KUAD Recap, Box Score, Photos, Notes, Quotes
KC Star Photos
For surviving the exhausting, miserable, trip-to-the-dentist-who-lost-his-Novacaine-needle battle that is West Virginia, your reward is a round-trip to … Norman, Oklahoma, where you'll be greeted with Bahamian love from Buddy Hield, the shot-making player of the year candidate who's still stinging after dropping 46 on you and leaving with a three-overtime loss in January.
Doesn't quite have the same ring to it as "I'm going to Disney World" does it?
…Because along with the visit to Norman, Kansas still has to go to Kansas State, Baylor and Texas. To win the league, Self thinks he'll have to steal a few on the road, that four losses might let you sneak to the title, but five won't do it.
Without the assistance of either a dartboard or a Ouija board, it would seem impossible to predict, let alone guarantee, just how the Big 12 will all play out.
So to the micro, rather than the macro, then.
What this game offers is promise of what the Jayhawks can be, nothing more, nothing less.
They did the near unthinkable here: They out-toughed a Bob Huggins' team. They beat them on the boards 33-28 and even outscored Press Virginia 14-13 in points off turnovers. The Mountaineers pulled off nine steals and forced 15 turnovers, but it never seemed as if KU was rattled. Every time West Virginia threatened, Kansas answered, keeping its composure in a feisty game that included a fair bit of jawing, as well as an elbow from West Virginia's Tarik Phillip to Frank Mason's jaw.
“Landen was the best player in the game tonight,” Self said. “I thought he played smart and to the scouting report, and he was certainly a primary reason that we won."
Lucas played a season-high 29 minutes and, in that time, played arguably his best game as a Jayhawk. He posted nine points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
His 16 rebounds and four blocks were both career-highs, and Kansas needed every one of them against a scrappy West Virginia team that outworked Kansas in their first meeting.
“We got punked in Morgantown,” Self said. “Tonight, I thought we were much more competitive and made many, many more competitive plays.”
…Despite all that Lucas did on Tuesday, there was one thing he failed to do: record a double-double. He was just one point away, and that point was left at the free throw line, where he went 1-of-2. But Kansas is traveling to Norman on Saturday to take on Oklahoma, which also happens to be the location of one of Lucas’ two career double-doubles.
“I did it to myself that’s on me,” Lucas said with a grin. “I know my dad will probably give me some crap about it. Hopefully I can get one on Saturday.”
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Portland junior’s performance on the glass — which was KU’s best since Andrew Wiggins pulled down 19 boards on Jan. 13, 2014 at Iowa State — also earned him an audience with ESPN’s Dick Vitale on press row after KU’s 20th win in 24 tries and eighth league victory in 11 outings.
“It was awesome. You grow up watching him. There I am taking a selfie with him at the end of the interview. He’s all into selfies now,” said Lucas, who also chipped in nine points and had four blocked shots while helping slow down West Virginia’s Devin Williams (14 points, 4-of-10 shooting, nine boards).
“It’s something as a kid you dream of, so that’s pretty cool,” Lucas added of being summoned to a star-of-the-game interview with Vitale.
…“When we recruited Landen,” Self said, “we recruited him as a backup. We recruited him as a program guy. I remember talking to his dad (Richard, former Oregon player). He asked, ‘Do you think he’s going to be good enough to play here?’ I said, ‘Not as a freshman. Maybe some as a sophomore. By the time he’s a junior, he’s going to be a major contributor.’ Everybody wants it to be immediate,” Self added.
“Cheick and Carlton (Bragg) are better prospects coming in here. You guys saw tonight that (Lucas) is a kid that’s been through the wars, been in the weight room four years (including red-shirt year). He was going against a man (in Williams). He knows how to help you win a game. Those other kids will, too,” Self said. “They’re just a little young.”
Of forwards Diallo and Bragg, who played two and one minute Tuesday, Lucas said: “They deserve it (publicity). They had great high school careers and were highly recruited. They are going to come in and do their thing and it’s just our job as older guys to help them get prepared for times we will need them.”
By more or less “doing what he does,” as Self put it: absorbing and executing scouting reports to their granular details; being a good and selfless screener and natural rebounder who has learned to assert himself more to go after opponent shots and is trying to find a way to create a few more of his own.
