No. 3 Kansas rejects Nebraska, 89-72, in Shelter Insurance Showcase
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Third-ranked Kansas basketball blocked 12 shots en route to an 89-72 victory over former conference foe Nebraska on Saturday afternoon inside Allen Fieldhouse in the Shelter Insurance Showcase. It marked KU’s ninth-straight win and 750th win inside its historic venue – 212 of which have been under the direction of head coach Bill Self.
Senior national player of the year candidate Frank Mason III led the Jayhawks in scoring with 18 points while dishing out a game-high seven assists with no turnover for the second-straight game. Five Jayhawks joined Mason with double-figure points, including freshman guard Josh Jackson (17 points), junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (15), junior guard Devonte’ Graham (14), and senior center Landen Lucas (12).
Landen Lucas scored a season-high 12 points.
Kansas (9-1) kept shooting the ball with a hot hand, finishing the day with a 59.6 percent clip from the field. The Jayhawks end a five-game homestand in Allen Fieldhouse with a 57.4 shooting percentage.
KU held Nebraska (5-5) to 39.1 percent shooting behind a season-high 12 blocks, including five from Jackson and four from freshman 7-footer Udoka Azubuike. The Huskers were led by a 22-point effort from guard Tai Webster.
Nebraska scored the first bucket of the game and was able to maintain a lead for the first five minutes of regulation before Mason drained a 3-pointer at the 15-minute mark of the first half. The momentum-swinging shot gave Kansas a 12-10 lead that would not be surrendered for the remainder of the day. On the go-ahead play, Jackson rebounded his own missed jumper and kicked it out to Mason on the wing for a wide-open trey.
Mason went on to weave the ball through the Nebraska defense to empower his teammates’ scoring – connecting with Lucas for an alley-oop flush and feeding freshman Mitch Lightfoot on a pick-and-roll and-1 layup as the Jayhawks worked to a 23-15 lead.
Mykhailiuk looked as comfortable as ever on James Naismith Court as he displayed his wide range of skills from blocking a fast-break Husker layup, draining 3-pointers, and creating his own offense on a steal and coast-to-coast finish for a layup which put Kansas up 41-26.
Mykhailiuk scored 13 first-half points as Kansas went into halftime with a 54-34 lead and its third-straight half with at least 50 points. Graham ended the half with a 3-point buzzer-beater to give Kansas its 20-point scoring margin at the break.
Although the Jayhawks’ double-digit halftime lead was never in danger, the Huskers outscored KU in the second half, 38-35.
Nebraska cut KU’s lead to 14 points before Jackson helped assure that it would be the closest the Huskers would get.
Jackson made back-to-back buckets to give Kansas a 72-54 lead, and down the stretch he finished a pair of alley-oops from teammates Lucas and Graham, respectively. Graham’s lob to Jackson was the last points of the game, giving KU an 89-72 lead with 1:22 remaining.
After the University of Kansas conducts final exams during the week of Dec. 12, the Jayhawks will conclude a six-game homestand against Davidson in the Jayhawk Shootout at Sprint Center on Saturday, Dec. 17 (6 p.m., ESPN2).
KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS):
Sr. G Frank Mason III (10/87)
So. G Lagerald Vick (5/5)
Jr. G Devonte’ Graham (10/46)
Fr. G Josh Jackson (10/10)
Fr. C Udoka Azubuike (5/5)
• Kansas now leads the all-time series against Nebraska, 171-71, winning the last 13 meetings.
ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (249th-consecutive sellout)
• Moves the Jayhawks to 9-1 or better for the third straight season and 8th time in the Bill Self era.
• Extends the nation’s longest home court winning streak to 48 games.
• Makes KU 750-109 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse.
• Improves Bill Self’s record to 394-84 (.824) while at Kansas and 601-189 (.761) all-time.
• Gives KU a 212-9 (.959) home record under Bill Self.
• Moves KU’s all-time record to 2,195-837.
• Kansas knocked down 15-of-27 (55.5 percent) shots from beyond the 3-point line, marking the fourth-straight game Kansas shot 50 percent or better from beyond the arc.
• Kansas’ bench contributed 30 points, the highest output by the Jayhawk bench this season.
• The Jayhawks beat Nebraska by 17 points, 89-72, marking the sixth-straight double-digit victory.
• Kansas shot 59.6 percent for the game marking the eighth time this season the Jayhawks have shot better than 50 percent, Kansas is 8-0 in those contests.
• Kansas also held Nebraska to 42.9 percent shooting, continuing Kansas’ run of holding every opponent this season under 50 percent field goal percentage.
