Kansas Jayhawks defeat Wake Forest Demon Deacons
11/28/13, 11:16 PM
I believe KU fans would follow the team to North Pole if there was tourney up there. KU had almost all of the 3900 fans. That is just crazy
A sellout-crowd of 3,900 attended the KU-Wake game with almost all the fans wearing crimson and/or blue.
“I think it was maybe 95 percent (of building),” Self said. “There had to be 3,000 Kansas fans there. I thought the number would be closer to 2,000. That was really nice to have that many people supporting us.”
KU has some serious depth. The Jayhawks received 44 percent of their minutes and 47 percent of their scoring from their reserves, making me wonder if KU coach Bill Self might be forced to play his bench more this season because of the talent he has there. KU has finished above the national average in bench minutes percentage just once in the past seven seasons (2010-11), and even then, the Jayhawks only ranked 138th. Before Thursday’s game, Self had given 34.7 percent of its minutes to reserves (99th nationally), and that number will only go up after Thursday’s victory.
M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)
With a furious final six minutes, Andrew Wiggins once again earns top honors with a complete stat line. He posted a healthy 1.22 points per possession while taking on a huge offensive load, ending 31.5 percent of KU’s possessions when he was on the floor. The freshman, who had 12 points in KU’s final six minutes, also had impressive numbers in assist percentage (giving out 32.9 percent of his team’s assists while he was on the floor) and steal rate (taking the ball away on 6.7 percent of his defensive possessions). Turnover update: Wiggins has just four giveaways in 144 minutes this year.
…Stat of the Day
KU still managed a great offensive day (1.23 PPP) despite having its worst shooting night of the year (49.2% eFG%). The reason? Turnovers. KU turned the ball over on just 12.6 percent of its possessions against Wake Forest — a better mark than any of KU’s 37 games last season.
This isn’t looking like a typical Self-coached team. At this point, KU is simply outscoring opponents, relying on close shots, free-throw creation and turnover avoidance to put up impressive offensive numbers even against good defenses like Wake Forest’s. That’s either a good or bad thing for KU, depending on your perspective. KU certainly will regress a bit offensively, but with Self, you’d have to assume that this team has a long ways to grow defensively. In other words … there’s still plenty to learn about the Jayhawks, starting with Friday’s game against Villanova.
Andrew Wiggins’ first two days in the Bahamas were anything but paradise.
According to Kansas coach Bill Self, Wiggins has been battling a rather nasty flu bug that may have hampered his energy level during Kansas’ 87-78 victory over Wake Forest in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
“He’s actually feeling better,” Self said. “He was really struggling the last two days.”
Wiggins, who has spent most of the last two days in his room, still managed to finish with 17 points and four rebounds, including 12 points during the second half. He is now averaging 16.8 points per game after his first five games. For comparison, former KU guard Ben McLemore, who set KU’s all-time freshman scoring mark last season, averaged 14 points in his first five games. McLemore finished the season averaging 15.9 points per game.
On Thursday, Wiggins, who was not made available to reporters after the game, had five points in the first half before finishing strong down the stretch.
“He’s got to learn to play through it,” Self said. “He actually did some good things when he got back in there.”
Winning ugly is nothing that Kansas coach Bill Self will complain about.
In fact, there's times he finds it downright satisfying.
Like Thursday, for instance, when Andrew Wiggins was slowed by the flu, when the second-ranked Jayhawks used reserves more than starters in the second half and when the hottest scorer on the court happened to be wearing a Wake Forest uniform. No problem - Self was all smiles afterward, because above all else, a win always beats the alternative.
Wiggins scored 12 of his 17 points in the final 5:53, and Kansas held off previously unbeaten Wake Forest 87-78 in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis. A pair of reserves, Frank Mason and Joel Embiid, combined for 23 more points for the Jayhawks (5-0), who will face Villanova in the semifinals on Friday night.
"I've always taken great pride in winning ugly," Self said. "I think it's good to win ugly. I'd rather win pretty, but there's nothing wrong with winning ugly. The thing about it that's frustrating to me, and I think these guys will probably agree, we've always been a team that won ugly by not allowing the other team to score."
Miller-McIntyre was seated to Bzdelik’s right as he raved about his effort.
As his coach spoke, Miller-McIntyre’s facial expression barely changed. The Demon Deacons let a chance slip away, and Miller-McIntyre wasn’t thrilled about that realization.
