LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas shot the ball from 3-point range better than it ever has in its illustrious history.
Once the Jayhawks found their rhythm from deep, their offense was virtually impossible to stop. Texas Southern coach Mike Davis was in awe.
“I’ve never seen a team pass the ball and shoot the basketball as well as they do,” Davis said.
Svi Mykhailiuk scored 21 points, Udoka Azubuike added 20 and No. 3 Kansas cruised to a resounding 114-71 victory over Texas Southern on Tuesday night in the Jayhawks’ first game of the Hoophall Miami Invitational.
They got after it early, as with just under 5 minutes remaining in the first half Lagerald Vick hit the team’s seventh 3 of the half — a program record. A similar feat was achieved in the second half, when Devonte’ Graham hit No. 17, the record for 3s in a game.
“It’s super fun,” Graham said. “Being active, sharing the ball, it’s contagious. Just making that extra pass, and when the ball’s going through the hoop like that, it just feeds energy into us.”
Graham, Vick and Marcus Garrett all finished with a double-double for Kansas, as Vick posted 19 points and 10 rebounds, Graham had 17 points and 11 assists, and Garrett logged 13 points and 11 boards.
Texas Southern’s Demontrae Jefferson led all scorers with 24 points. Donte Clark added 19 and had a game-high 14 rebounds as well.
Davis has seen plenty of high-powered offenses run by Bill Self, as the pair used to meet regularly when they coached at Illinois and Indiana, respectively. After watching a performance like this, he has no doubts over his former rival’s future chances.
“I’ve been around for a long time,” Davis said. “If you play basketball like they play basketball, they’ll be cutting the net down in April.”
Kansas continues to thrive without freshman Billy Preston, who remains benched as the school investigates a single-car on-campus incident involving him earlier in the month. His absence has left Self with just two big men, but the lack of depth has yet to truly hurt the Jayhawks.
Texas Southern is still searching for its first win after facing a daunting schedule to start the season. Even though the Tigers have yet to find themselves in the win column, games against bigger schools like Kansas will continue to provide invaluable experience regardless of the score.
“It was a great opportunity for us,” Davis said. “We leave tomorrow to go play Clemson on Friday, and this game right here will get us ready for our next game.”
Azubuike earned a technical foul midway through the first half when he hung on the rim following a thunderous dunk.
“He deserved it,” Self said of the technical. “I told the official — he said ‘I hate calling that,’ I said ‘but you got to call it.’ I mean, that’s good for us … he has a bad habit of doing that, and I was glad they called it because that may end up not costing us where we really need it, in a close game.”
While Self agreed that the Jayhawks shot the ball about as well as they possibly could have, he wasn’t overtly enthused by the record, as per usual.
“I couldn’t be happier. I think we should celebrate for a week,” Self said. “My reaction is we made shots. That doesn’t mean anything to me.”
MODEL FOR SUCCESS
“Love the way they play,” Davis said of the Jayhawks. “That’s the way I want my team to play. When we get to January and play in our conference, that’s the way we want to be playing basketball.”
Kansas will continue Hoophall Miami Invitational play Friday night with another home game against Oakland, which has already dropped its first two games of the tournament.
Texas Southern will once again face an uphill battle for its first victory as it travels to Clemson on Friday.
Kansas finished the game with five players in double figures, including Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman (17 points) and center Udoka Azubuike (16). On the other side freshman Michael Porter Jr. paced four Tigers in double figures with 21 points while younger brother Jontay grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds off the bench.
However despite the excitement for the two rivals being on the same court in any capacity, Sunday’s meeting was different given the circumstances. Following the game Kansas head coach Bill Self was asked about the possibility of the two teams meeting in a regular season game, and he maintained the stance he’s held since Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC.
“I’m not going to say never, but I don’t think there’s been any change in our position as far as the university goes,” Self said following Sunday’s exhibition. “I’m the spokesman, I guess, on this but trust me, I’m not the only one that feels that way.”
While it would certainly benefit college basketball if Kansas and Missouri were to renew acquaintances down the line, it is understandable that Self — and maybe some others on the Kansas side of things — would have reservations. The programs, even with the arrival of Cuonzo Martin in Columbia and the freshman class led by the aforementioned Michael Porter Jr., are in different places right now.
The Jayhawks have their sights set on a 14th consecutive Big 12 title and a run at their first national title since 2008, Missouri is looking to fast-track a rebuilding process after struggling mightily under former head coach Kim Anderson. Yet with that being said, the state of the two athletic departments during realignment likely has more to do with the teams not playing each other.
