Perry Ellis is smiling, and that means something.
Ellis is pumping up his teammates, too, which means even more. It’s just as important as anything the junior forward can do for Kansas with a basketball in his hands.
The rare sight means his game has returned to normal. It means Kansas is in control.
That was very much the case Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, as Ellis’ 16 points and 12 rebounds paced the No. 9 Jayhawks to a 68-57 victory over Kansas State.
“We had a feeling it was going to be his night on the points and on the boards,” Kansas guard Kelly Oubre said. “It was personal for him.”
Yes, the Wichita product wanted to show off for his home state. In turn, he upped his own standards.
This is what an aggressive Ellis can do for the Jayhawks. He can run the floor and create space for himself, finding room to get to the rim. He can use his long arms to tip rebounds toward his teammates. And because he’s not a flashy player, he can make it so easy for defenses to turn their focus elsewhere.
“Because he’s a no-frills player, people forget about him,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “Perry is rock solid. He’s always there for them.”
“It’s personal,” Ellis said.
It was personal, Ellis said, because he is a proud Kansan, a Wichita native motivated by the two teams from Kansas on the floor. It was personal because Ellis grew up playing against K-State senior Nino Williams, who spent his high school years at Leavenworth. It was personal, of course, because here was another opportunity to keep his team atop the Big 12, another chance to show just how far he’s come during his junior season.
“I’m growing,” Ellis said. “I’m growing as a person, as a player, just learning as we go. I’m still learning.”
As Ellis said this, he sat in a crowded media room at Allen Fieldhouse, leaning forward in his chair. He had just finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds — his fifth double-double of the year — as Kansas beat K-State in Lawrence for the ninth straight year.
In some ways, it was like so many other versions of the Sunflower Showdown here at Allen Fieldhouse. The score was slightly different. The characters were updated — some new, some older. But the rough template — the basic structure of this story — remained unchanged.
…As Ellis sat inside Allen Fieldhouse, he cracked at least one smile. This really was personal. And he really didn’t need to say anything more.
“We just knew that Perry needed to make a statement this game,” Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre said. “He’s one of the best players from Kansas. So that’s what he did.”
A group of former Kansas University basketball players cheered from the stands during the Jayhawks’ 68-57 victory over Kansas State on Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.
Jayhawks on hand included: Eric Chenowith, Sherron Collins, Mario Little, Greg Ostertag, Scot Pollard, Tyrel Reed, Niko Roberts, Wayne Simien, Conner Teahan, Billy Thomas, Calvin Thompson and Darnell Valentine.
Collins and Little visited the KU locker room after the game.
“I wanted them to come listen to my speech, so maybe they could put their two cents in, which they did,” coach Bill Self said with a smile.
Collins stressed to the team it could play harder than it did Saturday.
“Yeah, like he never took a possession off, either,” Self said, smiling. “Isn’t it amazing when you are gone ... Sherron only remembers how hard he played all the time and I was on his butt just as much as I was everybody else.
“Rio only remembers, ‘I never did that.’
“‘No you did that all the time.’”
…Kansas City Royals players Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez and Jerrod Dyson also attended Saturday’s game.
Former Kansas guard Sherron Collins wore a wide grin just outside the Jayhawks’ locker room following No. 9 KU’s 68-57 victory over Kansas State on Saturday.
“It’s always good to get a win against a rival,” Collins said. “We had so many meetings and tough games against them, so it’s good to see the guys winning against them.”
The 2010 consensus first-team All-America selection — along with former teammate Mario Little — also went into the locker room after the game to help KU coach Bill Self with the postgame talk.
His main message to the team? Play with energy every day, because you never know when it might be your last time on the court.
“I think they can go all the way. They’ve just got to put it together at the right time,” Collins said. “By March, coach will have them playing unbelievable. They’ve got a chance.”
…Wichita native Perry Ellis led KU with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Wayne Selden also had his best scoring game since non-conference play, putting in 14 points with help from 3-for-6 3-point shooting.
The sophomore played well in front of his mother, Lavette Pitts, who made it to the game from the Boston area. He said there wasn’t any chance he was having an off game with her in town.
“I would have got in trouble,” Selden said with a laugh.
The victory sets up an important Big Monday game at home against Iowa State — the only team that has beaten KU in Big 12 play.
