For 40 minutes Saturday, the Jayhawks made TCU’s offense look like it was the one representing the Topeka YMCA. As Kansas put a workmanlike 75-56 victory in the books, the Jayhawks held the Horned Frogs (10-13) to 28.6 percent shooting and 14 field goals.
In some respects, it was not an overly smooth or dominating performance — Self would confide after that the margin might have been greater if his team had made more open shots — but for a program that had lost three straight road games and hadn’t left an opponent’s venue happy since Jan. 9, it was the equivalent of a shot of Red Bull.
“We’re on the back nine of the league race,” Self said. “And so everything is magnified and you’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity.”
…In almost every measurable way, Saturday was a victory for Kansas. But the real challenge could await this week.
“This is the biggest week that we’ve had,” Self said. “Of course, we’ve had some big weeks already. But this is the biggest week to date. And we get a chance to play a team that handled us pretty easily. And we get a chance to play the No. 1 team in the country. Our guys should be pretty jacked for this week.”
KUAD: Postgame box score, recap, notes, quotes
KC Star Photos
It’s one thing to lose by 19 to one of college basketball’s best teams.
It’s another to get outrebounded by 21.
One stung a lot more than the other for TCU in its 75-56 loss to No. 7 Kansas on Saturday afternoon at Schollmaier Arena. Perry Ellis had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Jayhawks, who finished with a 46-25 rebounding edge.
“They were right, and we had no fight,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “They did whatever they wanted to. Forty-six to 25 on the glass speaks volumes to how competitive they were and how competitive we weren’t.”
…“TCU has always given us a hard time on the glass, and I thought we rebounded the ball more like men today than we did in prior games,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Parrish said the Frogs disappointed themselves.
“For us to play at home and not compete to the level that we’re capable of, especially when we have a beautiful opportunity like this game against the Jayhawks, a team that’s dominated our league for the last 10 years or so, it’s a little disappointing,” he said. “We were really confident coming in. ... I think we bypassed a lot of the little aspects of the game, especially rebounding, where we got beat 46-25. I mean, that’s the game right there.”
Johnson could hardly agree more.
“All you got to do is look at the stat sheet from the rebound perspective,” he said. “That’s all you need to do and that’s all that happened in this game. First time in a long time, here at home, that that’s happened.”
Working toward first-team All-Big 12 honors, Ellis again stood out for Kansas, totaling 23 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in the Jayhawks’ 75-56 victory at TCU.
On a day that Jamari Traylor took more rebounds off the offensive glass (five) than any Horned Frog had at that end of the floor, a day Devonté Graham juiced teammates with floor burns and net burns, Ellis remained the focal point of the opposition's defense and the main source of frustration for the losing team.
Ellis left an impression on the Horned Frogs in an area that doesn't get discussed as often as most of his other winning traits.
Asked what made Ellis so tough, TCU's Brandon Parrish said, "I think his strength more so than anything. He might not look like the strongest guy, but I think pound-for-pound he can bang with anybody. He's relentless on the offensive glass. If he's going to miss he's going to jump right back up and try to rebound it. And he's real quick off his feet."
About half of the announced crowd (6,516) in the 8,500-seat facility wore KU colors during a 75-56 victory that temporarily, at least, made the Jayhawks forget road setbacks at West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Iowa State.
“I was surprised to hear as many fans as we had here. It was nice. It kind of got us going a little bit,” said sophomore guard Devonté Graham, who responded with 15 points off 6-of-10 shooting (3-6 from three) with three assists and two steals in 27 minutes.
“It’s always a boost having fans there, cheering us on. It was great,” noted senior forward Perry Ellis, who had 23 points off 11-of-14 shooting with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 34 minutes.
…“Wayne was sick. He’s got the flu or whatever. We didn’t know if he could play. He asked to come out immediately, in 30 seconds. I’ve never had a player do that. He said, ‘Coach get me out,’’’ Self said of the junior guard, who scored three points off 1-of-5 shooting and had five assists in 22 minutes. “They’re pumping antibiotics in him right now,” Self added.
Self also pulled junior Brannen Greene about 30 seconds after he entered and committed a defensive miscue.
“Yes,” Self said, acknowledging the defensive mistake was the reason for the quick hook. “Then he said he was too tight and couldn’t go back in. That’s what he told one of the assistant coaches. We talk about how we are going to guard certain actions. Obviously he didn’t come close to guarding it right. He wasn’t the only one. I pulled Svi (Mykhailiuk) for doing the same thing, too.”
The man from Burleson, Texas, was just about to take a picture of his son with Perry Ellis when he decided the comment couldn’t wait.
Wearing a blue Kansas sweatshirt with his back to a television truck, the man looked at the Kansas forward before offering a compliment the senior hasn’t heard often.
“You’ve been dunking like a madman!”