These things, it turns out, can take some time to develop.
Which is why no matter how much fans might want to see more of Diallo and Bragg, the truth is those two aren’t far enough along even in practice to make their contributions nearly as valuable as what Lucas gives them right now.
KC Star Gregorian
West Virginia flexes its toughness. Kansas kills with skill.
Bill Self demanded his guys become more Mountaineer-like on Tuesday night, a tough-dude approach that evened up the season series and threw the Big 12 race into a top-heavy cluster once more.
…Paige eked out 14 points while making 2-of-9 in the paint, both of those baskets scored through a patchwork of Jayhawk hands and arms.
“They got me pretty good,” Paige said. “I was trying to get to the basket and just seeing defender after defender. I’d get by one person and there’d be more defenders in front of me. They play tough here.”
…Given how similarly these teams controlled games in their home arenas, one wonders what a potential third matchup in sort-of-neutral Kansas City might bring. And whether bad blood is stirring.
After Wayne Selden put Kansas ahead 17-10 by scoring over Paige on a transition layup, he was assessed a technical by official John Higgins for barking into the face of WVU’s sixth man.
Tarik Phillip later received a flagrant foul for chicken-winging an elbow into the jaw of Jayhawks point guard Frank Mason.
After another whistle, Paige collided with Lucas, drawing some face-to-face words from the KU forward, who also chirped toward players on the Mountaineers bench.
“There was too much talking and the game got a little chippy,” Self said. “But that’s OK. I don’t think it’s going to bother me one bit, and trust me, it doesn’t bother Huggs at all.”
WV Metro News
KU senior forward Perry Ellis once again showed his full offensive arsenal Tuesday night, posting 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting in No. 6 KU’s 75-65 victory over No. 10 West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse.
“He deserves to be up there for sure,” Huggins said of the Fieldhouse rafters.
Perhaps the opposing coach’s words are a good reminder that it’s time to pay close attention to Ellis in his final months as a Jayhawk.
No, the Wichita native won’t scream to the crowd. He won’t gyrate his arms or get in an opponent’s face to trash talk.
What he will do, however, is score in a dizzying amount of ways: left hand, right hand, off a spin, off a stepback.
“He’s our go-to guy: Mr. Consistent,” KU forward Jamari Traylor said. “That’s all I can say. He’s been playing great.”
If you haven’t been watching closely, you might have missed one of the best offensive stretches in college basketball this season.
Ellis’ efficiency over his last three games has been astounding. He made his final five 2-pointers against Kansas State before going 11-for-12 inside the arc against TCU.
His shooting streak wasn't slowed Tuesday. He made his first five 2s, meaning for a stretch of 21/2 games, he’d made 21 of 22 shots inside the arc (95 percent).
…whenever KU needed offense, it turned to the reliable Ellis, who moved to 15th on the Jayhawks’ all-time scoring list Tuesday with 1,563 points.
And just for the record: Nine of the 14 players ahead of Ellis are displayed in the south rafters at Allen Fieldhouse.
“He’s been such a rock for us for four years. He’s been stellar,” Self said. “It’s hard to find any fault with a kid that conducts himself like he does.”
Kansas University senior forward Perry Ellis, who hit seven of nine shots in Tuesday’s 75-65 victory over West Virginia, has cashed 26 of his last 34 attempts over three games.
That’s 76.5-percent marksmanship.
“Just in practice getting a lot of shots and getting game shots in,” Ellis said of the key to his hot streak. “Teammates feeding me, just trying to attack. They are falling.”
Ellis poured in a game-high 21 points Tuesday. He was one of two from three and six of seven from the line.
On a night Landen Lucas led Kansas University to a 75-65 victory vs. West Virginia with brains and brawn, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots, the Jayhawks still needed a little scoring punch off the bench to keep the relentless Mountaineers from taking a lead, which they never did.
Greene supplied it, scoring all 10 of KU’s bench points (West Virginia had 31) by making 2 of 3 three-point shots and all four free throws. The crowd welcomed him back from the darkness of the doghouse to the bright lights of the fieldhouse with a roar that accompanied each score.
…When Greene’s head is on straight and he squares his broad shoulders to the basket and then elevates higher than most, the mood of the crowd instantly improves, readying for an explosion.
