No. 9 Kansas tops K-State in Sunflower Showdown

Courtesy: Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. — A timely meeting, the 280th edition of the Sunflower Showdown, pitted No. 9/11 Kansas against Kansas State just two days after Kansas Day. Wichita, Kansas native Perry Ellis enjoyed every minute, chalking up a double-double by halftime and leading KU past KSU, 68-57, inside Allen Fieldhouse Saturday.

Kansas (18-3, 7-1) controlled the first half against Kansas State (12-10, 5-4), making it possible to withstand the Wildcats’ much stronger attack in the final frame. The victory not only strengthened KU’s footing atop the Big 12 standings, but also marked the 550th win of head coach Bill Self’s 22-year career. After Saturday, 24 of those W’s have come at the expense of Kansas State.

Ellis, the only Kansan in the starting lineup on either side, led the way for the Jayhawks with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and paced the floor with a game-high 12 rebounds. He set the tone in the opening 20 minutes, busting out 13 points and 10 boards by halftime.

Sophomore guards Wayne Selden, Jr., and Brannen Greene cranked out all six of KU’s threes by themselves. Selden came through on both ends with 14 points and a career-high four blocks. Greene, the sharp-shooter, missed just once as he went 4-for-5 and finished with 11 points. Fellow sophomore Frank Mason III was uncharacteristic with a 3-for-12 shooting performance and no points at halftime – yet still managed to extend his double-digit scoring streak with his 10 points in the second half.

Self stuck with his eight-man lineup for the fourth time this year, but all eight played major roles. Every Jayhawk that checked in on Saturday contributed at least one assist, pulled down at least one rebound and all but one scored. KU ran the rebound column, 42-37, and outshot the visiting Wildcats, 44.8 percent to 33.3 percent.

On the opposing bench, senior center Thomas Gipson and sophomore guard Marcus Foster carried the load with 19 points apiece. Fellow senior Nino Williams, who’s injury status was questionable entering the game before appearing with the starting five, was held to only four points. Williams had been KSU’s second-leading scorer entering the contest.

With Ellis rolling out his early scoring barrage, KU made five of its first shots to open a 10-4 in the first five minutes. Meanwhile, the visitors started a chilly 1-for-12 from the floor to give the Jayhawks all kinds of room to grow. Back-to-back threes from Greene and Selden forced a timeout from the Wildcat bench, trailing 16-5.

Kansas pressed on. Freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr., and Ellis got to the rim for close-range buckets, bumping to lead to 20-5. Gipson, the only Wildcat to hit a shot through the first 10 minutes, finally snapped the scoring drought to curb KU’s raucous start. Ellis ramped the curb, driving right over it to win the race to double-figures. His three-point play coupled with a breakaway Devonte’ Graham steal-turned-Oubre dunk kept KU firmly in command, 29-12.

A single free throw by Foster was Kansas State’s only point in the final 3:30 of the half. Heading to halftime, KU had cornered the Wildcats into a dismal first 20 minutes. The visitors connected on a meager 17 percent (6-for-35) of their shots to total just 17 points – both opponent season-lows – and missed their last seven shots on its way to the break. In fact, only three Wildcats even scored in the frame. Kansas ran the table with a 33-17 halftime advantage.

Duplicating the same suffocation in the second half was a stretch. Kansas State came out of the break to make three of its first four attempts, but Kansas was already equipped to keep pace. Selden got it going with his second and third threes of the game, pushing his team closer to the 20-point margin.

Getting to that plateau, however, was elusive. Although two-straight shots from Wesley Iwundu marked just the fourth Wildcat on the scoreboard all game, it still trimmed the deficit to 13 points. When KSU hit its second three of the game, both from Foster, the Wildcats cut it back even more, 51-40. Now creeping too close for comfort, Kansas needed a boost.

Right on cue, there was Greene.

The sophomore spark plug pulled up for his third trey of the day. Greene’s shot was big, but Kansas State made certain the Jayhawks weren’t running away with it. Not many Wildcats were scoring, but the ones who were, did so a lot. Gipson and Foster connected for five points, heading off a pair of big layups from Selden and Mason.

Out of the final media timeout, KSU had time for one more push. Junior transfer Stephen Hurt sure tried, tallying his first points of the game with consecutive threes. Kansas had what it needed to clinch the 68-57 win.

UP NEXT

Kansas will continue its stretch of three games in six days when the Jayhawks host No. 15/16 Iowa State on Feb. 2 Iowa State at 8 p.m., for ESPN Big Monday. KU will then travel to Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 1 p.m., on either ESPN or ESPN2.