Collins worked his schedule so that he could hang around until Tuesday to catch two home games.
…Graham picked up a technical foul with 7:57 left in the second half when he got in the face of K-State’s Marcus Foster.
“(Official) Mike Stuart told me, he said he talked to the two players, Foster and him, on the other end, saying, ‘Knock it off.’ Then as soon as Devonte’ scored … he didn’t say anything bad. Even Mike said, ‘I don’t know what he said.’ But he ran up there and yelled at him,” Self said. “He deserved it. That was immature and a bad play, but he’ll learn from it and it won’t happen again I wouldn’t believe.”
1/31/15, 2:43 PM
Did Marcus Foster just ask the official for a technical because Devonte Graham was talking trash? Really? Man up and play the game.
He quickly deflected credit for his most exciting play of the game, one during which he sprinted down the court to block a break-way layup off the board.
“I had messed up by not being back already, so I felt I had to make up for it,” Selden said.
For the most part, Selden has done a nice job of not turning a miss from close range into two bad plays by letting it distract him, but on that second-half play, he appeared to still be thinking about the missed runner instead of turning and running back on defense. On another occasion, reminiscent of former teammate Andrew Wiggins, Selden let his man blow by him and recovered in time for a spectacular blocked shot.
Selden said he couldn’t remember another four-block game.
“Maybe in high school, when I was playing center,” he said.
“Brannen [Greene] kind of bailed us out,” Self said. “He was able to make four shots outside of 17 feet when we didn’t run good offense. He jumps up and shoots it as good as anyone we've ever had.”
After a slow start in the first half, sophomore Wayne Selden Jr. was Kansas’ most productive scorer in the second. Whenever Kansas State seemed to be making a run at the Jayhawks lead, Selden was there to knock in an open jumper. Selden finished with 13 points, ten coming in the second half and four blocks on the defensive end.
“My teammates found me for open opportunities and I was able to knock them down,” Selden said. “Coach [Self] wants me to be more aggressive on the offensive and defensive end.”
With two minutes to play Selden missed a turnaround jumper that was rebounded by the Wildcats. Wesley Iwundu found himself alone under the basket for a fast break dunk. Selden sprinted from behind half court to chase Iwundu down for the block that led to two Frank Mason free throws.
Selden’s block put a final end to all hopes of a Kansas State comeback, as the Jayhawks shot free throws the rest of the way for the win. Up next, the Jayhawks will host Iowa State Monday night.
“We owe them,” Selden said. “They outplayed us in Ames and it’s time to get them back.”
Kansas coach Bill Self could have said all he wanted about the Jayhawks taking a step in the right direction after the 68-57 win over rival Kansas State, but this win showed the team is having more fun on the court.
“That’s the whole deal,” Self said about his team having fun. “When you look at our team, if we’re turned up, we’re playing right.”
On the court, the Jayhawks showed more energy than usually. Self said he’s encouraged the team to show personality on the court, and he thinks the more fun the team has the better the team will play.
“Fun is always the key, and coach has always emphasized on playing with energy and having fun,” Ellis said. “If you’re having fun, good things happen from that. We definitely have to continue to focus on that.”
Every time someone scored, the bench went nuts. One possession, sophomore guard Brannen Greene had a pretty assist to freshman guard Devonte’ Graham, who finished with an uncontested layup. Sophomore Wayne Selden Jr. went so crazy on the bench that when Greene ran by the bench, Selden accidently hit Greene in the throat. Selden said he tried to slap him on the chest.
“I don’t know my strength sometimes,” Selden said. “I got him in the throat, and I felt pretty bad about it.”
Kansas sophomore wing Brannen Greene continued his hot outside shooting on Saturday, bolstering the Jayhawks’ offense during the second half of a 68-57 victory over K-State.
While K-State tried to climb back into the game, Greene drilled two key second-half threes, blunting the Wildcats’ momentum. He finished with 11 points, hitting three of four from three-point range. Greene also hit a long jumper.
“I thought that Brannen Greene kind of bailed us out,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “The dude takes five shots outside 17 feet and makes four of them. I thought he kind of bailed us out when we didn’t play great offense.”
For the season, Greene is now shooting 50 percent (27 of 54) from long distance. He’s been even better during conference play, hitting 13 of 21 on threes.