Missouri was a school with options earlier this decade before joining the SEC, but that was not the case for Kansas. Had the Big 12 broken up as some believed would be the case, where would the Jayhawks have landed? Fortunately for the school the Big 12 survived the realignment craze, losing four schools (Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big Ten) and adding TCU and West Virginia to get their membership number to ten.
Given that, the best bet for college basketball fans who want to see this rivalry played during the regular season may be to hope for the programs wind up in the same in-season tournament. Even better, how about the same NCAA tournament region?
No. 1 Kansas beats No. 21 Iowa State for 11th straight win
Having already wrapped up the Big 12 regular season title, the program’s 12th consecutive, No. 1 Kansas entered Saturday’s game against No. 21 Iowa State looking to complete an undefeated run through the home portion of their schedule. The Cyclones were competitive throughout, but in the end the Jayhawks simply had too many options as they won 85-78 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas outscored Iowa State 17-7 over the final 5:09, limiting the Cyclones to just one made field goal during that stretch. On Senior Day it was senior forward Perry Ellis who led the way offensively, scoring his team-best 22 points on shots from both inside and out while also grabbing seven rebounds. Bill Self’s team doesn’t lack for depth or talent, and both attributes were on display during the game’s decisive run.
Wayne Selden Jr. and Devonté Graham added 16 points apiece, and five different Jayhawks scored during the run that decided the outcome. While there can be a tendency to look for a headliner capable of taking over a game this time of year, there’s also great value in having multiple players capable of stepping forward on any given night. That’s a luxury Kansas has, and it’s one reason why they’re seen as a favorite to cut down the nets in Houston.
Kansas found quality looks offensively and took care of the basketball in the second half, shooting better than 58 percent from the field in the game’s final 20 minutes. That can wear an opponent down, especially one that lacks depth like Iowa State.
The Cyclones received good minutes from their front court, most notably Georges Niang and Jameel McKay as they combined to score 41 points. But point guard Monté Morris shot just 3-for-10 from the field in scoring his 13 points, and Abdel Nader was relatively quiet as well. Given how Kansas executes offensively, everyone has to be clicking on all cylinders if you’re going to leave Allen Fieldhouse with a win. But there are positives to be taken from this defeat if you’re Iowa State, most notably the play of McKay.
The senior forward, who’s an incredibly important figure for Iowa State as they look to make a run in the NCAA tournament, has been a bit of an enigma at times this season. There was the two-game suspension served last month, and there have been times on the floor where he wasn’t providing the energy Iowa State needs from the pivot to make up for their lack of interior depth.
If McKay plays as he can consistently, Iowa State has the tools needed to make some noise. They can win games with McKay being a minor (or non-existent) cog in the attack, but the task becomes a lot more difficult for Iowa State when that’s the case.
Kansas has no such question marks at this time, as they’re playing their best basketball of the season at the right time. Winners of 11 straight, the Jayhawks are fully capable of extending that streak into early April.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Kansas coach Bill Self was only slightly happier Wednesday night than Kansas State counterpart Bruce Weber, and the only reason for that was his seventh-ranked Jayhawks had won.
“I’ll be candid,” Self said after the 77-59 victory, “they outplayed us. They beat us to loose balls, they outhustled us. … That’s about as soft as I can remember one of our teams playing.”
Perry Ellis scored 19 points, and Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte Graham added 10 points apiece, to bail out the Jayhawks (18-4, 6-3 Big 12) on a night they were dominated on the glass.
Kansas managed two offensive rebounds while getting outrebounded 36-21 by an undersized opponent.
“It wasn’t a well-played game on our part at all,” Self said. “But I think K-State, they came ready to play. I thought their defense was really, really good. I think they shrunk the floor on ball screens, they control the glass. … For some reason we were still ahead.”
That reason was probably the Wildcats’ 23 turnovers.
“One of the things I put on the board was, `Make simple basketball plays,”‘ Weber said. “We try to do too much sometimes and don’t let the game come to us.”
Stephen Hurt had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Wildcats, who have not won at Kansas since 2006 – three coaches ago. Wesley Iwundu added 15 points but also had six turnovers.
“Coach said, `You can’t let offense determine defense,’ and that happened to us,” Iwundu said.
Not in the first 15 minutes. That part of the game belonged to Kansas State, which clogged the lane and forced a handful of early turnovers of its own to take an early 18-10 lead.
“We can’t do that,” Graham said. “We have to come out and know everyone is coming after our heads.”
Eventually, Ellis and Mykhailiuk knocked down 3s to help start a first-half run, and Frank Mason III countered his balky shot with some hustle that created plays for others. After one hard landing, the guard got up to find the white sleeve covering his right calf and knee soaked through with blood.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats slowly began to lose their composure.