• Kansas shot 64.7 percent (22-of-34) in the first half. This is the fourth-highest field goal percentage in a half for Kansas this season.
• After scoring 54 points in the second half against UMKC, most by KU this season, the Jayhawks matched that in the first half against Nebraska.
• Kansas’ 57 field goal attempts in the game tied for the fewest by the Jayhawks this season (Long Beach State, 11/29/16).
• Kansas’ 12 blocks against the Cornhuskers marked the most by the Jayhawks since rejecting 13 shots against San Diego State (1/5/14)
SENIOR G FRANK MASON III
• Finished the night with 18 points, making it nine out of 10 games this season with at least 18 points.
• This was the eighth time Mason has led the team scoring in 10 games.
• Mason recorded seven assists and no turnovers, marking his second-straight game without a turnover.
• In the last six games Mason has notched 32 assists to only four turnovers, recording an 8:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
• Mason gained sole possession of 12th on the all-time career assist list, passing Mark Turgeon with 444.
• Mason’s two three-point field goals moves him tied with Steve Woodberry for 17th on Kansas career records with 126.
• Mason started his 84th consecutive game, tying with Jo Jo White for eighth on the Kansas all-time list.
JUNIOR G DEVONTE’ GRAHAM
• Shot 50 percent (2-of-4) from three, his fifth-straight game shooting 50% or better from the 3-point arc.
• Posted 14 points to mark his ninth time scoring in double-figures this season, he’s failed to reach double digit figures in only one game this year.
FRESHMAN G JOSH JACKSON
• Recorded a season-high five rejections, tied for most by a Jayhawk this year with Landen Lucas, who blocked five shots against Siena on 11/18/16.
• Registered 17 points to score in double-digits in ninth-straight game.
JUNIOR G SVIATOSLAV MYKHAILIUK
• Tied his season-high scoring output with 15 points, his fourth-straight double-digit game and sixth total this year.
SENIOR C LANDEN LUCAS
• Scored a season-high 12 points, his second double-digit game of the year.
• His seven rebounds tied his season-high, recorded against Indiana on 11/11/16.
FRESHMAN C UDOKA AZUKUIKE
• Recorded a season-high four blocks.
On the overall play of his team:
“Well we played good the first half, I thought we played great the first half, we just couldn’t guard their guards. I just couldn’t get over how their guards just got where they wanted to. [Tai Webster] got anywhere he wanted. And our big guys couldn’t block or alter, and whoever was guarding him obviously didn’t do a good job guarding him. But we played good the first half – the second half we just jacked around. I mean, I think we missed – I could be wrong – I think we missed nine free throws in a row in the second half. Nine free throws in a row, it was the second half I think, I could be off. If we weren’t, we were like 2-11 or something like that. Then it just kills momentum. And then we just jacked around, we didn’t guard anybody in the second half. We didn’t rebound and everything. But it was a good win, I’m not going to apologize for that, I just wish we had played better in the second half.”
On the play of Landen Lucas:
“He [Lucas] did (play well). I thought he played great. You know Landen, Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot combined to go 9-of-10 from the field. If you told me they would go 9-of-10, I’d say we’re definitely going to play well, and that was the case. Those two guys combined for 32 minutes and they got 13 rebounds so that was really positive, I thought that was really good. I thought Devonte’ Graham was really engaged in the first half, but not the second. I thought Frank Mason III was engaged in the first half, but not the second. I thought Lagerald Vick was never engaged. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was engaged the first half, but not the second. We just kind of went through the motions in the second half. But we played really well in the first half, and I thought Josh Jackson’s activity was pretty good the entire night.”
On Kansas’ free-throw shooting:
“There’s no excuse for our team missing free throws, because we have a gymnasium where we live with three goals on it just for guys to shoot free throws, so we’re going to have to do more. I told the guys the other day, ‘didn’t I say 100 misses for every shot?’ So Josh Jackson is going to be out there for a while, and Udoka Azubuike, so that’s what we need to do. It’s going to cost us. It hasn’t yet. We were lucky against Duke, obviously, going 9-of-19, but it’s going to cost us if we can’t start making some shots.”
On KU’s next matchup with Davidson:
He’s [Bob McKillop] a great coach. The last time we played them in Kansas City, they beat us, if I’m not mistaken. I know they beat us over there so we’ve got to play better than we did today, or at least the second half. That’ll be a tough game, and I think one, that our guys will look forward to it. We need to finish the semester off on the right foot because once we get to Christmas, there are no guaranteed games before we start hooking up and playing for real. We’ve got to make some improvements before we do that.”
Freshman G Josh Jackson
On agreeing with Nebraska’s coach saying that KU will need Lucas this season:
“Absolutely. The games we played before, it seemed like Landen Lucas was always in foul trouble and it was hard for him to get started and to get in the groove of things. But tonight it was really good to have him out there.
On his alley-oop from Devonte’ Graham:
“I was expecting it. He throws it to Carlton Bragg Jr. and Udoka Azubuike all the time in practice and since I was a four out there I just so happened to be the one to get it.
On his missed alley-oop from Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk:
“The original plan was for him to just throw me the ball, I didn’t know it was going off the backboard.”
Junior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
On how much pride he has in his all-around game:
“I just try to be aggressive all the time. I did it more this game. I drove the ball more and I shot two-point shots more. I just try and get to the lane.”
On if his two-point shots were a conscious effort to increase:
“People just know me for shooting those three-point shots, but I don’t think they expect me to drive the ball all the much so now I’m working on driving more.”
On how much he has grown on the defensive end:
“I think I’ve gotten better, but sometimes I’m still not in the right position. I need to get better and make sure I’m in the right position.”
On his alley-oop pass to Josh Jackson:
“I should have just thrown it to him. It should have just been a regular pass.”
On how motivated he is to show people that he is more than just a 3-point shooter:
“It doesn’t matter for me. I just try to help my team win and do whatever. Whether it’s drive the ball, shoot the ball, or play defense. I need to rebound the ball more because I’m not really a rebounder now. I just need to be more aggressive on the boards.”
On KU’s offense playing four guards more consistently now:
“I think we’ve gotten better. It has given us better defense because we are faster and we can switch four guards and we can trap the bigs. I think it’s a great combination.”
Kansas senior center Landen Lucas
On his health going into game:
“Mentally I was feeling good about everything. My body felt good. Going into the game I felt better than most of the other games. “
On getting back to his last year’s abilities:
“Personally I felt like at some point I could, and when it was getting prolonged by different things, that was frustrating. So it was a positive for me to be like, ‘Okay it might be coming a lot sooner,’ but it definitely helped my confidence.”
On the steps it has taken to get where he wants to be:
“It’s been small steps, but really last game I really came in and felt pretty good. And practices have been going well. That’s where you really get more comfortable, is in practice.”
On filling the void at the big man position:
“It’s a team effort. We all have to do it, it’s not one individual. So everyone has to step their game up, including me. So I felt like I had to get out of whatever I was in early on in the season. It seems like it’s going in the right direction.”
On the game being “all-business”:
“Coach got us focused yesterday in practice because he knew our minds might wander and focus on outside distractions, and we knew we couldn’t do that against a good team like Nebraska.”
On not wearing a walking boot to the game:
“I kind of made that executive decision on my own, so we will see how that goes over, but I was feeling good and mentally. I didn’t want to keep walking around in a boot and then switch to court shoes, so today I didn’t do it. Maybe it’s just time to throw that thing away.”
On staying focused:
“We did a good job in the first half, I think in the second half we have to get better and really put a foot on the throat. That’s something the team needs to develop this season, but we will get better at that. We came out to start the game pretty focused.”
Nebraska head coach Tim Miles
“Coach (Bill) Self has a great team. That’s a fast team, that’s a skilled team, powerful team. They can get you in a lot of ways. I was really proud of our guys in the second half. I thought we showed some toughness, some resiliency. To claw back in and at least make it uneasy for them, I thought we played our style. We did the things we had to do to be a successful team the second half.”
On KU having big runs:
“You mean like the entire first half? Yeah. There’s no doubt we didn’t take much away from them for a long time. I thought the last 10 possessions, except for the last possession, were pretty good for us, until we gave up Devonte’ Graham’s 3-pointer right at the buzzer. That was a play that we were supposed to smoother and make him bounce it. We just gave him a little bit of space. Their ability in transition to hurt you and then they’ve got athleticism because they can spread you out. Then, of course, he’s got his patented high-low. That’s probably not where he wants it I’m guessing; he’ll probably tell you the same. So I thought once we could get things under control and transition under control, we were going to be okay.”
