KUAD: Box Score, game recap, photos, videos
KC Star Photos
12/13/14, 4:17 PM
Kansas escapes 63-60. Brannen Greene's 4 FTs down the stretch were the difference. Survive and advance baby.
12/13/14, 4:26 PM
Brannen Greene is now 13 of 13 from the free throw line this season. Kansas was 21 of 23 from the line in 63-60 victory over No. 13 Utah.
12/13/14, 4:35 PM
As tough as those @KUHoops opponents were the last 5 games it felt something like a March tourney run. #RPIHigh
In the end, the Jayhawks made a series of key plays -- a Perry Ellis bucket here, a steal there -- to salvage the win. But the difference between the halves was the real takeaway. In the first, Kansas was everything its deep crop of talent hints at: fluid and versatile offense, ferocious man-to-man defense. In the second, all of the struggles were back on display.
The best news is that Kansas has a long time before it reaches the line -- the point at which it can no longer expect to transform. It's nowhere close to that line yet. Even as the Jayhawks keep winning, there remains a huge gap between what they are and what they might become. Their project over the next month is to erase that gap.
“A lot of resilience. It was cool watching our guys come back,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “But if we have the ability to come back like that, we should have the better ability than to not dig ourselves such a hole. I don’t know if there was a little bit of a let-down maybe from BYU and some of the excitement and energy in that.”
Krystkowiak, however, didn’t want to make any excuses.
“I’m pretty proud of the performance, but we’ve got a chance to do some big things I think,” he said before noting that he really felt the Utes could leave Kansas City with a victory. “Oh yeah, I really felt like we could — you know, similar teams. We kind of got punched in the mouth in the beginning.”
…“It was terrific, the group that came back. It was a proud afternoon to be a Ute for the most part,” Krystkowiak said. “No morale victories but certainly we showed some glimpses.”
There was plenty of interest from the NBA. Scouts from the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz were credentialed for the game.
“I thought it would be one of the better games in the country today,” said Walt Perrin, Jazz vice president of player personnel. “There’s quite a few of them, but I happen to also be in this Midwest area so it fit in my plans.”
One of Utah's biggest strengths in the last two games disappeared against Kansas: bench scoring. Utah's bench only got 11 points, and the only bench player who scored any field goals was Dakarai Tucker, who had a pair of 3-pointers. For the evening, Utah's bench was 2 for 16 shooting. Dallin Bachynski did make a few free throws during the comeback, and Brekkott Chapman had some nice plays including a critical offensive rebound late. But definitely not a good offensive night for a unit that outscored the opposing bench in each of the last two big games. And somebody had the impression that Utah's freshmen had been so poised lately — who was that again?
By comparison, Kansas had 25 points from its four players coming off the bench. Jamari Traylor's 13 points, mostly in the post, were absolutely key for the Jayhawks. He was the second leading scorer behind Perry Ellis
Salt Lake Tribune
“Our team is different than any team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” says Bill Self, in his 12th season coaching at KU. “We don’t throw it to the post and score.”
That’s always been the Jayhawks’ safety blanket. As much as the program’s ridiculous 10-year chokehold on at least a share of the Big 12 championship has been about Self’s brilliance and Allen Fieldhouse’s ferocity and a long line of talented players, one of the foundations has been the ability to throw the ball to a tall man near the basket and end up with points.
…the combination of a glaring weakness and news that freshman point guard Devonte’ Graham may miss the entire season because of a toe injury means the Jayhawks must change who they are midstride in a way that Self has rarely if ever done.
…When it was all over, they swarmed to Brannen Greene. Once the final second went off the clock and these young men had avoided — finally — blowing the biggest lead in the long and proud history of their program they smiled and screamed and hugged around Greene, who walked over to the handshake line waving the wheat with his fans.
It was a nice moment for KU, which has come a very long way in the 25 days since being blown out by Kentucky.
But in so many ways, the real work starts now.
KC Star Mellinger
“The doctors feel like he can come back,” Self said Saturday, after Kansas’ 63-60 victory over Utah. “But they also say he may not come back. So we’ll have to make a decision before the first half of the season is probably over, so we can obviously utilize a medical redshirt if we have to, but we’re not thinking like that.”