“Where other guys need a lot of daylight, he doesn’t need that much daylight,” Self said. “So I like it when the ball leaves his hand.”
“He has no idea how big this free throw is.”
With less than 25 seconds to go, ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla jokingly uttered those words, as Frank Mason stepped up to the free throw line. Mason needed to be perfect in order to extend his streak of 10-point games to 18.
Allen Fieldhouse fell as silent as it had been all year, and it was apparent that just about everyone in the crowd knew the “significance” of the following shots, whether or not it actually mattered to anyone on the court.
“I don’t ever think like that, because those [types of things] aren’t records to me,” Self said of Mason’s double-digit scoring streak. “He’s pretty good though.”
Mason had missed a couple of late free throws the other night against TCU, so there was certainly no guarantee that he was going to make both shots. Regardless, the first free throw hit the back of the rim and dropped; the second one was just about perfect.
After being held scoreless in the first 27 minutes of the game, the sophomore from Petersburg, Virginia rattled off 10 points in quick succession to extend the streak, as Kansas would go on to defeat its in-state rival by a final score of 68-57, moving to 7-1 in the Big 12.
This year, the improved play of Kansas at the point guard position has been a big part of why the Jayhawks have been able to dominate the Big 12 competition early on. In the five conference games the Jayhawks have played against ranked teams, Mason has averaged 14.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, but as was noted by Kansas shooting guard Wayne Selden after the game, Mason isn’t doing it all alone.
“We’ve got two starting point guards,” Selden said. “One starts, one doesn’t.”
Selden of course was referring to the fact that while Mason does start for the Jayhawks, his backup, Devonte’ Graham, is a very capable player in his own right. In conference play, Graham has racked up a ridiculous 8.0 assist-to-turnover ratio, which (obviously) leads the team by a significant margin.
In the game against Kansas State, Graham wasn’t necessarily a huge factor with his scoring, nor did he rack up an especially notable total of assists. However, Graham did all of the little things that the team needed, especially given the way Kansas State was trying to deny Kansas the opportunity to get out in transition.
Of the Wildcats’ 17-percent shooting, Self said: “I thought we played pretty good defense the first half. We challenged everything. If somebody is going to shoot 17 percent against you ... we’ve actually experienced that this year (19.6 percent for the game against Kentucky), I understand. You’d think we could take advantage of it more than we did. We didn’t take advantage of them shooting a low percentage. The second half they shot 56 percent (33.3 for game to KU’s 44.8). We didn’t guard them near as well the second half.”
KSU was never able to get the deficit below 10 points the final half, though the Wildcats did outscore the Jayhawks, 40-35.
“I don’t think we’re near as complete offensively as where we can get to, which is positive,” Self said. Four of the eight Jayhawks who entered the game did, however, score in double figures. Ellis’ 16 was followed by Wayne Selden, Jr. (14), Brannen Greene (11), Frank Mason III (10).
The Jayhawks’ first five baskets were layups or dunks, and Weber showed his displeasure during the first media timeout by getting in player’s faces and slamming his clipboard to the floor.
“I was very disappointed in our competitive spirit, especially on the defensive end, at the start of the game,” Weber said. “We’re a good defensive team and we talked about staying in character and doing what you do. We just let them get layup after layup to start the game and you spot them too many points to come back.
“We talked about not going one-on-one, having some pride and guarding and not letting them just dribble down the lane and make layups. I was trying to challenge them to play at a higher level.”
Typical fanfare existed before the tip. The KU fans were up for it … as much as any crowd that has crammed into Allen this season. Then the excitement was reduced to one irate disposal of a clipboard, which failed to prevent a quick knockout punch by the Jayhawks.
The final margin (11 points) was actually the closest during KU’s recent nine-year string of home wins in the series with K-State.
That tells you everything you need to know about any visit by the Cats into the building. They dropped the previous eight meetings by almost 20 points on average. The last time they won here, Jim Wooldridge was in his last season as K-State’s coach.
There is never any mystery. Kansas makes sure of that, even when it is content to play out the clock.
“In the second half, all it was was a trade-basket game,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I didn’t think there was a whole lot of energy from either team.”
All of it got zapped at the beginning. No surprise, really. Annual side bets when KU hosts this matchup hinge on which TV timeout the outcome has been sealed. On Saturday, that happened to be the under-12. Of the first half. Quite common, actually.