Greene gave the crowd two of them and increased the decibels when he punched the air to punctuate the second. It’s natural for any basketball fan to want to see more of him, because he has such a beautiful game.
…“I thought he played smart and got in there and Wayne (Selden Jr.) didn’t have his best game obviously and he played through fouls in the first half, so we needed B.G. to bail us out, and he did,” Self said.
A Devonte Graham three-pointer off terrific ball movement extended the Jayhawks’ lead to 13 early in the second half. Four straight Kansas turnovers later, the Mountaineers had cut it to four.
If the game had a big basket, Wayne Selden provided it, hitting a three-pointer with 7 minutes remaining that provided some breathing room at 59-52.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins looked inward for the turning points.
“We probably helped their cause, it wasn’t all them,” Huggins said. “You’ve got to give us credit for screwing the game up.”
Mostly, the Mountaineers didn’t shoot well, just 22 of 59 for the game, and couldn’t speed up the Jayhawks with their pressure. Their best big man, Devin Williams, was solid with 14 points and nine rebounds, but was limited because of foul trouble.
Kansas University guard Frank Mason III took an elbow to the face, delivered by West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip, in the second half of the Jayhawks’ 75-65 Tuesday victory at Allen Fieldhouse.
Phillip was assessed a technical foul.
“Frank doesn’t always play great, but there’s nobody tougher, nobody,” KU coach Bill Self said. “He’s about as competitive as anybody we’ve had here.”
Kansas: at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, at Kansas State, at Baylor, Texas Tech, at Texas, Iowa State.
West Virginia: TCU, at Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State, at Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, at Baylor.
Oklahoma: Kansas, at Texas Tech, at West Virginia, Oklahoma State, at Texas, Baylor, at TCU.
What do you think?
Kansas is likely to win its remaining home games since the Jayhawks never lose at the Fieldhouse. But how many of the four road games can KU steal?
West Virginia has three on the road, but still has Oklahoma and Iowa State to play at home.
Oklahoma still has to go to West Virginia and Texas.
This conference resembles a demolition derby more than it does basketball, but the fun is non-stop.
“I think we have the toughest schedule,” KU coach Bill Self said. “We have to go steal one somewhere on the road.”
…Ellis has scored in double figures 23 times in 24 games this season and passed former Jayhawks Calvin Thompson, Kenny Gregory and Jeff Boschee to vault into the No. 15 spot among KU scorers with 1,563 points. If he continues to average close to 17 points and the Jayhawks play 12 more games, Ellis would end up as high as No. 8.
Big 12 basketball is a spectacle this season and Ellis is on the marquee. He’ll be a huge difference-maker for Kansas the rest of the way. Somewhere in the quiet Ellis there is the simmer of a senior who doesn’t want to be part of the class that breaks the string of conference championships. He might not wear it on his sleeve, but it’s in there somewhere.
Wichita Eagle Lutz
“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 Big 12 certainly shoulders its share of bad news. So time to share some good news. The conference’s academic standing is on the rise.
Last week, Texas Tech, Kansas State and West Virginia were all reclassified to “Carnegie I” status, a heading that indicates Highest Research University.
I wrote about the Carnegie classifications a few weeks ago. The Big 12’s academic status had taken a hit with the loss of Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M. All four were classified as Carnegie I and all four were members of the even more exclusive American Association of Universities. That left the Big 12 with just three AAU members (Texas, Kansas, Iowa State) and just four Carnegie I schools (Texas, KU, Iowa State and OU). But the addition of Texas Tech, Kansas State and West Virginia gives the Big 12 a much better ratio within the Carnegie I field. The Big 12 had been the only Power 5 conference without a majority of academically-elite schools; that changes with the ascension of Tech, West Virginia and K-State.
Preseason picks rarely ever go right. Back in October, we asked our experts to go out on a limb, to predict the Final Four, national champion, player of the year and coach of the year. Then the chaos happened.
So it seemed fair to give them all another shot -- a mulligan, really. With a little more than a month left before Selection Sunday and the start of the NCAA tournament, this was their chance to try again. Some stuck to their preseason picks. Some made small tweaks. Some wiped the board and started all over.
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