Self said the injury was similar to one suffered by former Duke guard Kyrie Irving, who underwent surgery in early December before returning for the NCAA Tournament. Graham’s injury is not expected to require surgery, Self said, but the doctors will monitor how quickly it heals.
Self said he had pondered letting forward Jamari Traylor serve as a pseudo-point guard at times — having him bring the ball up to initiate offense during transition opportunities.
Self also said junior walk-on Evan Manning — son of KU great Danny Manning — would be an option.
“I’m going to play Evan some,” Self said. “I meant to play him today, but when we were playing good, (you) don’t sub, and when we were playing bad, you can’t put him in that situation. But obviously, we’ve got to have a ball-mover back there.”
…The Jayhawks will be ranked firmly in the top 10 as they begin a six-day break for final exams. But they now face the prospect of playing an extended period of time with just one point guard in sophomore Frank Mason, who logged 36 minutes on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a situation where we have to redefine who we are,” Self said. “We’ve won some games playing the way we have, which is fine. But the next three weeks, we’ve got to do some things to really get better.”
…For Kansas, confidence and toughness is not the issue. But there are some structural problems with the way KU is winning games, specifically on offense. In Self’s view, the injury to Graham puts even more stress on a team that plays like no Kansas team he can remember.
In nine games, the Jayhawks are shooting just 43.1 percent inside the three-point line, which ranks outside the top 250 nationally and would be the lowest mark of the Self era by far.
“Our team is different than any team we’ve had since we’ve been here,” Self conceded. “We don’t throw it to the post and score. We’re not very big, and then our two biggest guys (Landen Lucas and Cliff Alexander) have a hard time in there.
“We’ve got to find different ways to manufacture points, and we’re not doing it off our defense, and we’re not doing it in transition. Now the guy that can really do it in transition has got to play 36 minutes per game.”
Traylor finished with 13 points, five rebounds and made all five of his free-throw attempts in the Jayhawks’ 63-60 win over Utah.
“It’s never good when you’re in that position,” Traylor said of his suspension. “I made a mistake, so I just wanted to come out and do better this time around and this game. I wanted to impact the game.”
▪ KU freshman wing Kelly Oubre also continued his upward trend, finishing with nine points while playing a career-high 17 minutes. He also made his only three-point attempt.
“He got what he deserved,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said of sitting out following his arrest for interfering with duties of an officer at the scene of a fight. “On the flip side, he took a negative situation and didn’t pout, handled it like he’s supposed to handle it. I’m happy with ‘Mari, proud of him. I thought he and Kelly Oubre (career high nine points) were two best players for us today no question.”
It was 25 days ago when the Kansas men’s basketball team faced an early crossroads following an embarrassing loss to Kentucky.
Players aired their frustrations in the locker room. Guys talked about how 32-point blowouts weren’t something that happened at KU.
So it was natural to wonder at the time: What’s next? Would this be the Bill Self team that might falter against a tough non-conference grind?
This much is clear following No. 10 KU’s 63-60 victory over No. 13 Utah on Saturday afternoon at Sprint Center: The Jayhawks responded in a positive way.
With the win, KU completed a six-game sweep of teams ranked in Ken Pomeroy’s top 105. Each of the last four victories — against Michigan State, Florida, Georgetown and Utah — came against squads ranked in the top 20.
“The most important thing is guys expect to win,” Self said. “That’s the best quality that a team can have is they expect somehow that somebody’s going to make a play, and that’s kind of what happened so far.”
…It begs the question, of course: Is winning close a skill, or is it more luck? Does KU have a magical “clutch” gene on this year’s team that it lacked a year ago?
Whatever “it” is, KU has had it so far, improving to 4-0 in games decided by six points or fewer.
“I would’ve never thought before the season we’d be 8-1 at this juncture,” Self said, “playing the schedule with this many young kids.”
Ellis had been limited to a free throw after starting like gangbusters with 11 of the Jayhawks’ first 14 points during the opening eight minutes. With 1:50 remaining, the junior drove into the lane and swished a floater to put KU up for good, a lead it preserved by going 6-for-6 from the foul line over the final 39 seconds.
“Perry’s very capable of making easy baskets,” said teammate Jamari Traylor, “especially in pressure situations, so we just drew up the play for everybody to drive it. He’s the guy who made the play, so props to him.”
Props to all the Jayhawks for winning their seventh straight and improving to 8-1.
Still, the case of Ellis is symbolic of the entire Kansas team at this stage.
It plays “gritty,” a term used by coach Bill Self to describe a team he has found to be tougher than he originally thought. Yet the Jayhawks do not understand all the intricacies of Self’s offensive system, particularly how to capitalize on opportunities in the post.
…The need to become more consistent was the point Self stressed most, while admitting that creativity is needed to get his team playing at a higher level.
“What we’ve always done in the past is we’ve tried to get a lot better at what we do,” Self said. “I don’t think it’s the kids’ fault. We’ve got to come up with a way to help them, more than us getting better at what we do. It won’t be a major deal, but we’ve got to make them believe that what we do works.”
Tenth-ranked Kansas held 13th-ranked Utah scoreless on five straight possessions after the visiting Utes took their only lead of the second half. The Jayhawks switched ball screens whenever Utah star Delon Wright had the ball and committed help defenders to keep him out of the lane, forcing any of the other Utes to hit big shots down the stretch.
Utah's two chances to extend its lead resulted in a wild driving layup that didn't draw iron from Kenneth Ogbe and an air-balled corner three from forward Chris Reyes, who has not hit a single shot behind the arc all season. The next possession Wright tried to create twice off high ball screens but found no room either time, settling for a step-back 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer that was partially blocked by Perry Ellis.
Things didn't get any easier for Utah after Ellis gave Kansas the lead back with a floater and got the Kansas crowd back in the game. Frank Mason poked the ball away from Brekkott Chapman at the top of the key after another failed attempt to drive by Wright. Then, Dakarai Tucker beat his man off the dribble but missed a driving layup attempt in traffic, forcing Utah to resort to fouling down the stretch.
The Utes still had one final chance to tie down three on their last possession, and that time the Jayhawks got away with a lapse. Wright came off a pair of double screens with space to shoot on the left wing, but outside shooting specialist Tucker didn't look his direction, opting instead to first look for his own shot and then throw to center Jakob Poeltl out of desperation. Poeltl, who hadn't attempted a 3-pointer all season, predictably missed badly at the buzzer to end the game.
…The Jayhawks (8-1) have reeled off seven straight victories since that loss including quality wins against Tennessee, Michigan State, Florida, Georgetown and now Utah, giving them a very realistic chance of entering Big 12 play with only one loss.
The other positive sign for Kansas is it is clearly nowhere near its ceiling still. While Ellis has been an interior standout and Frank Mason has solidified the point guard position, talented freshmen Cliff Alexander and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have been erratic and highly touted wing Kelly Oubre is still just beginning to get enough playing time to make an impact.
For Kansas to reemerge as a title contender, those players will have to contribute more, but it's still encouraging for the Jayhawks that they're winning anyway right now.
Utah is a vastly improved team with a formidable defense and a structured offense that is a bit too reliant on Wright until Jordan Loveridge returns from injury. The Utes nearly found a way to upset Kansas anyway, but the Jayhawks came up with the defensive stands they needed at the perfect time.
Prior to Sunday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Andrew Wiggins was given his award for winning the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for November.
During the month, Wiggins averaged 11.6 points (2nd among NBA rookies), 3.7 rebounds and 1.13 steals in 15 games, all starts. He led all rookies in three-point field goal percentage at 44.0 percent (11-for-25). Among Western Conference rookies, Wiggins was 1st in scoring, steals and minutes played, 2nd in blocks and 3rd in rebounding.