In previous games this season KU surrendered big leads — 21 points (Utah) and 20 (Oklahoma) — before holding on to beat both opponents.
K-State, however, was never capable of squeezing off that kind of rally.
According to Weber, it was numbers and players like those that beat K-State on Saturday, not the mystique of the building or anything like that.
“They do it to everybody,” Weber said of the early burst that paced KU to victory. “You have to give credit to Coach Self and what he's done with this group. To be (7-1) at the turn in the best league in the country, it's a mixture of some veterans and Frank Mason's involvement and Kelly (Oubre, 8 points, 9 rebounds) and making some strides.”
At times, Kansas coach Bill Self says, “we can really, really, really guard.”
Other times, KU’s defensive game is “average,” which in Self-speak is code for unacceptable.
Such peaks and dips and ruts and spurts are to be expected in the course of a season, naturally — but Self was talking about a more compressed time frame.
“Those type of things (change) in between timeouts,” he said, laughing as he made reference to a 1976 film. “I mean, it’s like … ‘Sybil’; we’ve got multiple personalities … within the game.”
This sort of volatility theoretically might make Kansas more vulnerable than usual.
Only you would never have known that Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
Because that tendency was trumped by the singular personality of the Sunflower Showdown, which has disintegrated into a rivalry in name only after KU’s 49th win over Kansas State in their last 53 meetings and 20th in the last 21 at Allen Fieldhouse.
The latest anticlimax here, a 68-57 Jayhawks victory, was so numbingly inevitable that near game’s end KU fans only briefly and half-heartedly mustered and sustained a chant of, “This Is Our State.”
Same as it ever was, at least in modern history.
KC Star Gregorian
1/31/15, 3:32 PM
I am ridiculously excited for @CycloneMBB at @KUHoops on Monday night. #Big12MBB This feels like it will be a heavyweight bout!
"We owe them," Kelly Oubre Jr. said.
"We owe them," Wayne Selden said.
The "them" is No. 15 Iowa State, the "we" is No. 9 Kansas and the cage is the venerable Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night, the tail end of National Super Bowl Hangover Recovery Day.
"They beat us. That simple. They beat us," Oubre offered Saturday following KU's 68-57 win over Kansas State. "We took our first loss in the Big 12 (to Iowa State), and we owe them one.
"We could be undefeated right now. That's the way I look at it. So we owe 'em one."
Save your strength, America.
The last time they touched gloves, the Cyclones (16-4, 6-2) ran the Jayhawks (18-3, 7-1) out of the gym. Literally. Team Hoiberg collected 21 fast-break points, Team Self had just 10 and KU fell at Hilton Coliseum, 86-81, on Jan. 17, its second setback to Iowa State in 10 months.
"Transition buckets," Selden said when asked what images from Ames wound up seared into his brain. "And them getting a lot of easy buckets. You know, that's one thing we really don't want to do is give anybody easy buckets, and we gave them easy points."
Fox Sports Keeler
1/31/15, 9:43 AM
JVG & Mark Jackson calling KU at OSU next Saturday…
1/31/15, 10:06 PM
On side note: Bill Self was genuinely pumped at practice yesterday for Andrew Wiggins' success. Big smile on his face when talked about him.
“I love a big stage,” Wiggins said. “I love playing in the spotlight — a lot of fans, big crowd.”
… Every missed shot [by Love] was cheered as loudly as a dunk by Wiggins, who gave James everything he had. That included out-running him to a loose ball and throwing down a dunk to get a rare sellout crowd roaring.
“He showed tonight that he’s got potential, that he’s going to be a superstar in this league,” Saunders said. “He rises to the moment. He’s not afraid of the moment.”
“He’s a great talent,” James said. “A great talent. I think he has a very, very good feel for the game. That’s good to see. He’s really calm. He played the game the right way tonight. He didn’t make many mistakes. I don’t know, as a rookie you expect that, but I think he’s grown each month in the season as far as a rookie. So they got a good piece.”
He’s shown that talent even more against the Cavs this season, averaging 30 points in the two meetings. That shows he has the internal engine to be great too, which is further evidence to support his destined success.
“It’s always a motivation game against Cleveland, especially when they have one of the all-time great in LeBron,” Wiggins said. “That’s motivation for me.”
