COURTESY: KU Sports Information
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Thirty minutes in, the big play that Kansas fans await each gameday came through via a Kelly Oubre, Jr. breakaway dunk delivered by a grinning Wayne Selden, Jr. Kansas downed Washburn, 85-53, in the unofficial start to the 2014-15 men’s basketball season Monday night inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Squaring off in exhibition play for the first time since 2012 and the 40th time overall, No. 5 Kansas and Washburn were heartily welcomed by the Allen Fieldhouse crowd, eager to watch the latest edition of the Jayhawks in action. High-octane recruit Cliff Alexander played to his hype, leading the Jayhawks with a game-high-tying 14 points on 6-for-8 accuracy and coming in just one rebound short of a double-double. His three blocks, all in the first half, led his team’s solid defensive effort as the Jayhawks chalked up nine rejections and held the Ichabods under 30 percent shooting.
KU’s other freshman All-American, Oubre was also solid in his debut with nine points, including his thunder dunk inside the 12-minute mark. By night’s end, all 15 Jayhawks checked in and 12 scored en route to a 30-for-53 field-goal performance (56.6 percent). Nine of those came from behind the arc, only one shy of KU’s best three-point total a year ago (10 vs. Iowa State, 1/29/14).
Sophomore guard Frank Mason started the game at point, flanked on either side by Selden and freshman Devonte’ Graham, the only newcomer to crack the starting lineup. All-Big 12 returnee Perry Ellis reclaimed his starting spot, while junior forward Jamari Traylor would have registered his second career start had the game counted.
Mason looked the part at floor general, dishing out a game-high seven assists to just one turnover while turning in 13 points with only one missed shot on the night. Sophomore forward Landen Lucas posted a perfect 4-for-4 show to tally nine points and six rebounds. He, Traylor, Alexander and junior forward Hunter Mickelson all swatted multiple shots in the win.
On the opposing bench, senior guard Korey Fisher tied Alexander for the game’s lead with 14 points. He hit two of Washburn’s three three-pointers on Monday as the Ichabods were held to 3-for-20 from long range.
Senior guard Kyle Wiggins connected on a long jumper to put his team ahead 2-1, but the early lead would be the Ichabods’ last. Selden answered with a three on the other end to fuel an 8-0 run, capped by Graham’s first fastbreak layup as a Jayhawk. Not 15 seconds after he checked in, Alexander turned KU’s run to 12-straight points with back-to-back buckets. Halfway through the opening 20 minutes, Ellis already had a three-pointer to his credit and four of KU’s five freshmen had checked into the game. Like Alexander, Oubre also wasted no time collecting his first basket as he drained a three from the corner in hurry.
The rookies shared their night of firsts with Mickelson, who at long last heard his named called after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. He scored a put-back layup, a turnaround hook shot and blocked a shot to power KU’s lead past the 20-point plateau. Moments later, a three from Mason pushed it over 25 points.
Three minutes remained in the first half when a runner through the lane by Fisher finally put the Ichabods in double-digits. By halftime, KU’s defense had taken its toll, pestering Washburn with seven blocks and five steals. While Kansas shot 52 percent in first frame, the Jayhawks forced the Ichabods to miss 25 of their 30 first-half shots to take a commanding 42-13 lead to the lockerroom.
Scoring was slower to start the second half as nearly five minutes ticked away before free throws from Ellis and Mason saw KU eclipse 50 points. The ‘Svi for Three’ call from the PA announcer rang out for the first of, what the Jayhawk fan base hopes many, times this season after freshman guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk connected from three-point territory, and the Jayhawks found themselves ahead by 30 points, 59-29.
Firmly in command, Kansas utilized various lineups for the rest of the night – all of which are likely to appear in the regular season. Graham spent some time in the point guard spot and fired off five late points, before Evan Manning, Tyler Self and Josh Pollard replaced the backcourt for the final minutes of the 85-53 win.
Kansas will conclude exhibition play when it plays host to Emporia State on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. (Central) and the game can be seen on Jayhawk IMG Television, ESPN Full Court and ESPN3 outside the state of Kansas. KU will then open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 14 against UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. That contest is also on the Jayhawk IMG Television, ESPN Full Court and ESPN3 outside the state of Kansas.
KU STARTERS: So. Frank Mason, III, So. Wayne Selden, Jr., Fr. Devonte’ Graham, Jr. Jamari Traylor, Jr. Perry Ellis
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 37-3 (6-0 in exhibition play)
- Made Kansas 64-9 in exhibition games.
- Extended KU’s home exhibition winning streak to 41 games, dating back to the 1994 season.
- Upped Kansas’ all-time record against Washburn to 37-3 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 6-0 in exhibition games.
- Improved head coachBill Self to a 32-2 record in exhibition games at Kansas, including 23-0 in home exhibition contests.
- Made KU 55-4 in exhibition games inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- For the fourth time in the last five exhibition contests, Kansas scored at least 85 points. The 32 point margin of victory marked the third 30+ point winning margin in the last five contests.
- KU led by 29 points at the break (42-13). When leading at the half last season, Kansas was a sparkling 22-3. The 13 points at the break would’ve qualified as the lowest scored against KU in a half last season.
- Six different Jayhawks drained threes in the first half and Kansas finished the game with nine made treys. During the 2013-14 season, Kansas delivered a season-best 10 triples vs. Iowa State (1/29/14).
- Kansas held Washburn to 16.7 percent (5-of-30) shooting from the field in the first half, thanks in part to seven blocked shots. Washburn made just two field goals over the final 11:45 of the first half. Kansas finished the game with nine blocked shots.
- All 11 Jayhawks who saw action in the first half scored first-half points, led by freshman F Cliff Alexander who scored 10 points off the bench. Junior G Evan Manning joined the scoring with a free throw in the second half to give Kansas points from 12 different players.
- Kansas used a 9-0 run to erase Washburn’s only lead of the game (2-1), a stretch early in the first half that saw the Jayhawks hit four consecutive field goals by four different players. The streak of four made buckets followed an 0-for-3 start.
- Sophomore GBrannen Greene and freshman F Cliff Alexander were the first players off the bench for Kansas, checking in at the 15:17 media timeout. It took Alexander less than 10 seconds to score his first bucket, a lay-up at 15:09.
- Frank Mason scored the first points for Kansas and the game, hitting the front end of a double-bonus opportunity at 19:04. Wayne Selden accounted for KU’s first field goal, a three-pointer at 17:31.
- Freshman F Cliff Alexander won the race to double digits, scoring his 10th point on an offensive put back with 5:37 left in the first half. Alexander drained five of his first six shot attempts. Washburn reached double digits 2:33 later with a little more than three minutes left in the half. The Chicago native finished with a game-high-tying 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
- Alexander swatted three Washburn shot attempts in the first half, to tie the fourth-best effort in exhibition play over the last 10 seasons.
- Alexander pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III became the game’s second scorer in double figures with a fast break lay-up with 8:49 left in the game. Mason chipped in 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting, including two three pointers.
- Mason III also led all players with seven assists and tied Landon Lucas as KU’s second-leading rebounder with six boards.
- Junior F Perry Ellis drained his first career exhibition three-pointer in the first half and has scored in all nine exhibition games he’s played in while at KU. Ellis was kept out of double figures for the first time in an exhibition game played in a country whose native language is English. Ellis had reached double figures in five straight exhibitions dating back to AMW France in Paris (8/11/12), but was held to nine Monday night.