After Mason’s basket with 12 seconds to go, Hurt turned the ball over on the inbounds play, sending Weber into an uproar. He stormed across the court after one of the officials and appeared to be close to getting a technical foul before assistants reined him in.
“I tried to keep my poise. And for 16 minutes, I told the official, I kept it to myself,” Weber said. “You have to fight through it and be tougher than that.”
Then again, Weber wasn’t any happier when Brannen Greene knocked down a 3-pointer and was fouled, converting a rare four-point play with 2 seconds left that gave Kansas a 39-29 lead.
Kansas State trimmed its deficit to 47-45 on a basket by D.J. Johnson with just under 12 minutes to go, but Wayne Selden III answered with a 3 from the wing and a layup off an alley-oop pass.
That kicked off one more big run that allowed the Jayhawks to seize control of the game.
“It was amazing to me, we were up 10 at the half and I felt like it was a tie,” Self said. “It was one of those games, I looked up and I was surprised we had the lead.”
Kansas State guard Kamau Stokes will have surgery on his right knee Thursday. He was hurt in last Saturday’s win over Mississippi. “He’ll probably be out for a while,” Weber said without giving details on the nature of the surgery. “It’s a miracle that he could come back (this season).”
Kansas State: Johnson had nine points before fouling out. He played 12 minutes. … The Wildcats finished with a 36-21 rebounding advantage. … Kansas State is 1-6 in road games.
Kansas: C Hunter Mickelson did not play while dealing with a high ankle sprain. … Landen Lucas, who fouled out, had eight points and six rebounds. … Kansas was 16 of 22 from the free throw line.
Kansas State plays No. 1 Oklahoma on Saturday.
Kansas visits TCU on Saturday.
No. 2 Kansas begins pursuit of 12th straight Big 12 title
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Rarely can Kansas play the Rodney Dangerfield card.
After all, this is the program founded by the game’s inventor, and that has Dr. James Naismith’s name on its floor. It’s the one that counts Phog Allen, Larry Brown and Roy Williams among its former coaches, and has five national title banners in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse.
No respect? No chance.
Except perhaps in this respect: On Saturday, the second-ranked Jayhawks begin pursuit of a 12th straight conference championship, a feat matched only by the UCLA teams of the 1960s and `70s.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that people take the streak for granted,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I think our fans do. I think nationally, it has not got the respect in a lot of ways it deserves. But I also understand that what gets most of the attention now is what you do in the postseason, as opposed to the regular season. I understand that.”
Still, the remarkable string of Big 12 titles means something at Kansas.
Step outside the home locker room, turn right and head toward the Phog’s floor. There is a graphic pasted on the wall that shows each of the 11 rings won by previous teams.
There’s enough diamonds to make Marilyn Monroe happy in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
“What these players have done over time, and with so many different combinations and all those things in what is arguably as good a league as there is in the country, it’s pretty remarkable,” Self said. “I’m real proud of it.”
It is difficult to put “the Streak” into proper perspective.
When it began in 2005 with a shared title in Self’s second season on the sideline, current Kansas freshman Carlton Bragg was 9 years old. The team was led by a senior guard, Aaron Miles, who these days looks resplendent in a button-down suit as part of the Jayhawks’ staff.
Twitter did not exist. Nor did the iPhone. Lance Armstrong was still a hero to millions, Barack Obama was still a young senator from Illinois and Pluto was still a planet.
“Faces have changed but expectations and results haven’t,” Self said. “That’s one thing that I probably take the most pride in is that the kids, regardless of who you lost, it’s kind of the next man up, and that mantra – they’ve delivered. I take great pride in the consistency.”
Especially at a program that is constantly losing players early to the NBA, including one-and-done stars such as Andrew Wiggins that leave massive voids to be filled each spring.
Three times, the Jayhawks have kept their streak going with five new starters.
“Nobody wants to be the team that doesn’t win the 12th year in a row,” junior guard Frank Mason III said with conviction. “That’s something we take a lot of pride in.”
Some years, Kansas has kept it going easily. Other years have been a struggle.
The first two titles were shared with Oklahoma and Texas, the latter coming after a 3-4 start. When the Jayhawks won it all in 2008, they tied the Longhorns for the league title and were the second seed in the Big 12 tournament due to tiebreakers. Kansas tied Kansas State for the championship in 2013, then won it outright with five new starters the following year.
During the streak, the Jayhawks went a combined 28-0 against former Big 12 members Nebraska and Colorado. They’ve never lost to Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse, where they are 87-5 against league foes the past 11 seasons. They are 31-6 against Oklahoma and Iowa State during that stretch, the teams thought to be the biggest threats to ending more than a decade of dominance this year.