James, in turn, drew motivation from Wiggins, as he scored 16 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win. At one point, James scored 11 straight for the Cavs. He outscored Wiggins 16-2 and the entire Wolves’ team 16-11 in the fourth.
“It’s fun when you have great competition,” James said. “I remember when I was a rookie and I played against T-Mac [Tracy McGrady] on Christmas Day. And I played against Kobe [Bryant], I played against A.I. [Allen Iverson], and all those guys I was shadowing in the league at that time. I remember how I got up to play those guys, so I know what he was feeling.”
When you watch a great player, you can always tell when they are locked in. Call it being "in the zone" or whatever you like, but Wiggins appeared focused in a way we had not yet seen. If the Cavaliers were going to put J.R. Smith on him, he was going to beat them, and he did.
It wasn't until Wiggins had finished the first quarter with 12 points that the Cavaliers finally countered with James on defense to stop the bleeding.
Defensively, Wiggins held his own against James early in the game. James, with the size and experience advantage, gave Wiggins everything thing he had, and the rookie held his own. James still had a big night with 36 points, six rebounds and five assists, but he is also as unguardable as they come. For Wiggins, the wiry teenager, to make him work as much as he did was commendable.
"I felt like he was competitive; you've got to be in this league," Wiggins said when asked if he thought James was trying to make a statement against him. "In this league, it's a no-mercy league; it's kill or be killed."
With 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting at the half, Wiggins had single-handedly shifted the focus from Love to himself. It was impressive to hear the crowd roar with every made basket as Wiggins and James traded blows like prizefighters.
At the end of the night, Wiggins had 33 points on 14-of-15 shooting and four steals, and few were talking about Love. Certainly, no one was comparing the two. Instead, the focus was right where it should have been: on basketball, and more importantly, how bright the Timberwolves' future appears with Wiggins.
“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
"It'll be fast-paced," said TCU guard Trey Zeigler, who wisely didn't pick a winner when asked.
Iowa State beat the Jayhawks by five points last month in Ames. The Cyclones will go into the Phog with confidence, especially after coming off one of their finer second halves of the season.
Saturday was Iowa State 35, TCU 33 until Georges Niang picked up his game, with 17 of his game-best 23 points coming in the final 20 minutes. He played so well that TCU coach Trent Johnson called him the best all-around player in the country.
Des Moines Register
A season that began with hope and promise has been marred with poor results and losses, bringing the Texas Longhorns and their fans crashing back down to Earth. As Texas Basketball dropped their third game in a row to a ranked Big-12 opponent we can see the results of this litmus test, and they aren’t good.
#19 Texas Basketball fell 83-60 against #20 Baylor, leaving the Longhorns 3-5 in Big-12 games and near the cellar in the Big-12 standings. Texas’ days as a ranked team may be numbered as they continue to lose games to ranked opponents. Texas battled so hard against Iowa State last Monday scoring 61 points in the second half, but didn’t bring that fight to Waco scoring only 60 points the entire game.
Saturday night’s Bedlam game started out like plenty of other road games recently for Oklahoma.
A quick deficit, followed by plenty of time spent scratching and clawing to recover.
It continued like recent games at Kansas and at Baylor, with the Sooners coming back to take the lead in the second half.
That’s where the script took a divergence, though.
This time, the Sooners finished, getting defensive stops late, hitting free throws and making plays as No. 24 Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 64-56 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I think the first couple games we lost at the end, we didn’t execute like we were supposed to and tonight we took care of the ball except for, I think, one turnover at the end,” Sooners forward Ryan Spangler said. “Took care of the ball, got good shots, got to the free-throw line and made free throws. That’s the way you’ve got to do to win a game and that’s what we did.”
No. 18 Northern Iowa let No. 12 Wichita State know the Shockers are no longer the only dominant team in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Seth Tuttle scored a career-high 29 points and the Panthers trounced Wichita State 70-54 on Saturday, snapping the Shockers’ 27-game regular season winning streak in league play.
…This was the first Valley game between ranked opponents in 33 years…
…The Shockers had actually beaten 30 straight Valley opponents entering play, as they also won three games and the league tournament title in St. Louis last March. “We won 30 in a row. I’ve got to start a new streak,” Marshall said. (“I” gregggggg? There is no "I" in team.)
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