Wiggins poured in a season-high 29 points Nov. 22 vs. Sacramento, the highest scoring total by a rookie this season and matching the top point total for a Wolves rookie since Stephon Marbury scored 33 vs. Utah on Dec. 23, 1996. Wiggins also swiped a season-best four steals in vs. Sacramento in a season-high 41:11 minutes. He set personal bests with eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks Nov. 26 vs. Milwaukee. Wiggins tallied a team-high 20 points, on 7-for-10 shooting (2-for 2 from three-point range), Nov. 14 at New Orleans and contributed 17 points, on 7-for-12 shooting, in the Wolves' Nov. 5 victory at Brooklyn.
So far in December, Wiggins is averaging 14.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in seven games.
Andrew Wiggins knew his defensive assignment Sunday, knew the history at stake, and so he created a goal, something rather specific. “I didn’t want to let him get nine points,” said the Minnesota Timberwolves rookie.
The “him” was Kobe Bryant, and the nine points was all that stood between the Los Angeles Lakers star and his surpassing Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list at the Target Center here in the city where the Lakers were born.
Those two faced off at the start, a matchup of the NBA’s flickering past against its hopeful future. What Bryant lacked in speed, he made up in experience, as he has been in the league almost as long as the 19-year-old Wiggins has been alive.
…There was something else, too, about Wiggins.
“Yeah, it was a strange feeling, because I remember being Andrew Wiggins,” Bryant said. “I remember playing against Michael my first year. To be here tonight and to play against him, seeing the baby face and the little footwork or little technique things that he’s going to be much sharper at as time goes on -- it was like looking at a reflection of myself 19 years ago. It was pretty cool.”
As Wiggins walked out of the arena, Bryant’s message was relayed to him.
“That’s just motivation to my ears, to hear those kind words to come from someone of his caliber,” he said. “That’s just motivation to my ears.”
…For those who witnessed it, especially the league’s hopeful future who grew up idolizing Bryant, the moment will last forever.
“That’s a legendary moment for me, to see a living legend,” Wiggins said, standing near the Lakers bus, where fans chanted “Ko-be!” like mad.
“I witnessed greatness. I witnessed the passing of Michael Jordan in scoring.”
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
The @Big12Conference went 16-0 this week and is now 78-13 on the year for a .857 winning percentage (best in country). #Big12Strong
Duke says forward Semi Ojeleye is leaving the program.
School officials said Sunday that Ojeleye received a full release and is expected to transfer to another Division I school. Ojeleye is a 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward from Ottawa, Kansas, who averaged three points and 2.3 rebounds in six games for the second-ranked Blue Devils (8-0).
Coach Mike Krzyzewski called Ojeleye "an excellent student and a great representative of our school and basketball program."
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#punks @BIGG_ZIMM @chasejeter04 in @SLAMonline pic.twitter.com/eZzlWNxQQV
One hundred points in 32 minutes. That’s 3.2 points a minute, and a task that not many high school basketball teams can pull off.
The 2014-15 Villa Angela-St. Joseph Vikings — as you may have heard by now — are not most high school basketball teams, accomplishing the feat for the second night in a row with a 101-53 thrashing of crosstown foe Euclid on Dec. 13 behind Carlton Bragg’s 31-point, 16-rebound effort.
It was the perfect occasion for California transplant Marcus LoVett to introduce himself to Chicago.
But Simeon's established veterans showed the Morgan Park newcomer who's No. 1 in the Public League's fiercest rivalry.
Illinois recruit D.J. Williams scored nine of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and Nebraska-bound center Ed Morrow had 15 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots as No. 2 Simeon defeated No. 4 Morgan Park 71-66 in the headliner of the CPS Rivalry Showcase on Sunday at Young.
Isaiah Moss, an Iowa recruit, added 12 points and Simeon (3-0, 2-0 Red South) withstood a late run by LoVett, who scored 12 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter.
12/14/14, 3:46 PM
Thon Maker was our game MVP finishing with 15pts and 5 Rebs pic.twitter.com/8SAqxHQmJ5
12/14/14, 3:13 PM
Cheick Diallo: 22 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks, 6-16 FTs
Thon Maker: 15 points, five rebounds, nine turnovers, 5-13 FGs
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