(9/11) Kansas 68, (–/rv) Kansas State 57 Postgame Notes

January 31, 2015

KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (21/24), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (21/56), Fr. G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (13/13), Jr. F Perry Ellis (21/58), Jr. F Jamari Traylor (12/13)

SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 188-92

ATTENDANCE: 16,300 (222-consecutive sellouts)

KANSAS’ WIN…

• Gave head coach Bill Self his 550th-career win. Self now has an overall record of 550-177 in his 22 years as a head coach.

• Self is currently tied for 16th all-time with Miami head coach Jim Larranaga among active Division I head coaches with 550 victories.

• Made Kansas 18-3 overall and 7-1 in Big 12 play for the ninth time under Self.

• Added to KU’s all-time series advantage, which Kansas now leads 188-92, including a 41-4 mark in Big 12 games, 86-35 in games played in Lawrence and 45-18 inside Allen Fieldhouse.

• Marked the ninth-straight win against Kansas State inside Allen Fieldhouse beginning in 2007.

• Extended KU’s overall win streak in Allen Fieldhouse to 19 games, including a 10-0 record in the venue this season.

• Bettered KU’s all-time record inside Allen Fieldhouse to 723-109, including a 185-9 under Self.

• Improved Self to 343-72 while at Kansas, 24-4 against Kansas State (23-4 at Kansas) and 550-177 overall.

• Made KU 2,144-825 all-time.

TEAM NOTES

• Since KU’s last loss to K-State in Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 14, 2006, Kansas is 9-0 in the Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence and has won each of the nine games by an average margin of 18.4 points.

• Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., missed a three-point attempt on the first shot of the game, but an offensive rebound by junior F Perry Ellis made way for an Oubre dunk and from that point on Kansas made five its next six shots building up a 10-4 lead at the 15:05 mark of the first half.

• After the opening bucket by Ellis, Kansas never trailed in the game and led by as many as 17 points in the contest.

• The Kansas defense held Kansas State to make just six of its 35 total shot attempts in the first half shots resulting in a meager shooting percentage of just 17 percent.

• The 17 percent was the Wildcats’ low in the first half this season, surpassing their previous low of 21.7 percent in the first half against Georgia on Dec. 31, 2014.

• Kansas also only allowed the Wildcats to score 17 points in the first half – the lowest by a Jayhawk opponent in a single half of play this season.

• Kansas took a 33-17 lead into halftime over the Wildcats and in the end emerged victorious resulting in a perfect 14-0 record for the Jayhawks when they are leading after 20 minutes this season.

• Up until the 12:02 mark in the second half, Kansas State only had three players make a shot in the game.

• For the fourth time this season, only eight players checked into the game, tying the least amount of players to see time on the court for Kansas since eight players participated against Michigan on March 29, 2013.

• In the last four games, KU’s bench has outscored the opponent’s reinforcements 111-28 (31-7 against Oklahoma, 31-8 against Texas, 35-4 at TCU and 14-9 against K-State).

• The second half of Saturday’s game, K-State made 14-of-25 shots (56 percent) to become just the seventh time this season that a team has shot over 50 percent from the field in a half against the Jayhawks.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

• Junior F Perry Ellis posted his fifth double-double of the season in just over 19 minutes of play with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.

• Ellis became the first Kansas player to record a double-double in the first 20 minutes of play since Andrew Wiggins scored 11 points and secured 12 rebounds in the first half at Iowa State on Jan. 13, 2014.

• Ellis also brought home his 15th 10-plus-point game of the season after a put back with 7:50 to play in the first half gave him double digits. Ellis finished the contest with a team-best 16 points and 12 rebounds.

• Sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., set a new career-best with four blocks. Selden’s four blocks also tied the most by an individual Jayhawk this season (Cliff Alexander four against Michigan State Nov. 30, 2014).

• Selden’s four blocks are the most by a Kansas sophomore since Jeff Withey rejected four shots against Ohio on Nov. 26, 2010.

• Selden also leads the team with 10 games with multiple three-pointers this year, with Saturday being his 10th (3-of-6).

• Sophomore G Frank Mason III managed to push his double-digit scoring streak to 18-straight games after making two free throws with 25 seconds remaining in the contest. He’s moving up the all-time streak list in the Bill Self era. After Saturday, he’s tied for fifth-longest. Thomas Robinson (2011-12) and Marcus Morris (2010-11) hold the longest double-digit streaks in the Self era at 27 games.

• Freshman G Devonte’ Graham’s four assists and zero turnovers against K-State now gives him an astounding 24 assists to just three turnovers in seven games since returning from an injury against Georgetown on Dec. 10, 2014.

• Sophomore G Brannen Greene has been a sharpshooter from beyond the three-point line over the last four contests. Aside from a trip to TCU where he did not attempt a three, Greene has made three or more triples in three of the last four games – including K-State (3-of-4). The marksman has only missed a trio of threes in that time and is 10-of-13 (77 percent) during this span.

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