“The reality is, year-in and year-out, we have had as good of players as anybody. And so when you have as good of players as anybody, you should win games,” Self said. “Certainly this year, though, you can make a case that the teams in our league are every bit as talented.”
The third-ranked Sooners, whom the Jayhawks face Monday night, are 11-0. The No. 11 Cyclones have lost just once. Ditto for No. 19 West Virginia, while No. 23 Baylor has lost only twice.
Even rebuilding Texas Tech (10-1) and Kansas State (10-2) are off to good starts.
“A key in my opinion of winning the league will be holding serve at home, which obviously is no lock. And, of course, you’ve got to steal some on the road,” Self said. “The other thing I think is going to be very important for players to understand – and coaches – is it’s a long grind.”
One that Kansas has understood perfectly 11 straight years.
We’re labeling this as the nation’s top back courts, but truthfully, it’s the nation’s top perimeters. That’s why you’ll see guys like Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown, small forwards that will play the four a lot this season, listed here.
One thing we realized making this list: There are an inordinate number of talented guards in college basketball this season, especially those that will get labeled as lead guards. So many, in fact, that the likes of Miami, Iowa State and Texas A&M didn’t even crack the top 15.
They don’t rebuild in Lexington they reload, and John Calipari has quite the perimeter rotation at his disposal despite losing three of his top four guards from a season ago. The returnee is 5-foot-9 sophomore Tyler Ulis, who has emerged as this team’s leader. But he isn’t the only guard in the group who operates will with the ball in his hands, as both Briscoe and Murray will also have ample opportunities to create offensively. The 6-foot-4 Murray was one of the standouts at the Pan-American Games in Canada this summer, as he went off to lead the hosts past the United States in the semifinals. Matthews and Mulder aren’t slouches either, giving Kentucky additional talent and depth with their presence.
2. Wichita State (Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet, Conner Frankamp, Landry Shamet, Evan Wessel)
Baker and VanVleet are two of the nation’s best at their respective positions and they’re going to appear on multiple preseason (and end of season, for that matter) All-America teams as a result. Wessel gives this group added toughness, and Kanas transfer Conner Frankamp will give Wichita State another capable shooter when he becomes eligible in December. The 6-foot-4 Shamet is a Top 100 recruit who will fight for minutes now and be a key figure for the Shockers in the years to come.
3. Indiana (James Blackmon Jr., Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft)
This group is one of the reasons why the Hoosiers will enter the 2015-16 season ranked, with senior point guard Yogi Ferrell leading the way. Ferrell led the Hoosiers in scoring and assists a season ago, and he also led the team in made three-pointers. Blackmon should be better as a sophomore after tailing off somewhat down the stretch last year and the same goes for classmate Johnson, with Zeisloft coming off of a year in which he shot 45 percent from beyond the arc.
4. North Carolina (Marcus Paige, Justin Jackson, Joel Berry II, Nate Britt, Theo Pinson, Kenny Williams)
Paige enters his senior season as one of the the best guards in the country, as he’s comfortable as either a scorer or a distributor for the Tar Heels. Jackson, who was a key contributor for North Carolina as a freshman, looks poised for a breakout year as he moves into the starting spot left vacant by J.P. Tokoto, and classmate Pinson is healthy after dealing with injuries last season. Both Berry and Britt are capable contributors but they have to get better as playmakers, thus relieving some of the pressure on Paige. The one thing this group was missing a season ago was another shooter to go with Paige, and if called upon Williams has the ability to be that guy.
Irvin is working his way back to 100 percent after undergoing back surgery in early September, and his return will make Michigan’s perimeter attack one of the deepest and most talented groups in the country. LeVert was projected by some to be an All-America caliber player prior to last season, and Walton and Irvin are also players capable of earning postseason honors. Albrecht will also be a factor, with Abdur-Rahkman, Chatman and Dawkins gaining valuable experience as freshmen due to the injuries that sidelined LeVert and Walton. The “wild card” is Robinson, who sat out last season after averaging 17.1 points per game as a freshman at Division III Williams College in 2013-14.
Lon Kruger’s perimeter rotation won’t lack for experience as reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Hield and Cousins are both seniors and Woodard will be a junior. Walker played 10.6 minutes per game as a junior last season and figures to be in a similar reserve role. As for the freshmen, both James and Odomes are players who will look to earn minutes but ultimately benefit down the line from competing with (and against, in practice) the veteran guards.
Big East Co-Player of the Year Arcidiacono is back for his senior season, with Big East tournament MOP Josh Hart appearing poised to take a significant step forward as a junior. And then there are the freshmen, most notably a lead guard in Brunson who enters college as one of the best at his position. DiVincenzo and Bridges, with the latter having redshirted last season, give Villanova additional skill and athleticism on the wing and Booth gives Wright another point guard to call upon.
