 2-3 minutes:
“We missed some shots and they came down and made some – transition mainly. They did a good job of scoring off of our turnovers or bad misses. I had a couple of tough shots that I took, they came down and scored on, so that’s on me. We will look back on it and work on it to make it better in the future.”
On Iowa State having a tough time scoring in the last few minutes:
“Kansas is really good at defense. Obviously if you’re going to something down the stretch and it’s working, somebody’s got to make an adjustment. I thought we made adjustments and ran other plays, but I think the thing is we missed shots we could’ve made, I missed a couple. That’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes, but we’re going to regroup, get back and go down to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament.”
On what Coach Prohm said at the timeout when Iowa State was down seven:
“It was along the lines of there’s a lot of time left in this game, we’ve just got to put together some stops, rebound, guard them in the halfcourt and we can get anything we want on the offensive end. It was more towards me telling them I need to stop taking quick shots early in the shot clock and get the ball moving.”
On playing in Allen Fieldhouse:
“(I’ll remember) that annoying song (Rock Chalk Chant) they sing at the end. That’s one thing for sure I’ll remember. But really just the competitive rivalry, before I got here people said there wasn’t really one. In my four years I think it’s definitely turned into one. I’ll remember that for sure.”
On playing Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament:
“Great. To be the best you’ve got to beat the best so why not start with them.”
Iowa State senior forward Jameel McKay
On where Iowa State is at entering the Big 12 Tournament:
“I think we’re in a great place, our effort was good. Right now I think we’re playing the best stretch of basketball. Regardless of outcome I think we’re playing well. So our spirits are high. Of course we wanted to win, and we’re down about that, but we all still look forward to the future and we still have big plans.”
On his standout game (19 points & 10 rebounds):
“I wanted to win, my teammates found me and I guess my energy was better and my effort was better.”
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