“I hate the term ‘moral victory,’ ” he said.
The Demon Deacons (5-1) held Kansas to a season-low 47 percent from the field, but lost forward Devin Thomas after he was ejected for two technical fouls with 7:28 remaining.
Bzdelik said he was not given an explanation. And when told that Kansas was getting four free throws, even Self scoffed.
“I hated what happened with Thomas,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
When Thomas got ejected, Kansas’ Conner Frankamp made three of the four free throws to put the Jayhawks up 64-52. And when Andrew Wiggins, who was largely silent offensively for the first 35 minutes, made a 3-pointer for a 68-57 lead, the overwhelmingly pro-KU crowd might have sensed that Wake’s upset bid had run dry.
Wake had other plans.
Miller-McIntyre kept attacking, and his 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes left got Wake Forest to 77-72. Desperately needing a stop, Wake Forest wound up losing Arnaud Adala Moto to his fifth foul when he got in Wiggins’ way on a drive with 38 seconds left.
Wiggins made the first free throw and missed the second, but the ball bounced out of bounds to Kansas. Naadir Tharpe hit a pair of foul shots to make it a three-possession game, and Kansas escaped.
“We’re happy we won,” Self said. “I thought Wake Forest really outplayed us in the second half.”
After the nine-point setback to Kansas (5-0), the point guard kept dwelling on missed chances, because he had every intention of carrying his team to an upset -- not that anybody on Wake’s roster would have considered it one.
“We gave it a lot, but we didn’t do everything we could’ve, including myself,” Miller-McIntyre said. “There was a couple of times when I missed a box out and my man actually got the offensive board and got the layup.”
Hanging around with the Jayhawks, he added, wasn’t the end goal.
“I hate the term moral victories,” the team’s leader said. “They’re just another team. They’re a great team, but just another team (on the Deacons’ schedule).”
It was long after Bill Self had benched his starters for a lengthy stretch in the second half, and long after Kansas had held off Wake Forest 87-78 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday.
The Kansas bench had carried the day for a crucial span, cobbling together a double-digit lead as tempers flared inside Imperial Arena on a holiday afternoon.
So it was easy to wonder if Self, who was making his way through a hallway outside a ballroom-turned-basketball arena, had intended to send a message to his starters.
That, Self would say, wasn’t necessarily the case.
“I wasn’t trying to prove a point as much as I was trying to win the game,” Self said.
…For nearly eight minutes, the starters stayed next to Self. Kansas relied on freshman center Joel Embiid (10 points) and sophomore forward Jamari Traylor (eight points). And when the score was tight, Self essentially put the game on the shoulders of freshman point guard Frank Mason, who was left open against Wake Forest’s two-three zone defense.
“We kind of put it on him to just go make plays or whatnot,” Self said. “The way they played their zone, they didn’t guard Frank at the top. So he needed to step up and make a shot, and he did.”
Mason’s three-pointer from the top of the key with 13:27 left pushed the Jayhawks’ lead to 49-42. He finished with 13 points and three assists, including a lob pass to Embiid in that key stretch. In all, Kansas’ bench accounted for 41 of the Jayhawks’ 87 points.
“We knew the starters (weren’t) doing so well,” Mason said, “So we just tried to come off the bench and fight a little adversity and make plays.”
…In one way, the Jayhawks essentially handled Wake Forest with its second five. In another, the starters were bad enough that the Demon Deacons were one run away from ruining Kansas’ weekend in the Bahamas.
“I hope it sends a message,” Self said. “But on the flip side, I asked the guys after the game: ‘What can we hang our hat on today?’ And the common answer was, ‘Well, coach we got depth.’”
“I hope we don’t have to play like this all the time, but I think it’s fine if we have to.”
That good-ugly they inherited? Traylor said they got it from Self.
“The mind-set coach gives us, he just tells us to go hard and compete. So I think if we go out there and do that, everything is gonna fall into place,” Traylor, a sophomore power forward, said. “That’s mainly what we all do — me, Frank, Drew, Jo, Conner, everybody who came off the bench, we just go hard. That’s what we do in practice all the time. It’s gonna just carry over to the game.”
Even future NBA lottery pick Andrew Wiggins (17 points while feeling ill) can’t keep KU looking glamorous for five straight months. Self knows that, too. He just would have preferred a different kind of ugly Thursday on Paradise Island.
“You’re still happy you won,” Self said, “but you wish your identity was a little bit different.”
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