8. Duke (Brandon Ingram, Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Luke Kennard, Derryck Thornton Jr.)
Allen, who stepped forward in a big way in the national title game, returns for his sophomore season and Jones gives Duke an experienced wing option who’s a solid defender and capable perimeter shooter. Given the personnel losses the three freshmen will be especially important this year, with Thornton being asked to take over at the point and Ingram being a slender wing who can score from anywhere on the court. As for Kennard, he’s good enough to see time at both guard spots, and given Duke’s numbers he’ll likely have to do just that.
9. Maryland (Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, Jared Nickens, Rasheed Sulaimon, Dion Wiley, Jaylen Brantley)
The Terrapins did lose leader Dez Wells from last season’s NCAA tournament team, but most of the perimeter rotation returns led by preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Melo Trimble. Trimble’s a handful with the ball in his hands, making sound decisions in ball screen situations and getting to the foul line at a very high rate. Layman, who took a step forward as a junior, has the potential to be even better as a senior with Nickens and Wiley looking to earn more minutes as sophomores. And the newcomers, Brantley and Sulaimon, will also contribute with the latter giving Maryland another quality perimeter shooter (and he’s a good defender too).
10. California (Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Jabari Bird, Stephen Domingo, Jordan Mathews, Sam Singer)
Depth, which was an issue all over the court for the Golden Bears a season ago, won’t be a problem in 2015-16. Wallace, one of the nation’s top point guards, leads the way with a trio of juniors (Bird, Mathews and Singer) also having a wealth of experience. Add in two talented newcomers in Brown, who could see time at the four in smaller lineups, and Georgetown transfer Domingo and head coach Cuonzo Martin has a host of options at his disposal.
11. Virginia (Malcolm Brogdon, London Perrantes, Marial Shayok, Devon Hall, Evan Nolte, Darius Thompson)
The Cavaliers have to account for the departure of Justin Anderson on the perimeter, but it certainly helps to have veterans Brogdon and Perrantes back on campus. Brodgon was a first team All-ACC selection a season ago, and his skill on both ends of the floor merits All-America mention this season. Perrantes is a solid floor general who can do even more from a scoring standpoint. Nolte and Shayok were rotation players last season, and Hall and Thompson (who redshirted after transferring in from Tennessee) will also compete for minutes.
12. Michigan State (Denzel Valentine, Eron Harris, Tum Tum Nairn, Bryn Forbes, Matt McQuaid, Kyle Ahrens, Alvin Ellis)
This group is led by one of the nation’s most versatile players in Valentine, who can play anywhere from the one to the three depending on match-ups. Forbes should be more consistent in his second season with the program, and Nairn looks poised to step forward as the next in a long line of high-level point guards to play for Izzo. Harris is a transfer from West Virginia who many expect to hit the ground running, and Ellis will also look to solidify his spot in the rotation. As for the freshmen, they’ll look to carve out roles in what is a deep rotation.
Ryan Boatright’s moved on, but UConn’s perimeter rotation is more balanced (and deeper) than it was a season ago. Part of that is due to their additions, with the explosive Adams and experienced Gibbs joining the ranks. As for holdovers, head coach Kevin Ollie has those as well with Calhoun being a senior, Cassell and Purvis (who put together some solid outings down the stretch last season) being juniors and the versatile Hamilton (AAC Rookie of the Year) being a sophomore.
14. Kansas (Wayne Selden Jr., Frank Mason III, Svi Mykhailiuk, Devonté Graham, Brannen Greene, LaGerald Vick)
This ranking could prove to be low at season’s end, depending upon (in part) the progress made by Selden. The junior played very well at the World University Games in South Korea this summer, and if he can build on that play the Jayhawks will undoubtedly have one of the top guards in the country. Mason gives them an absolute pitbull at the point, with Graham being another player capable of running the point. And in Green, Mykhailiuk and Vick, Kansas won’t lack for depth on the wings either.
15. Florida State (Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Dwayne Bacon, Devon Bookert, Montay Brandon, Terance Mann, Malik Beasley, Benji Bell, Robbie Berwick)
While he’ll once again be one of the top guards in the ACC, Rathan-Mayes will have some much-needed help on the perimeter. Bookert and Brandon give Florida State two experienced seniors, Berwick saw solid minutes as a freshman, and their newcomers arrive on campus amidst much fanfare. Bacon may be the marquee freshman, but Beasley and Mann will also compete for minutes with junior college transfer Bell looking to do the same.