On KU shooting almost 60 percent from the field:
“They shot 59.6 percent, with their effective field goal percentage, it was way better than that. I think they’re as good a team as we’ve seen – we’ve seen some pretty good teams – but they’re clearly a cut above anybody we’ve seen. Their guards are really terrific, they’re athletic on the wings. When you add that athleticism in transition – I don’t know the kid’s name, but number 10 – he was really the backbreaker, I thought, in the first half. He just made every open look. I kept thinking, that one’s not going in, it looks short and it just bottoms out in the back of the net. You have to commend them, he’s really a guy that breaks your heart. You think you’ve got everyone else covered then that guy hurts you.”
On playing KU at Colorado State:
“Didn’t they have the Morris twins? They just brutalized us inside with the high-low. I didn’t think their perimeter game was that good, they just had a few guys that could throw in some 3’s. I don’t mean that derogatory, but these guys, they’ve got elite athleticism on the wing with (Josh) Jackson, who can play a couple positions. You’ve got those three guards together, they’re an unbelievable collection of guards. Then you’ve got enough inside. We didn’t see one of their guys inside, but they’ve got enough inside to hurt you. That team – it’s just hard to get them under control.”
On teams in the Big Ten with similar playing styles:
“Indiana I would say, is the one team. They’ve already played. Indiana jumps out at me. With the old team, we were talking about from CSU, with the Morris twins, it’s like Purdue. Purdue has got just enough outside, they’re making 3’s and they’re phenomenal with their size and their physicality inside.”
On gearing up for Big Ten play:
“I’m excited to go against Gardner-Webb and Southern, then conference play.”
On this experience:
“I remember writing down on the board, ‘I believe.’ I believe in these guys. Nobody could hear me or anything, that’s a pretty cool opening. I liked the jab at Nebraska, the little cowboy movie thing, it was funny for Kansas folks. I’ve got to defend us, right? I thought it was a great environment, it was good experience for our guys, that’s why I wanted them here.”
On his second-half lineup:
“We were going to play our toughest guys. I’ve got two of them here with me, three of them in the locker room and that’s it. We can play some odd lineups, I don’t care. We just don’t have enough weaponry right now with our outside shooting. When Glynn gets a little more comfortable – you watch Glynn (Watson Jr.) against Dayton and UCLA, he looks like an all-conference player, then the last two games he struggled, letting those bigger-stronger guys get to him. He’s learning a lot, as he’s more consistent, we’re going to be better and better. I just thought tonight the only way we’re even going to make this a ball game is to make it a fist fight. We went in there – they blocked 11 of them, we missed about 11 of them. At least we were at the rim in the paint. We weren’t going to back down. I was proud of our guys for that.”
On Landen Lucas:
“First of all, these guys are fast on tape, which is always scary because everyone always looks awful on tape. When we show these guys tape, everyone feels bad because it feels so different in person. So, we knew they were going to be athletic and fast. I thought he did a lot of good things just finding his way. They need him, there’s no doubt, they need him. I think he’s got a chance. One of our guys just said hey coach, I just going to foul him, which is what he did the whole night. I think that Landen can be a go-to guy for him.”
Senior Guard Tai Webster
On the first half:
“It was rough. (This is) A tough environment to come into. The crowd is nothing like we’ve seen before. They’re good at what they do. They pressure you full court every time you take it out. They’re relentless.”
On gearing up for Big Ten Conference play:
“Definitely, we’ve got a lot of experience out of these couple of tough games. I think it’s a huge learning curve for the young guys especially. We’re a young team and we play a lot of young guys. I’m out there with four sophomores to start the game and they’re playing like they’re seniors. They’ve come a long way from the summer. I think it’s good that we had such a tough schedule and I think we’ll be looking good going into conference play.”
On how the atmosphere of Allen Fieldhouse will help prepare them for other road games:
“Obviously, the atmosphere is phenomenal here and it’s one of the best, if not the best, I’ve ever played in, obviously aside from PBA (Pinnacle Bank Arena). I think it’s great for our guys. We blast the music in practice to try to prepare ourselves for the noise. It almost plays into their team and helps them with all the noise. Obviously, it’s a home advantage. The noise is just crazy for us because it makes us communicate on a level that we’re not really used to communicating on. I think it’s going to be great for us if we go on the road and go play at places like Ohio State and Indiana. To have already played in a spot like this, it will almost feel like we’re getting used to it.”
Sophomore Forward Ed Morrow
On the first half:
“I feel like they came out with a pretty good attitude, but we just locked in on it and we started figuring some stuff out and some better ways to guard them. We just started doing better things offensively and we just started to get in the flow and play our game.”
On gearing up for Big Ten play:
“I’m excited going into conference play because with the teams that we’ve been competing with thus far, going into conference play we can just build off of that. It just makes our team that much better as we play.”
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