The postgame remark could easily have applied to Ellis' teammates as well.
For a day, Bill Self’s offense resembled ones of yesteryear in KU's 75-56 rout over TCU on Saturday afternoon at Schollmaier Arena.
There were alley-oops off hook passes in the lane. There were guards driving then dropping to bigs for layups inside.
“We got some easy baskets,” Self said.
KU finished with five dunks and also posted 46 points in the paint, which was its best total since the conference season began.
“When we play the right way, I think we’re really, really good. I do,” Self said. “I love watching our team play when we play the right way.”
“I tried to respond by being more active the last couple days at practice,” Traylor added.
He admitted Self knows how to bring out the best in him.
“I’ve been here five years. He knows how to push my buttons. I know how to push his, too,” Traylor added, laughing. “I don’t know what he has to say, but he knows how to do it.”
Of Traylor, Self said: “I thought Jamari was our best big next to Perry (Ellis, 23 points, 10 boards).”
Of Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg, who had five boards apiece, Self said: “I thought Carlton did good on the glass. Check did some good things. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Cheick is not the best passer. We’ve got to do a better job of keeping him close to the basket in certain situations.”
TCU has given Kansas coach Bill Self tough battles in the past, but not on this day. Asked for his take on TCU’s struggles, Self pointed to the season-ending September knee surgery to last season’s leading rebounder and best defender, Kenrich Williams.
“I’m not down here in the middle of it, so I don’t know,” Self said. “I know I’m a big Trent fan. And Kwanza (Johnson, TCU assistant) was on my staff at Tulsa, so I love Kwanza. The thing is, I’ve been through it down at Oral Roberts, when we lost 18 in a row. It’s hard to get over the hump and it seems like right when you’re getting close something negative can happen. The injury they had before the season was a big loss. And when you’re fighting that uphill battle, there’s less margin for error.
“And you need some positive momentum things to happen. From the outside looking in, to me, the program’s in much better shape if you look at the beautiful facility you’ll be able to recruit to and they’ve got good young players. I think they’re continue to get better, but you’ve got to stay healthy and they haven’t.”
By defeating TCU 75-56 on Saturday, KU improved to 2-3 in road action in the Big 12 and 3-3 in true road games overall — the Jayhawks won at San Diego State.
“We talked about it, but certainly I don’t think our mindset has been awful,” Self said. “I think it’s pretty much the same as it’s always been going away from home. Individually we can do some things to help better prepare us to be more ready. For the most part, attitudes aren’t bad. Attitudes are good. They try.”
Self continued: “You can’t say we weren’t ready when we went to Ames. We controlled the first half (leading 43-36 at half before losing 85-72). The second half was the problem. There were games we didn’t have the fire to start, primarily the Oklahoma State game (86-67 loss) and West Virginia game (74-63 loss). This was a big game if we want to stay close to top of the conference race. Our guys understood that.”
“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
Daxter Miles Jr. scored a season-high 20 points and No. 14 West Virginia beat No. 15 Baylor 80-69 on Saturday night to grab sole possession of first place in the Big 12.
West Virginia (19-4, 8-2) took over at the top of the standings after No. 1 Oklahoma lost to Kansas State 80-69 on Saturday. The Sooners fell into a second-place tie with No. 7 Kansas and Texas at 7-3.
Jaysean Paige scored 17 points, Devin Williams added 16 and Nathan Adrian had 11 points and nine rebounds for West Virginia, which finally found a way to beat Baylor (17-6, 6-4) after four straight losses to the Bears going back two years.
…West Virginia forward Jonathan Holton sat out his third straight game. He was suspended a week ago by coach Bob Huggins for an undisclosed violation of team rules and his return hasn’t been specified. Adrian started in his place Saturday.
Nothing like a nice, controversial finish to get the blood flowing.
New Mexico was on the receiving end of a rule misinterpretation on Saturday afternoon, and that interpretation likely cost the Lobos a win over San Diego State and, arguably, a shot at the MWC regular season title.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Trae Young, a 6-1 junior point guard from Norman (Okla.) North High, who is ranked No. 26 in the recruiting Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, attended the recent KU-Kentucky game with his dad, Rayford, a former standout at Texas Tech.
“Kansas has the best facilities in the country and most people would agree,” Rayford Young told kentucky.rivals.com.
“Kentucky and Duke may be a close second, but you don’t want to go to a school because of their facilities. It’s about the basketball side of things,” the elder Youn added. “The main thing is being comfortable on campus. Will you be comfortable with the coaching staff and the way they play? That's the biggest thing. Does it fit your style?”
Young is considering KU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Duke, Stanford and others.
He’s hoping to be a package deal with Michael Porter, a 6-8 junior guard from Tolton Catholic in Columbia, Mo., who is ranked No. 3 nationally.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube