COURTESY: KU Sports Information
LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Kansas defense was relentless in the opening half, allowing just seven Emporia State baskets, yet the Jayhawk offense needed time to catch up. The wait was worth it as KU ignited for 63 points in the final 20 minutes en route to an overwhelming 109-56 win at Allen Fieldhouse Tuesday night.
Despite a 21-point halftime advantage, Kansas came out of the break ready to change the lackluster offensive tempo. Sophomore guard Frank Mason III pulled the trigger on an alley-oop pass to sophomore guard Wayne Selden, Jr., for a dunk just 13 seconds into the half. Moments later, Selden was in on a trap at half court that forced the Hornets into an over-and-back turnover.
Just like that, the tempo was changed.
Freshman forward Cliff Alexander, who scored just four points in the opening frame, unleashed for three second-half dunks to light up the sold-out building. At halftime, five other Jayhawks had more points than the incoming Naismith High School Player of the Year. By night’s end, however, Alexander was the first Jayhawk to double-figures and finished with 12 points.
He wasn’t alone. Kansas was fair in the first half, scoring 46 points on 50 percent shooting, but went berserk in the next 20 minutes – hitting 66 percent from the floor (23-for-35). KU doubled its first-half scoring total in less than 14 minutes, while eight of its 15 players finished the game in double-figures. What resulted was the Jayhawks’ highest-scoring exhibition effort in 10 years (115-70 vs. Emporia State, 11/7/04).
Like Alexander, junior forward Perry Ellis was also slow to score in the first half, tallying only two points. He let loose for 11 points in 11 minutes in the final frame to tie for the team lead with 13 points. Fellow big man, sophomore Landen Lucas, missed just one from the floor (4-for-5) and once from the free throw line (5-for-6) to tie Ellis with a team-high 13 points.
Selden finished behind them with 12 points, all of which came in the second half. Redshirt junior forward Hunter Mickelson chalked up 11 points before becoming KU’s only foul-out victim and sophomore guard Frank Mason III hung up 11 points, as well. Guards Brannen Greene and Devonte’ Graham sparked an impressive 61 points off the bench with their 10 points apiece. Junior forward Jamari Traylor just missed the 10-point mark as his perfect 4-for-4 shooting left him with nine points.
Freshman guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk made his first start, albeit unofficial, marking the only change in the starting lineup from the Jayhawks’ first exhibition. The other changes, however, were more significant. Most notably, was the Jayhawks’ much improved free-throw accuracy as well as their rebound (45-29) and assist (26-6) margins.
By the end of the first half, the pesky Kansas defense held Emporia State to 7-of-26 shooting in the first half and a lowly 29 percent (15-for-51) for the game. Sophomore guard Jay Temaat actually led the floor with his 16 points, but he was the only Hornet in double-figures.
Three offensive rebounds in their first possession provided multiple opportunities for the Hornets to score the first points the night. ESU sophomore forward Terrence Sardin obliged with a put-back layup, while his team kept the Jayhawks off the board for nearly two-and-a-half minutes. In fact, neither team caught much fire early on. In the first 10 attempts on both sides, ESU made just two buckets, KU only four. The Jayhawks righted the ship, making 12 of their next 22 to finish the half at 50 percent shooting, thanks in large part to the input off the bench.
When Greene and Graham checked in and delivered a quick five-point burst, KU saw its first double-digit lead, but it wasn’t a lasting one until Hunter Mickelson found Kelly Oubre, Jr. sprinting toward the basket. The open look resulted in an easy two points for Oubre and a 20-8 lead midway through the first half. Emporia State would never get within single digits again.
Though Kansas built a lead that remained intact, it was slow to grow as more than two minutes passed with the same 20-8 score on the board. Adding to it, 10 minutes still remained in the first half when Emporia State was whistled for its seventh team foul to drag the opening frame out with bonus free throws. Kansas certainly converted – hitting 13-of-14 from the line – but the excitement was lacking.
Right on cue, Alexander slammed a Mickelson pass through the basket. Oubre swatted a shot into the hands of Graham, who laid it in on the other end and suddenly the Jayhawks broke open the game. Waiting it out, Graham let the final seconds tick away before driving the lane for the last bucket of the half and Kansas took a 46-25 lead to the lockerroom.
Head coach Bill Self and company flipped the switch during the break and came back out aggressive and ready to score. Not three minutes into the second half, Kansas shot out to a 30-point lead. The offense finally in gear, Greene knocked down and three, while Selden found Ellis for another lob-to-dunk pass. Meanwhile the Jayhawks were still money from the free throw line when Ellis connected on two more, putting KU up big, 60-28.
Mykhailiuk shot and missed four threes in the first half. Fittingly, he landed his first one of the night during the Jayhawks’ second-half fireworks show. Although it was the only ‘Svi for Three’ of the night, his trey doubled up the score, 84-42.
It was flat-out fun after that, watching eight different Jayhawks shoot their way to double-digits. All 15 Jayhawks saw time in the landslide, including junior guard Evan Manning who’s three-pointer put the finishing touches on KU’s 109-56 win.
Kansas will 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. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Jr. Jamari Traylor, Jr. Perry Ellis
SERIES INFO: Kansas leads 20-3 (7-0 in exhibition play)
- Made Kansas 65-9 in exhibition games.
- Extended KU’s home exhibition winning streak to 42 games, dating back to the 1994 season.
- Upped Kansas’ all-time record against Emporia State to 20-3 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 7-0 in exhibition games.
- Improved head coach Bill Self to a 33-2 record in exhibition games at Kansas, including 24-0 in home exhibition contests.
- Made KU 56-4 in exhibition games inside Allen Fieldhouse.
- Kansas reached triple digits for the first time in exhibition play since scoring 101 against Fort Hays State (101-52) on Nov. 8, 2011. It was KU’s 25th 100-point game in exhibition play (since 1978), including nine times under Bill Self.
- The 109 points were the most scored by a Kansas squad in exhibition play since pouring in 115 against Emporia State on Nov. 7, 2004.
- Eight Jayhawks turned in double digit scoring efforts, including Perry Ellis (13), Landen Lucas (13), Cliff Alexander (12), Wayne Selden, Jr. (12), Frank Mason III (11), Hunter Mickelson (11), Devonte Graham (10) and Brannen Greene (10).
- The Jayhawk front court was efficient from the field, connecting on 22-of-30 (73.3 percent) shot attempts in the game, including a 4-for-4 effort from Jamari Traylor and just one miss each on five attempts from Lucas and Mickelson.
- KU starters Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis combined for just two points in the game’s first 20 minutes, but the starting tandem scored four of the first six buckets of the second half and finished the game with 25 combined points.
- Kansas shot 65.7 percent (23-of-35) in the second half and finished a scorching 58.2 percent (39-of-67) for the game.
- Kansas led 46-25 at the break, holding the Hornets to a 26.9 percent (7-of-26) shooting percentage from the field. The Jayhawks used 31 bench points to push to the 21 point first-half lead.
- After hitting just 50 percent (16-of-32) of free throws attempted in the exhibition opener against Washburn, Kansas shot 92.9 percent (13-of-14) in the first half against Emporia State.
- That’s offensive – both teams combined to log more fouls in the first half (25) than made baskets (23).
- Ellis gave KU its first points, with his own use of the offensive glass, laying in a putback at the 17:37 mark.
- Terrence Sardin scored the game’s first points at 18:58 as the Hornets kept their first possession alive with three offensive rebounds. The two-point margin represented the Hornets’ largest advantage in the contest.
- After being held in single digits for the first time in an exhibition game on US soil against Washburn, junior F Perry Ellis tied for the team lead Tuesday night with 13 points, his sixth career double-digit scoring effort in exhibition play.
- Freshman F Cliff Alexander put in four-straight baskets, including three dunks, for Kansas early in the second half to reach double figures. He finished 6-of-10 from the field with 12 points.
- Alexander led all KU players with 26 points in exhibition play, and added 15 rebounds and four blocks in the two games.
- Sophomore F Landen Lucas chipped in 13 points 4-of-5 shooting from the field, finishing exhibition play a near-perfect 8-of-9 from the field with 10 boards and three blocks.
- Sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., missed both shot attempts and was held scoreless in the first half, but erupted for 12 points while hitting all five buckets in the game’s final 20 minutes. Selden dished out a game-best six assists.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III reached double digits for the second game in a row, dropping in 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including a three-pointer.